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all set for Sporting!

December 3, 2011

Madrid takes on Sporting de Gijón tonight (18h) in jornada 15 of the Liga at El Molinón, where the famous phrase “así, así, así, así gana el Madrid” was born (which we Madrid fans have subsequently and ingeniously adopted).  Sporting is one of three teams that Cristiano has not scored on in the Liga, so he has a challenge tonight (the other two are Betis and Levante, though he has scored against Levante in the Copa).

The last training session (if you can even call it that) before the game was held on Friday afternoon, with 20 players plus Tomás Mejías participating.  It appeared to be divided into four segments.  The first was the affection part, with Marcelo and Cris making hearts with their hands, and Marcelo jumping into Nuri Sahin’s arms and Kaká making it a three-person hug.  Look to the right: even Lass – yes, Lass! – joined in the fun.  It must be very, very fun then.

The next segment was dedicated to making Iker laugh.  José Callejón and Esteban Granero passed with flying colors.

Then came the mock fighting, the karate kicks and the shoving.  Two of our players appeared to be at the center of every incident: Marcelo and Gonzalo Higuaín, though Kaká, shedding his good boy image, also partook in the fun.  Ángel looks like he wanted to join in, but was too timid.

And lastly, there were the tackles in the rondos that left players on the ground and others piling on top of them for a hug, as we can see with Gonzalo & José and Sergio & Raúl Albiol.  Gonzalo couldn’t resist the opportunity to get another kick in.

Seriously, this is a training session?  Look at how much fun our boys had, and how handsome they looked while doing so!  And all this happened in the first 15 minutes!  I guess they get more serious when the eyes of the press are no longer on them.

Xabi Alonso had permission from the club to miss the session (since he can’t play in the game), giving him a two-day break.  Ricardo Carvalho and Álvaro Arbeloa were the absences, as both are still injured.  As Iker wrote on his Facebook, “the iron man appears to be made of lead…”

The list of players called up were those 21 players who had taken part in the session.  Xabi is serving a one-game suspension due to too many yellow cards.  Also of note: Kaká’s return – yay!  He’s been out since injuring his right leg against Real Sociedad on Oct. 29.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Mejías.

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

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

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema.

The players also hung out at Valdebebas before traveling to Gijón, watching the Eurocopa draw, chatting with Ricardo Carvalho (I love where Gonzalo’s hand is, and someone took the photo before Iker was ready, no?)…

… checking their phones and having a little snack.  I really love the gray sweaters.  Everyone looks fantastic in them.

In his press conference (held before the training session and the announcement of the call-up), Mou spoke about several of the players, saying Kaká is ready to play again, although he won’t start the game, that Arbeloa is not ready yet and that Carvalho will be out for two more weeks.

I loved Mou’s answer when he was asked for his opinion about Gerard Piqué’s yellow card against Rayo Vallecano and the subsequent one-game sanction: “I won’t assess it because my opinion is not important.  For me, the opinion of judges and authorized figures in the sport and in law such as Platini, Blatter, Collina or you all the press is much more interesting.  My opinion counts for nothing.  I don’t want to hear any more questions about this issue.”

Following the session, the team traveled to Asturias, to Gijón.  After arriving – and looking like models while doing so despite the absence of Xabi Alonso – they headed to their hotel, the Palacio de la Llorea.

Friday was a very busy day for Sergio’s hands.  No, not in the way you’re thinking.  It’s because in every photo he’s in, his hands are busy posing as well.

Our two Argentines were present for the habitual fan session, signing autographs and posing for pictures.  I wonder if Gonzalo and Ángel have become closer this season, as both lost their better halves (Eze Garay and Fernando Gago, respectively) at the beginning of the season?

Over in Castilla, it was movie night, with Nacho, Álex, Denis, Dani Carvajal, Jorge Casado, Lucas, Joselu (aka Selu, making it a nickname of a nickname!), Pablo Gil and Pablo Sarabia getting together to watch Fuga de cerebros 2 (it came out on Friday).  The players also had dinner together, and I love the fact that Pablo Sarabia was there, despite changing teams this summer!  Nacho gave us this picture; they need get an app to make their eyes normal because it’s slightly creepy.

And Denis tweeted this photo of one of his teammates the other day, saying he won’t make it to the next game.  He asked us to guess who it was, only giving us the clue that this player is on twitter.  It turns out that it’s Álex!  The very pale skin sort of gave it away, no?

