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all set for Atleti!

November 25, 2011

It’s a big weekend here in Madrid, with three exciting football games in six hours!  First up, on Saturday at 18h, we have Rayo Vallecano vs. Valencia.  Then at 20h, Real Madrid takes on Atleti at the Bernabéu, and then at 22h, Getafe plays Barcelona!  Madrid will be looking to extend their 12-year non-losing streak against Atlético (since the 1999-2000 season, including the two years Atleti was in the second division), and another win would be a great birthday present for Xabi Alonso!

On Friday, Madrid trained for the last time before the derby, with the 21 available players plus Tomás Mejías participating.  The two injured players are Kaká and Arbeloa (Mou said later that Kaká isn’t injured anymore, but still isn’t ready to play, and that he would rejoin the group next week).  Marcelo once again trained with the team, as did Ángel di María; I guess all his hard work since he got injured has paid off, as it was the goal for him to reappear for the showdown in the capital.  And though Ricardo Carvalho trained with his teammates, he was left off the call-up; everyone else made it.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Mejías.

Defenders: Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Albiol, Coentrão.

Midfielders: Özil, Di María, Sahin, Xabi Alonso, Altintop, Callejón, Lass, Granero, Khedira.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema.

The next training session won’t be until Tuesday morning, so the team will have two days off.

With it being Xabi’s birthday today, he received the congratulations of his teammates during the session.

A couple of the boys also tweeted their birthday wishes for Xabi.  Sergio wrote, “we all need a bit of the south (Camas) to see the north (Tolosa)” (that message comes from a Cruzcampo commercial).  Xabi responded by writing “Thanks Kaiser.”  Álvaro also tweeted, “today we have to congratulate the best midfielder in the world.  Congratulations Xabi, 30 years old already, it’s nothing, friend.”  And Esteban tweeted, “happy twenty-tenth birthday to the maestro Xabi Alonso.  An example for me for many years now.”  I loved how he phrased it!  And Sergio’s very touchy, isn’t he?  Xabi thanked everyone by tweeting in three languages.

In his press conference, Mou spoke about the difficulty of the upcoming game, saying, “if you say we can win 1-0 or 2-1, I’d accept right now… so what if they haven’t won for 12 years?  They will win, perhaps tomorrow.  If people think we’re going to beat them by three or four goals, they’re wrong.”

Mou also praised Xabi Alonso: “he’s a man, not a boy.  I’ve already told him that since I’m going to coach for 30 more years, we’ll meet each other again as coaches.  The truth is he feels good, strong and many times the biological age is important.  He may be 30 years old, but he’s physically fine, he has confidence and he doesn’t have any pains.  He’s strong.  He’ll play again.”

Mou also clarified that Xabi won’t be provoking a yellow card.  At the moment, he has accumulated four yellow cards, and if he forces one, or the referee judges he has forced one, he will be sanctioned with one game, in addition to the one he misses for receiving five yellow cards, which means that he will miss the next two against Sporting and Barcelona (he’ll also be fined €600).  Mou also of course had to add, “Real Madrid’s players are the only ones that can’t force cards.”

The concentración started in the evening, much to Iker’s dismay, probably.

At the hotel, they celebrated Xabi’s birthday after dinner.  (Ignore the creepy eyes.)  Pepe and José looked like they were having a great time with each other, and I loved that the photographer captured the exact moment when Marcelo was looking down at his mobile phone.  And that is the smallest cake in the world!  But I guess eating big pieces of rich, creamy cake wouldn’t bode too well for them on Saturday night.

Other things: I forgot to write yesterday that the photoshoot Álvaro Arbeloa was doing with Sawyer, Mulder and Bauer (Bauer must have thought Álvaro’s face was a stone) was for Chocrón’s annual charity catalog (Xabi and Sergio have participated in previous editions).  Other celebrities appearing in this year’s edition include madridista and tennis star Feliciano López, Iker’s favorite TV presenter (until he started dating Sara, I presume) Anne Igartiburu and Sergio’s favorite singer La Niña Pastori.  Each one of them lent their image to the catalog in return for a donation to a charity of their choice.

Álvaro’s charity is the Fundación Virgen del Pueyo in Zaragoza.  It helps children with physical or intellectual disabilities, especially problems with speech (that’s no surprise, given that Carlota has studied speech therapy, as she previously mentioned).  The catalog will be presented on Nov. 29 at the Palacio de la Bolsa.

Sami Khedira and girlfriend Lena headed to the Caja Mágica on Thursday night to watch Real Madrid’s basketball take on Belgacom Spirou in the Euroleague.  Madrid won 93-89, giving them their fourth victory in the tournament.  The only negative note was Rudy’s knee injury.  Sami likes taking his dates to basketball games, no?

