ICYMI – the moving on edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Barcelona [2011-12-10, Liga jornada 16, 1-3].
The actual conversation at work today went a little like this. My colleague: I really wanted to congratulate us today, but no… Me: I know, I was so excited after the first 30 seconds, thinking ¡por fin!
Well, that about sums it up, no? But I prefer to look ahead. I also like what Sergio wrote, “en las buenas y en las malas, Hala Madrid!” (in good times and bad, Hala Madrid!). And though this may be a bad time at the moment, I believe there will be good times soon.
I am quite an optimistic person by nature, so I don’t want to dwell on the bad things, or missed opportunities. I prefer to look forward and think that there is a lot of Liga left, and anything is possible. However, for this post we have to look back, and so here are some of the lighter moments of the game.
ONE. The Bernabéu got dressed up for the occasion, with this beautiful mosaic in the south end, and white flags in the rest of the stadium.
Too bad several fans let us down with their stupid lasers and with their stupid chants, including one wishing death on Andrés Iniesta (which was duly reported by the press, the same press that tends to ignore when Cristiano Ronaldo gets this treatment).
TWO. As the warm-up wound down, it was time for the high fives and mutual encouragement. I’ll say it again. Piña.
THREE. Meanwhile, in the tunnel, we had Cristiano being a tease.
FOUR. Win or lose, our boys are so pretty, no? Not every team can say this. After the photo was taken, the captains went to do the coin toss, which ended with Iker and Carles Puyol giving each other a high five and a tap on the side of the head. They’re so coordinated that they looked like they practiced this, no?
FIVE. Karim’s goal, which hit the back of the net at the 22″ mark, was the fastest goal in the history of clásicos. This picture looks more like it belongs in an advertisement for a video game or for a shoe brand than in real life.
It made me so, so, so happy, I thought I would explode from joy. Plus, Marcelo’s little jump is adorable!
SIX. Something caught Álvaro Arbeloa’s attention, and held it for a long time. Meanwhile, Iker was doing the best to get the attention of his teammates.
SEVEN. Speaking of Iker, he was very frustrated (he wasn’t the only one) during the game. But the way he expressed it was just adorable, from kicking the goalpost to lying spread-eagle on the ground after conceding a goal, and the rolling up.
I also loved the head shaking, the arm motions, the muttering to himself, the gestures and the squat.
EIGHT. Iker showed why he is the captain of his club and country after the game, from applauding the home crowd to giving his hand to his rivals (as the himno goes), including his La Roja teammates Puyol, Iniesta and Villa. This man, like Xabi, is pure class.
NINE. After the game, my two captains both said things I liked. And I love how they’re gracious in defeat.
Iker: we’re a group, and all of us win and lose together. We all have to be on this ship.
Sergio: we had a golden opportunity today, but the Liga continues and no one is champion yet. It’s a shame because if we had won, we would have widened the gap in points, but football is like this and neither Barcelona nor we were going to win the Liga today. We have to congratulate the rival, which is a great team.
TEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
ELEVEN. The Mou corner.
At his press conference, Mou said that the team was “sad and calm. I said before the game that we were very stable emotionally, and we wouldn’t change with a win or a loss. If you win, you’re happy, and if you lose, you’re not happy. But we’re balanced and we’re tied in points. We have one more game to play, and if we don’t lose, we’ll be first going into the Christmas break. If we win points in Sevilla, we’re the leaders.” He said he came out to speak to the press “because my team has lost, you don’t want my assistant to come out if we lose… after a loss, it would be impossible for me not to come out.” And when asked whether he heard the whistles aimed at Cristiano Ronaldo, Mou responded, “I don’t have time for those things, I have to work.”
Mou also refused to criticize the referee when asked about the foul that could have meant a second yellow card for Messi: “to me, it looked like it should have been an expulsion, but perhaps not, because the referee had a better view, I was 40 meters away and the referee was close and I don’t want to criticize anything without watching it on TV because I could be unjust and I don’t want to be that.”
Prior to the game, Mou had waited around two minutes at the entrance of the tunnel for Pep Guardiola to emerge. And when Pep finally made an appearance, Mou offered his hand and the two of them greeted each other cordially. Then, with one minute or so left in the game, Mou headed to the Barcelona bench to extend his hand to Tito Vilanova, and say a few words to him. He said later that he wished Vilanova “health. He’s good and I’m happy for that.” I love this.
TWELVE. The presidential palco and VIP section were full of, well, VIPs. Rafa Nadal was in the palco, while Feliciano López and Juan Carlos Ferrero were spotted in the VIP section.
Vicente del Bosque was also in the palco, along with Toni Grande, though they didn’t run into Florentino Pérez. This was the first time that VDB had returned to the Bernabéu since the controversy over his socio de honor nomination. Did you know that VDB has a seat reserved for him in all the stadiums, for whenever he wants to attend a game? Clive Owen was also seen in the palco (one of the things that Alfredo di Stéfano said he liked in his Marca column was meeting Clive); hopefully Nagore had a chance to chat with him as well. Shakira was also among the 80,000+ souls at the Bernabéu, as was Guti.
I liked what Guti said about Cristiano: “doubting Cristiano is like when Messi is doubted when he plays badly with Argentina. Football is like that. We all know that they’re the best in the world, but if they play badly for two games, people start criticizing them. Football is a roller coaster and when things go well for you, it seems like you’re God and no one can move you from the peak, but you know that in any moment you can fall off and you do fall off.”