And why are there random things in the locker room, such as a wheelchair?  Last season, I was left wondering about the shopping cart which, as you can see, is still around… (the other day, the police in Madrid arrested a man who had stolen 3,000 shopping carts from various stores in Madrid over the course of one year to sell them at a hefty profit.  Maybe he has an accomplice).

BONUS: look what Spain’s Davis Cup team has as good luck charms in their locker room!  There’s a signed jersey from Sergio, a signed jersey from Iker and a signed jersey from Miguel Torres!  Three of the four members of the team are madridistas: Rafa Nadal, Fernando Verdasco and Feli López.  David Ferrer is a fan of Valencia and Barcelona, while Marcel Granollers supports Espanyol.  ¡Mucha suerte chicos!  I can’t wait to see Spain win another salad bowl!

33 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    December 3, 2011 14:38

    These boys get paid to do so! I want be part of this team 😦

  2. manie permalink
    December 3, 2011 15:01

    Marcelo seems like one of the most entertaining people in the world. I also love that the Castilla boys (including Pablo, he is Castilla no matter where he’s playing) hang out and take pics like that. So cute.

    Finally, I’m getting the sense that Karim really REALLY likes facebook…

  3. Gabriela permalink
    December 3, 2011 15:03

    The training sessions look so much fun!
    Our players look like a bunch of 10 year old boy, haha.

    Granero looks stunningly handsome in one of the pictures, but I *still* want him to cut the hair.

    Sami, don’t put your feet on the table! Didn’t your mom tell you?

    I’m sad I won’t watch the match today 😦

  4. Stella permalink
    December 3, 2011 15:06

    Ooo Lass having fun lately! I am really happy to see him fooling around our little secret man. Posing on twitter with Benza and making fun in a traning. Is this our Lass? Happy to see him play more. I learn a lot from him, he is a great player. One of my favorites!

    This team is crazy and I just love it! I am so happy for being a Madridista! Hope they play well tonight and no injury please!! Kaka is back again make me happy!

  5. ThatPerson permalink
    December 3, 2011 15:36

    oh my god this post is hilarious!!!! 😀

    i don’t know where to start with my comment:
    the hearts, the fighting, Alex!!

    this team is made to love ❤

  6. Sasha Twen permalink
    December 3, 2011 15:38

    UNF! What a great Granero picture!

    @wheelchair: I can imagine stadiums sometimes have wheelchairs on hand, in case a visitor’s wheel chair is too large to fit (unlikely, but it happens for the strangest reasons), or an injured person (be they a baller or a visitor) needs to be transported.

  7. madridistafromchina permalink
    December 3, 2011 16:16

    Can anyone figure out what hand gesture El Pirata is making in this picture?

    It’s a bit blurred… But, are you thinking what I am thinking?

  8. antrea permalink
    December 3, 2011 16:23

    Wow, how was that a training session?! They seemed to be goofing off too much to have any time for actual training! I love the whole play fighting 😀

  9. Mouah permalink
    December 3, 2011 16:37

    I don’t remember exactly, just out of curiosity, how many games Xabi and Sergio had for sanction last season ?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      December 7, 2011 10:40

      They were suspended for one game for receiving the red cards (normal practice), but not any additional ones (they were fined). Mou got two games, with the second one to depend on his future behavior.

  10. Flora permalink
    December 3, 2011 16:56

    Thanks for the post Una 🙂 Since Xabi won’t be playing will there not be a “Xabi Alonso Pose Section” in the ICYMI post?

  11. Pammie permalink
    December 3, 2011 17:02

    those guys are like puppies sometimes with their mock fighting 😀
    The photo of the pirate is simply gorgeous!

    The players really need to get an anti-demoneyes app or use pre flash to get rid of the dilated eyes.

    Can’t wait for the game!

  12. December 3, 2011 17:31

    Lol, love the “training session” section. Too hilarious!

  13. December 3, 2011 20:20

    I’m shocked that Pony didn’t get booked! And we won. And what a win it was! Great match and I can’t wait for your write up! 🙂

  14. December 3, 2011 20:27

    The these gifs adorableness is too TOO much!!
    Ah! These boys! KAKA!
    I’m just watching over and over and over with absolutely no regrets.
    Endless love…

  15. Morales permalink
    December 3, 2011 20:59

    I’m curious, Una, have the other previous squads of RM been this playful and affectionate with each other? Or is it unique to this specific squad right now?

    Heh, Cris scored today xD

    • unamadridista permalink*
      December 7, 2011 10:41

      Yes, there have been moments like this throughout the years.