Nuri Sahin had the following to say in an interview with Bild (which took place at the legendary Botín restaurant):

on whether he envies Cristiano Ronaldo: “envy” is not a word that exists in my vocabulary.  Cristiano was the top scorer in Europe and he gave every one of us a replica of the trophy (the Golden Boot) as a gift.  This gesture shows that Ronaldo is not arrogant in the least.  This also applies to Iker, Ramos, Kaká…

on speaking with Mesut: we communicate in German and Turkish.  Sometimes in one sentence, we jump back and forth between the languages three times.

on learning Spanish: I want to adapt quickly to the culture of Spain, I’m studying my fifth language (after Turkish, English, German and Dutch).  I can’t just train and go home, that doesn’t work for me.  I’ve already managed to give my first interviews in Spanish.

Speaking of Nuri, watch this video of Nuri Sahin as a ball boy in a Borussia Dortmund-Real Madrid game back in the day, when he asked Ronaldo for his shirt, but didn’t get it, as Ronaldo was obviously going to exchange it with one of Borussia Dortmund’s players.  My heart goes out to young, adorable Nuri, because you can see he really wanted the shirt.  Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have a club president to ask for one for him.  I wonder if he can get one now…

The city hall of Móstoles has passed the proposal to rename the Avenida de los Deportes to the Avenida de Iker Casillas, to no one’s surprise.  Although there has been an unwritten agreement in effect since the 1990s not to name any street after a living person, Móstoles Mayor Esteban Parro said this is a special case since there is so much social interest surrounding Iker for his achievements in football and for his values as a person.  In any case, the avenue is commonly known as the “avenida de los campos Iker Casillas” (the avenue of the Iker Casillas football fields) because it passes through the center of Móstoles until the football fields named after our captain.

MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín posted this photo on twitter on Friday, saying, “Joselu has a new hair stylist, but it’s very difficult to make him look good… jajajajaja.”

I want to know what they were doing!  And how adorable is it that members of Castilla seem to do everything together off the field, including vacations, studies, dinners and haircuts?

And a couple more pictures of past derbies in Marca, including a young Iker in 2000, a young Guti in 1999 (Juan Carlos Valerón remains one of the best players I’ve ever seen), as well as Iván Helguera and Álvaro Benito (in his rock star days, not his playing days).

Plus, we have Roberto Carlos and Juninho from 1999, when they lived next to each other, and apparently did laundry together.

I’m off to watch that adorable video of Javi (!!!), Ander and Iker Muniain again.  I love “padre” Javi (!!!), picking things off Ander’s shirt and comparing him to a highway.  And that Javi (!!!) knows how to say “beautiful girl” in Basque.  The microphone needs to stay in Javi’s (!!!) hands.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    November 25, 2011 17:12

    (I promise to comment on the Real Madrid things, really I do, but I’m kind of busy with rewatching that interview over and over and over while I pretend to work.)

  2. Alyssa permalink
    November 25, 2011 17:12

    There’s no sense in denying it, any one of us would mimic Sergio’s hand placement if we got to take a photo with Xabi 😉

    It’s so great to hear Mou speak about Xabi like that! The only tiny, tiny, TINY bit of comfort I feel in the world of despair over Xabi getting older is that he probably will start coaching and he really will be incredible at it! It just better not be coaching Liverpool!

    I’m usually jealous of Arbeloa teammates being able to roll around on the ground with him…but now I’m jealous of dogs. That’s pretty sad, eh?

  3. Maddi permalink
    November 25, 2011 17:13

    “when they lived next to each other, and apparently did laundry together.” <- This line made me smile 🙂
    Nuri is so adorable! You have to feel bad for him though, Ronaldo didn't even acknowledge him 😦 He was so young!
    I love that Alvaro's dogs went on a lick-fest on his face. So cute!

  4. November 25, 2011 17:39

    How adorable is Álvaro with his dogs?! If he ever needs a dogwalker I’m more than happy to volunteer…

  5. Nurul permalink
    November 25, 2011 17:53

    Eeeep, Una, which video (of Ander, Javi & Iker) d’you mean?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      November 26, 2011 14:47

      Let me update the post with a link.

      • Nurul permalink
        November 26, 2011 17:27

        I see it, thank you so much! 😀 Those boys are so precious, I swear.

  6. Gabriela permalink
    November 25, 2011 18:19

    Lena and Sami make such a stunning, gorgeous, amazing couple that I want to weep with so much pretty.

    And poor baby Nuri trying to get Ronaldo’s shirt…

    the pictures of Roberto Carlos and Juninho are so adorable!

