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ICYMI – the bit of everything edition

December 9, 2011

In case you missed it – Ajax (or Ay-jax, as Marcelo says) vs. Real Madrid [2011-12-07, Champions League group stage, 0-3].

Madrid achieved its objective, going unbeaten in the group stage, making it 18 points out of 18, and a +17 goal differential.  This was also Madrid’s 15th consecutive win, which puts us psychologically in a good position for this weekend’s game against Barcelona.

ONE.  The highlight of the game, other than José Callejón’s performance, was the moment when Mou went over to the bench to say something to the boys.  Once he had left, Mesut made a gesture like “¿está loco?” at Ángel di María, which caused the latter to crack up.

Here are those moments in picture form.  Karim Benzema obviously did not find it too amusing.

TWO.  I should have tuned in earlier, because there was a boy band providing the opening act for the two teams.

THREE.  One of my favorite bromances was responsible for all three goals on the night.  It’s great to see José and Gonzalo taking advantage of each opportunity they get.

In the first goal, José’s aim was so good that he hit the lone objects in the goal, the goalkeeper’s water bottles.

As for his goal celebrations, Calleti explained, “a relative of mine passed away, I wasn’t able to go to the funeral and the goals are for him.”

FOUR.  For the first time, Gonzalo Higuaín wore the captain’s armband from the first minute of the game, as the other captains – Iker, Sergio and Marcelo – had not traveled to Amsterdam.  And I loved the sponsor-free shirts!  I wish they could wear them all the time.  It reminds me of the centennial season.

Gonzalo was acting the part of the captain, not only doing the coin toss, but also offering his teammates encouragement and advice, as we can see here with Antonio Adán and Karim Benzema.

FIVE.  Álvaro gave us a tantalizing glimpse of his abs when he lifted his shirt to wipe the ball…

… while Karim showed off everything when he exchanged his shirt at the half with Ajax defender Gregory van der Wiel.

SIX.  At one point, Gonzalo Higuaín went over to Mou to comment on something (look at Xabi posing in the foreground), while earlier, Mou had many things to tell his field general Xabi Alonso before he entered the game.

Before the game started, Mou had done the same with Esteban Granero.

SEVEN.  Pedro Mendes is the 11th canterano to debut under Mou, after Jesús, Joselu, Mejías, Álex, Juan Carlos, Mateos, Adán, Sarabia, Nacho and MFC ABMM.  Now if only some of them could get regular playing time with the first team…  A debut is nice, but when it becomes the only opportunity one has to play with the first team, then it’s really just an afterthought and not anything substantial.  That’s why I hate it when the Madrid web site and others talk about how many canteranos have debuted under Mou (or whatever coach).  A debut in a game that means nothing is nothing.  Getting steady playing time and a permanent promotion to the first team is the real deal.  Anyway, both Denis and MFC ABMM congratulated Pedro on his debut.

Of note: José Mourinho chose to debut Pedro Mendes ahead of Jesé.  He explained why during his press conference (below), but since nothing was at stake, I’m not entirely convinced.  To recap, Mendes is not Alberto Toril’s first choice in Castilla, and he’s barely gotten any playing time since joining the team this season.  Despite this, he’s inscribed with the first team on the Champions League roster.  Jesé, on the other hand, is a product of the cantera and has exploded in his first season at Castilla, after being promoted from Juvenil A.  Thus, the message seems to be that sometimes what matters is who you know (Pedro Mendes is represented by Jorge Mendes) and not how you perform.  These boys deserve more chances and better treatment.

RMC forward Fran Sol got himself into a bit of trouble over this very issue.  A message appeared on his twitter yesterday, reading, “in the cantera, we’re upset and that shows favoritism.”  Shortly after, the tweet was erased and Fran explained what had happened, that a friend had taken his mobile phone and tweeted that message.  Fran’s tweets read, “I’m sorry for everything that happened.  My friend Ismael took my phone and he made these declarations because he’s upset with the situation in Real Madrid.  I have good judgment and I would never think this, much less tweet about it.  I’m explaining the crap he got himself into trying to “help” me.  Some people have insulted me and I want to stress that these words did not come from my fingers because I am a player for the best club in the world and I would never question anything as important as the meritocracy of the team that I love, and I’m one of the staunchest supporters of Real Madrid CF.  This happened because my telephone doesn’t require a password to enter into twitter.  Real Madrid has made me the person I am and it has instilled in me the values of humility, hard work, ambition, honor and the colors of this shirt.  I feel sad that there are people who have insulted me and questioned my commitment to Real Madrid, the most important club in the world.  I would have to be an idiot to write something like that.  I’m one of the most committed footballers to Real Madrid.  My friend Ismael will create a twitter account to ask for forgiveness for the serious mistake he made.”  Many of Fran’s teammates on RMC as well as several players from the other teams also came to Fran’s defense, saying that they know him and he would never do anything like that.  Meanwhile, both Fran Sol and Ismael became TT.  To be honest, I agree a bit with this Ismael, because unfortunately we’ve had too many examples of products of the cantera overlooked and neglected in favor of players that come from the outside (this is nothing personal against Mendes).