  16. December 4, 2011 02:40

    hahahaha! in that castilla photo, they all look possessed! like children of the corn, or something!

    i agree, the grey sweaters and black trousers look really sharp on absolutely everyone. really good fashion choice!

    if you didn’t know better, if you saw the practice photos out of context, you would think they were fighting and a brawl had broken out! i love that they’re all so jokey with each other. 🙂

    i am swooning at the photo of iker and arbeloa. so much pretty!

    una, a question: we were clear of barca at the top of the table by 6 points last weekend. barca won their game today, as did we, so in theory we should still be clear by 6 points, but we’re clear by only 3. the reason for this, i think (please correct me if i’m wrong) is that, as i studied the table, i saw that barca had played 15 matches and we only played 14 (i think barca played a midweek game this past week? is that right? i think i remember hearing that, but i could be wrong). it’s discouraging … a 6 point lead is much better than a 3 point lead!

    • unamadridista permalink*
      December 7, 2011 10:44

      That’s because Barça has played one more match, their jornada 17 match against Rayo Vallecano (a win). As that jornada coincides with the Club World Cup, they were allowed to move it up.

      • black widow permalink
        December 7, 2011 15:52

        thanks for the explanation. i knew they’d played one more game, but as i don’t follow them very much, i wasn’t sure how or when that happened. i’m hoping in the long run it won’t matter, because we’ll have one extra game to play and earn 3 more points when all their games are completed (e.g. when they’ve played 38 and we’ve only played 37, we’ll have one more to catch up).

  17. kiki permalink
    December 4, 2011 03:27

    “Friday was a very busy day for Sergio’s hands” jajajajajajaaaa, Una, that one is so good (&true!)
    Iker: The iron man appears to be made of lead” trollololol, what a delicious troll!

    ps. I hope Xabi’s break means more family pics…or to be unselfish, I hope he has a nice time with his lovely family.
    pss. taking deep breaths staying calm for the classic (in my dreams)………..

  18. Ash permalink
    December 4, 2011 04:34

    Thanks for the updates and SO glad you’re back at it, eloquent as ever! By the way, wanted to ask your opinion of Sergio’s goodnight tweet–I was pretty horrified. I usually love his song suggestions and find it charming that he shares other interests besides football with his fans [have even gotten some of the Spanish ones on my ipod and stuck in my head] but tonight’s “Make Love” was terrible! Pretty obscene lyrics for a world-class captain to recommend! Still a fan but hoping he didn’t understand the English or something.. maybe should be more careful?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      December 7, 2011 10:46

      I’m thinking it might be due to the lack of knowledge about English as well…

  19. noviana noor aisyiah permalink
    December 4, 2011 11:56

    how can i not love real madrid? haha i love how marcelo threw the ball bag hahahah. and why pipita and marcelo always doing karate? :p

  20. December 4, 2011 12:17

    That is some “training” session. They’re worse than little kids on a playground.

    I love Iker’s “goofy” face in that picture with Sergio!! And I agree with you on the gray sweaters. Everyone looks lovely in them… Although I find Sergio’s scarf a little questionable. Is that pink polka dots I see?

  21. wandering permalink
    December 4, 2011 12:37

    Crazy boys. No wonder we love them to bits. 🙂

  22. cisarovna permalink
    December 4, 2011 14:13

    Lovely post! I love those gifs. The boys can be really silly in a totally adorable way. I am also glad Mou did not play into the trap laid by the press regarding the yellow card controversy regarding Piqué. We don’t need some comment from him to be blown out of proportion this close to the big show.

  23. Aguante Pipita permalink
    December 4, 2011 16:07

    How I love their “training” sessions!!!

  24. AJ Nelson permalink
    December 4, 2011 16:37

    It is so great to see them having fun. Last year, they didn’t seem to be having as much fun at this point in the season and, personally, I think that will make the difference this year – which means we will have more happy celebrations as the season progresses 🙂

  25. December 4, 2011 17:47

    Fun! thank you.

  26. Gigi permalink
    December 5, 2011 01:42

    Our boys have WAY too much fun at practice! I would love to see an entire one sometime, and watch all the silliness unfold. It’s amazing they can get any real work done, haha!

  27. TexFan permalink
    December 5, 2011 05:53

    I’d pretty much do anything to go play…I mean train…with the boys. So much fun!!

  28. December 5, 2011 13:55

    So this us what happens when Xabi isn’t around you keep them in line!

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