  7. November 25, 2011 18:45

    YAYA for this post. LOL sorry, I can’t help but say that. You did scare me when you said that you wanted to stop posting. I really do love your blog so… 😀

    Xabi will made a fabulous coach. I wonder if we will see him coach our amazing team one day? Or will he only go back to his hometown? But then, who could ever turn down Real Madrid? Himmmm….

    On the topic of coaching, I can’t help but wonder if Mou will stay with us after this season is over. I do not see him leaving till we have won La Décima, and as I truly believe that we will win it this year, I wonder if Mou will leave. He probably will – I know, and that fact makes me very sad.

    I hope we keep our winning streak up tomorrow. HALA MADRID!

  8. florence permalink
    November 25, 2011 18:50

    Hi Una! Even I’m not a madridista your blog is one of the best I’ve seen, keep it up great work! I just want to inform you about a TV advert with Mourinho in. It’s been out for a while now in Turkey. Here are the links for the video

    And some information about the agreement from company’s web site

  9. November 25, 2011 20:46

    una, i had to tell you: i found out the one channel in all of canada that apparently airs ALL real madrid matches! i only found out yesterday, so i obviously ordered it and i will be watching my first LIVE, on TV match tomorrow afternoon. so excited!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 i wish i had known about this in 2004!

    is it wrong that i wish i were one of arbeloa’s dogs? heh.

    sahin speaks 5 languages AND is a phenomenal football player? and he’s … 23? damn. (meanwhile, i’m … old enough to be his mother, and i struggle with 2 languages and i can barely stay upright without bumping into a wall.)

    happy birthday, xabi! what do you get for the man who literally has it all — phenomenal career, health, looks, lovely family, great personality, wonderful friends, wealth, etc? — a GQ man of the year award, naturally! what else? it’s the perfect present for him!

    una, will you please add “Avenida de los Deportes to the Avenida de Iker Casillas” to your stalker’s guide? 😉

  10. maria permalink
    November 25, 2011 21:09

    The Nuri Sahin video with “the phenomenon” broke my heart… Ronaldo completely ignored him, he has such a bad attitude!! even though I’m brazilian, I’m not the biggest fan of his… and Sahin looks the same, he hasn’t changed a bit!! so cute!! very happy for him just looking at how far he’s come!! from ball boy, to Real Madrid player… amazing!!

  11. November 26, 2011 01:01

    What adorable video is this that you speak of? I love me some Leones and the link would be muchly appreciated! : )
    and once again…THANK YOU so, SO much for this and the previous post. You have no idea how much it brightened my day to turn on my computer and see those updates.
    Much love ❤

    • unamadridista permalink*
      November 26, 2011 14:53

      Posted updated with the link.

  12. November 26, 2011 01:15

    Even Xabi’s feet are nice looking. Pure class all the way to his toes:)

  13. November 26, 2011 01:28

    Una, where is the video with Javi that you are talking about?

  14. November 26, 2011 08:46

    That video of Sahin asking for Ronaldo’s jersey is just priceless. You can see the awe in his eyes, he simply can’t believe that he is actually in Ronaldo’s presence and is touching him with his own hands. It’s a beautiful video. Sahin conquered Germany with Dortmund and now he is at Real Madrid. There is something special about this boy, he will conquer the world, I have no doubt about it.

    And thank you Una so much for bringing things like these to our attention. There is absolutely no way I could find gems like these on my own. You truly are the best.

  15. Happy permalink
    November 26, 2011 15:58

    Poor little Sahin, but he is so cute!!! I agree what Mou said, Xabi will be a good coach, hope he can coach Madrid in someday!!!!

  16. kiki permalink
    November 26, 2011 16:27

    *fanning myself*

  17. Susi permalink
    November 26, 2011 19:43

    Sami & Lena look so georgeouse together.
    I really would like to follow a “mixed” conversation between Sahin & Mesut :)))

    PS: As always great work Una 🙂

  18. Maddi permalink
    November 27, 2011 20:05

    Is that Arteta in the first pic? It looks a lot like him!

  19. November 28, 2011 16:56

    Oh gosh, I am updating myself after being away with no internet and the amount of class that is Xabi Alonso is killing me in a positive way!

    I love how Esteban called him “maestro” and what Mou said about him!!!!!! (a man, not a boy, that sounds so sexy; and the part about the coaching – I hope to see it!!).
    I love Xabi.

    a video with Sahin -super sweeeeeeeet!
    a great post, Thanks a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Stella permalink
    November 28, 2011 17:51

    Thanks for posting the video of Iker, Herrara and Javi!!! I love it even I dont understand a word. They seems to have a great time in that team!

    Nuri naaw he is just like me when I see my favorit footballers.

    • unamadridista permalink*
      November 29, 2011 14:44

      I posted a translation of it on con la roja.

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