random bits & pieces for Wednesday
A little graphic from Marca detailing the importance of Xabi Alonso to this team (and not just in posing!). As you can see, without Xabi (top), the team wins and loses the same amount of games. With Xabi, however, they win 78 percent of the time and only lose 7 percent of the time. With that said, I have complete confidence in the rest of the team and in Nuri Sahin, if he’s going to be the one to substitute for Xabi.
Soeaking of Xabi, on Wednesday he attended an event promoting “La Gula del Norte” products from Angulas Aguinaga (no relation to Javi (!!!), sadly), which is a company in Gipuzkoa (angulas are baby eels, and gula is a less pricier “imitation” baby eel). However, it just looked like he was posing for a new edition of the catalog, no? There, he confirmed that Cristiano had not participated in the day’s training session and that physically, he (Xabi) is feeling fine and doesn’t need a rest. He also answered questions about el clásico and the rivalry with Barcelona with diplomacy and class, in difference to others who are making grand statements and assumptions.
Here are a couple more moments from Tuesday’s training session, since today’s was a closed one. How unfair is life that I don’t have the right to grab Pipita’s very delectable ass whenever I want to just like Álvaro Arbeloa? Judging by Gonzalo’s reaction, the pinch was a painful one (click on the gif, I made it extra large). And then we have Xabi putting on a sweatshirt and walking, and even making those simple and everyday movements mesmerizing. Only Xabi Alonso.
Madrid also reports today that Ricardo Carvalho has suffered a sprain to his right knee, without specifying what kind of treatment he is receiving or how long he will be out. ¡Pobrecito! Luckily, the pairing of Sergio and Pepe in the defense is working so well that we’re not missing Ricardo too much, although his leadership and experience are always pluses.
Álvaro Arbeloa was a busy man on Tuesday. After the pinching and the training session, he headed to a Gillette promotional act related to the commercial I wrote about yesterday. He didn’t say anything too interesting there, but he looked fantastic.
Later that evening, he was at the Palacio de la Bolsa along with teammates Sergio Ramos (hope he got a chance to catch up with Niña Pastori! – update: he did!) and Xabi Alonso, as well as Aitor Karanka, to help present the Chocrón Joyeros’ 2012 charity catalog, in which he appears with his three dogs.
Sergio Ramos appeared in the 2011 edition, while Xabi was one of the stars of the 2010 edition. As mentioned before, Álvaro agreed to appear in the catalog in return for a donation to the charity of his choice, which was the Fundación Virgen del Pueyo in Zaragoza.
The best dressed out of this group are definitely Xabi and Álvaro. With regards to Carlota, bandage dresses are so ubiquitous (every reality show “star” has one) now that they’re simply not interesting. As for Nagore, the color of the dress is just not right for her skin tone, and her face is too pale. And Sergio overdid it with the Gucci – he looks like Cristiano! Aitor looks fine, but I prefer Álvaro and Xabi’s suits and ties.
And Iker tells us that on Thursday, there will be the presentation of a book about his career, which will include chapters on “personal matters.” I can’t wait to read it! Will he explain things such as why he refuses to take off his base layers and why he’s so attached to his purse and plaid? Anyway, it’s called Iker Casillas. La humildad del campeón (Iker Casillas. The humility of a champion) and it’s written by Enrique Ortego, the man who previously wrote books about Raúl, Di Stéfano and Zidane, with forwards by FP and Peter Schmeichel, Iker’s idol (he wrote: a team like Real Madrid, a country with as many expectations as Spain, needs captains who are leaders, leaders who are captains, and he is both those things). The presentation will take place at the Bernabéu at 13h.
A lot has been made of this video of Cris and Atleti president Enrique Cerezo at the AS Awards the other night. In it, Cris tells Cerezo about the hard tackles he received in the game, to which (the very mature) Cerezo replies, “well, you all do the same. Pepe, Carvalho, Ramos, that short guy with a lot of hair…” A woman near him then whispers “Marcelo” and Cerezo dutifully repeats “Marcelo.” Cris responds, “you’re speaking about the best players in the world.”
In response, Fernando Fernández Tapias, Madrid’s vice president and witness to that “incident” (he was sitting next to Cris at the table), explained to COPE that it was “a bit of a joke. I spoke with Cerezo because this issue has been made into something absurd. There was no confrontation between Ronaldo and Cerezo, I swear. Nothing happened.” I can believe that, but I just want to say that I love how Cris defended his teammates! And that Cerezo can be an idiot, we’ve seen that before and it’s nothing new.
If anyone is making travel plans to Madrid to watch Real Madrid, the period between Jan. 22 and March 4 will be a very good time, because you can watch Madrid play seven times (7!) without leaving Madrid (the community, not the city). On Jan. 22, Madrid takes on Athletic at home (game of the year for me!!!) – this game was postponed due to the players’ strike which led to the cancellation of the first jornada of the present season. Then Madrid plays Zaragoza at home during the weekend of Jan. 28-29. The third game is at Getafe the weekend of Feb. 4-5, the fourth at home against Levante on either Feb. 11 or 12 and the fifth against Racing at the Bernabéu on Feb. 18 or 19. Then Madrid travels all the way to Vallecas to take on Rayo Vallecano the weekend of Feb. 25-26, before winding down their two-month stay in the capital against Espanyol on March 3-4. There is the possibility that Madrid will have to travel outside of Madrid for Copa del Rey games, as these will be played on Wednesdays in January and February, and for the Champions League.