EIGHT.  The Xabi Alonso / XIT pose section.™

Esteban Granero started the game, so we’ll start with him as well.

He threw out a couple of Xabi worthy poses during his time in the game.

In the second half, Xabi was sent to warm up, and he came in for Esteban around the 58th minute mark.  Before Xabi had even finished running to his position on the field, he was already shouting out directions and gesturing.  I love this man.

In the half hour he was on the field, Xabi did what he does best, control the midfield and pose (not necessarily in that order).

He can go horizontal as well!

Xabi is the complete boss out there, from organizing the wall to congratulating Pedro Mendes at the conclusion of the game.  Included is bonus stripping Nuri.

NINE.  The Mou corner.

José Mourinho was satisfied with the win, saying, “I’m very happy with the players.  They didn’t joke around, they played seriously, they wanted to win… it’s not easy for people who don’t play to get into the rhythm during the 90 minutes.  We played well in the first 45 minutes, and we were dangerous.  The second half was more complicated… but I’m happy with the attitude.”  Later on, he said, “those who usually play less deserve to play and be happy.  This is a good and united group.  All you have to do is look at the telephone and see all the congratulatory messages from those who stayed in Madrid.”

He also explained why Pedro Mendes, despite being out of favor with Alberto Toril, was the one who got to debut: “I hadn’t planned it, my intention was for Jesé to play, but since the game was 2-0 and Arbeloa had problems with the injury he had, I had to take him out.”  It looks like Mou is still planning things for Jesé, as he said, “he’s done what we asked of him.  He will play many games with Real Madrid.  Let’s see if he can debut against Ponferradina.”

As for the upcoming game, Mou was cautious: “if I remember correctly, last season we beat Ajax and two days later we lost against Barça.  Football is a box of surprises and you never know.  But the reality is that this team is more stable, the people have more confidence, the team is more compact and we’re better than we were last year.”  He described the clásico as “one more game,” and said that Higuaín and Benzema wouldn’t be starting that game together because “it’s a normal game and we always play with one of the two.  Cristiano and Di María didn’t play today because they’ll play the next game with Higuaín or Karim.”

TEN.  Other notes.

The seven starters left in Madrid – Iker, Sergio, Pepe, Marcelo, Lass, Khedira and Cristiano – trained at Valdebebas on Wednesday morning, under the orders of Aitor Karanka, Rui Faria and Silvino.  Once the session was finished, the three coaches traveled to Amsterdam so that they could be with Mou for the game.

We also got some pictures from the team’s trip back to Madrid.  Gonzalo spent part of the flight with the pilots in the cockpit (perhaps getting a few tips, in case he wants to celebrate like a plane again?) and José posed for the cameras once back at Valdebebas.

And Sergio tweeted that he spent his Wednesday training, having lunch with his friend and Rayo defender José Manuel Casado (like Sergio, a product of the Sevilla cantera) and watching the game at home!  For once, I like what Sergio’s wearing!  Then again, I don’t know what it looks like on the bottom or what shoes he wore…

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. amouria permalink
    December 9, 2011 09:46

    Either we trust our coach or not, there is no other way. We often tend to compare ourselves with Brca and its treatment of its homegrown players.
    But please, our coach is starting a new project of incorporating the homegrown in the 1st team. This cannot be done on the basis of mistrust and negative interpretation of our coach actions and decisions.
    If we keep comparing and protesting his decisions, we will never reach any positive result.
    Remember that Barca started this process of incorporation 15 years ago and WE are just starting….
    Have faith in Mou, please. He is not idiot..

  2. @ulonghaz permalink
    December 9, 2011 09:52

    I didn’t see the game, I’m sure it worth watching…
    So happy for Adan, he did great without conceded any goal. Even though many say that 2 goals Ajax was unfairly disallowed.

    Next : el Calsico!!!!

  3. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    December 9, 2011 10:35

    I think Higuain is the proudest capitan there is to be be, no?

    I AGREE 109080967% WITH FRAN SOL freind Isamil * Btw, he created a twitter account and he didn’t apologize, in matter of fact insisted he is right, this kid is badass lol*, I hated when the website keeping calling him cantera when he is not, I have nothing against Pedro mendes, in matter of fact he did good in the minutes he played, what I have problem with is why was he picked, he debuted with the first team before castilla.

    Jese is one of the most products our cantera produced in years, I find it heart breaking to say the least to see the best player in euro u-19, golden boot winner too not included, after looking on how Mata perform in UCL, I can’t help it not feeling BITTER, our cantera is productive of talents, it breaks my heart to see that other youth products are getting all the praises they do.

    But with that said, I think this could cause some problems between the little boys in castilla, Mendes is caught in the middle and it is not fair for him, you know!!

    *Enough ranting*………………..READY FOR CLASICO Hala Madrid, Mourinho is not even speaking in today press conference, I love this approch, I wont be lieing, he is treating this game like Valencia 😀

  4. Pipita permalink
    December 9, 2011 11:04

    On the first pic it looks like Mourinho is talking to Benzema and not Özil, probably to tell him that Lyon in that moment is classified to to next rounds.

