it’s that time of the year again…
… where we get “triplete” of the Christmas lunch, the hospital visit and the taping of the Christmas message! On Sunday afternoon, after the football team’s practice and the basketball team’s 83-61 win over Assignia Manresa, the club held their annual Christmas lunch for the two teams, staff and directors at the Bernabéu. During the lunch, Alfredo di Stéfano amused Iker, and Xabi Alonso amused himself.
As the players arrive,d the parking area of the Bernabéu became a runway, complete with catwalk and photographers (in the form of fans). I can’t believe anyone would want to dress like Cristiano; I don’t think the white sneakers look good at all (or the big Gucci belt)! Meanwhile, Xabi was dressed just like that little boy in Sevilla, no? Most of the players went for casual for the lunch, wearing jeans, though they paired them with everything from t-shirts to sweaters to leather jackets, and in Sergio’s case, a vest.
The members of the two teams mixed and chatted before the lunch began (despite what these pictures show). I wonder what language Cris was speaking in the photo on the right. Probably English.
Then it was onto the tables. The presidential table was made up of FP, Alfredo di Stéfano, Emiliano Rodríguez (the equivalent of Di Stéfano for the basketball team; he’s a former player and honorary president of the ex-players’ association), FP’s three VPs, José Mourinho, Pablo Laso (coach of the basketball team) and team captains Iker Casillas and Felipe Reyes.
The rest of the tables were divided like this (once again, it was roughly based on nationality/common language spoken):
Table 2: Álvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Raúl Albiol, Sergio Llull, Jorge Sanz and Sergio Rodríguez.
Table 3: Marcelo, Pepe, Fábio Coentrão, Cristiano, Rafa Varane, Karim Benzema, Lass, Mirza Begic and Nikola Mirotic.
Table 4: Ricardo Carvalho, Kaká, Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira, Hamit Alintop, Nuri Sahin, Kyle Singler, Jaycee Carroll and Martynas Pocius.
Table 5: Gonzalo Higuaín, José Callejón, Antonio Adán, Esteban Granero, Dani Díez, Carlos Súarez, Ante Tomic and Novica Velickovic.
Check out how Pipita is looking at José! And Dani and Esteban have the same, overgrown hair. How fitting that they sat next to each other.
Other notes: the assistant coaches sat together at another table. Ángel di María had permission from the club to miss the lunch and hospital visit. Everyone at the lunch went home with a gift, a stereo system for the iPod/iPhone, plus the Iker Casillas book.
Speaking of Iker, he posted these photos on his Facebook, saying that we’re not allowed to question Benz’ style. So, can we question Iker’s? I don’t like the turtleneck at all! Especially not with that jacket. It makes him look like a priest, minus the collar. And I have to say, Alfredo looks quite adorable here, it’s good to know that Iker can also be reduced into a fanboy.
The teams also found time to record the traditional Christmas greeting, though we will have to wait a couple more days before we get to see the results, although the making of video is always better than the actual message. It will be hard to top that Cris/Kaká laughing one from the 2009-10 season, as well as Raúl Albiol’s ni-ni-ni-ni from that same year (that is one of the best videos ever). During the lunch, the boys got some practice in. Hamit Altintop’s attempt made everyone burst out laughing.
And then it was on to the taping!
Following that, the players divided up and went to 11 hospitals and clinics around Madrid, to visit with sick children and act as the Three Kings. The press attention was centered on the Sanitas La Moraleja, as that was where Iker, Cris, Mou, Karanka and Felipe Reyes went. This year, however, Cris decided not to stand next to Felipe, so that he wouldn’t look so short.
It didn’t work, Felipe makes everyone look short. As Cris headed to his car after the hospital visit, a father shoved his kid into Cris’ arms for a hug and kiss. Though a bit surprised, Cris gave the kid a big smile. I imagine that’s how he looks at Cristiano Jr.! I love papá Cristiano!
Here is where everyone else went.
Meanwhile, the twins and Sergio Llull went to the Hospital San Rafael, where they handed out presents, signed autographs and looked adorable.
Later that evening, Gonzalo Higuaín and Ángel di María flew out of Barajas for Buenos Aires, as their vacation starts now. Marcelo and Kaká will also get a few more days of vacation, as Mou stated before, as will Cris and Iker, who have accumulated the most minutes and will likely not be called up for the Copa del Rey vuelta game against Ponfe.