    On the second pic I think that Özil is pointing out to Di María that the argentine is crazy, and Angel answers with “gooool”, and then Özil waves his hands saying “see”.

    Something like that.

  5. noviana noor aisyiah permalink
    December 9, 2011 12:42

    well of course i’d prefer jese over mende to got their debut, but after mou said his reason, i think like it’s okay, we need to keep a clean sheet so we need defenders.
    but i dont buy it what fran soil said.
    i think it’s better that mou called nacho over mendes. nacho is a great defender, castilla’s captain. mendes it’s not even in starting eleven.
    well thats just my opinion

  6. December 9, 2011 13:15

    I’m optimistic about our next game. I believe in our team. Hell I’m not even stocking up on alcohol because I feel so good about our chances.

    HALA MADRID!!!

  7. sweethearthalo permalink
    December 9, 2011 13:17

    I really love the russian sports TV. They always show the right things- Arbeloa’s sixpack for example. I remember the match with Valencia, I almost died during it. They catched EVERY single moment someone of the boys put their jerseys up. No joking.

  8. December 9, 2011 15:06

    Daymm that José Manuel guy is HOT

  9. December 9, 2011 16:17

    A great ICYMI once again, they are always so nice to read, thank you.

    I was so disappointed when I saw that Jesé didn’t get any playing time! I think Mou should give playing time to those who are starters in Castilla, work hard and perform well. And I agree with you, canteranos should be given more real opportunities. Those debuts are nice but nothing more really.

  10. Pammie permalink
    December 9, 2011 16:28

    I hope Fran Sol doesn’t get into big trouble with the club over Ismaelgate. The way this protest was aired was very wrong, but I also agree with him and your views.
    One can’t help wondering if Mou helped his agent to put one of his protégés into the shop window. I’m not sure if that’s what first team appearances for Castilla players are there for…
    And why do people call him a canterano, he’s 21 and from the Sporting Lisboa cantera. He is a Castilla player. I wish him well, it’s not his fault that Mou decided to call him up over Carva or Nacho.

    But on to some more pleasant things, like XIT and captain Pipita! 😀 I loved how he carried that on into yesterday’s training session. And of course canterano Callejón who makes the madridistas proud!

  11. Ally permalink
    December 9, 2011 18:24

    I agree with this Ismael as well… Canteranos should get a better chance of making it to the highest level.

    I kinda feel bad for Ajax, because two goals of them were unrightfully disallowed and Lyon beat Zagreb 7-1 (!).. which means Ajax is done in the CL 😦 7-1 (six goals in 2nd half!!)is a strange result and maybe it wasn’t a fair game.. who knows

  12. Patty permalink
    December 9, 2011 19:37

    I love your blog you have so many interesting things to say!!! 😀

  13. Daniel Ikemba permalink
    December 9, 2011 21:14

    I am disappointed that you, Una, will take sides with Fran (or the phantom “Ismael”). The fact is that a little kid who knows nothing about management has publicly questioned the integrity and judgment of the manager of the club. Its not only an insult to Mou and humiliation to his teammate, Mendes, but an insult to the club. Mou makes the judgment on who he picks to play. Toril can make his own choices and Mou does nto have to agree with him.

    I hope Fran is ready for the Pedro Leon treatment, because thats where he is headed.

  14. December 9, 2011 21:36

    I love when Sergio pulls his hair back in a tail. It looks so much better since he has beautiful bone structure and you can really see it. He looks classier and more sophisticated when he wears it away from his face. Love him!

  15. December 10, 2011 05:25

    that ozil .gif is hilarious. ha!! and the boyband comment — bwahha!

    captain pipa! love it. 🙂

    arbeloa tummy! love it, too. :p

    i can’t believe that, even with most of the starters gone, granero still didn’t get to play a full match. *sigh*

  16. December 10, 2011 05:37

    Tried google it. Failed. Therefore, naturally, question for Una. Why we played with shirts without sponsor? Thank you

    • unamadridista permalink*
      December 10, 2011 15:40

      It has to do with a ban on gambling advertising.

  17. bbBenz permalink
    December 10, 2011 14:08

    not amused Karim~ i miss that 8) Congratz fr our beloved Team! Hala Madrid!

  18. superfan permalink
    December 10, 2011 14:12

    We’re one step closer to that 10th cup!! 🙂

    But on a serious note, i know the twitter issue has been resolved already or something but somehow what that Ismael wrote was somehow true.

  19. Mouah permalink
    December 10, 2011 14:28

    Concerning the first gifs, I heard that Mou informed Karim of Lyon’s results during the game, because they needed a win of Real Madrid AND a win with a really high score in their game. Their qualification was a miracle but they did it, so Mou told Karim. And I think that’s what Mou was telling Karim there…

  20. Henrik permalink
    December 10, 2011 15:15

    Funny that if Ajax had got those two non-offside goals they would have been in the Champions League play off and not Lyon, missed the stars but great to see the others shine

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