all set for Ponfe!
We’re already at the last game of the year, tonight’s Copa del Rey round of 32 vuelta game against Ponferradina at the Bernabéu (20h). A win will be a great way to close out this year. Plus, José Mourinho gave us an early Christmas present, when he confirmed that one of our canteranos, Jorge Casado, will start the game (though that was probably due more to the fact that Marcelo is on vacation and Fábio Coentrão is coming off an injury and may play on the right than anything else).
On Monday afternoon, the team trained at the Bernabéu. Only 12 players from the first team participated in the session, along with five Castilla/RMC players (Jorge Casado, Nacho, Joselu, Jesús and Fernando Pacheco).
Kaká, Marcelo, Ángel di María, Gonzalo Higuaín, Lass, Raúl Albiol (he’s sanctioned for this game), Iker, Cris and Álvaro Arbeloa are already on vacation, while Ricardo Carvalho and Sergio Ramos are injured, though the latter did watch the training session at the stadium. When Xabi spotted him, he teasingly asked Sergio if he was ready to be part of the team or not, because they don’t like empty promises. Sergio once again wore a denim on denim outfit. Hopefully Xabi got him some clothes for Christmas, and Iker and Cris did not.
The next training session won’t be until nine days later, on the afternoon of Dec. 29. On Dec. 28, however, Iker will hold his charity game, and so we can expect to see a couple of his teammates (and former teammates) suit up.
All 17 of the participants at the training session were called up for the game.
Goalkeepers: Adán, Jesús, Pacheco.
Defenders: Pepe, Coentrão, Varane, Nacho, Casado.
Midfielders: Sahin, Altintop, Özil, Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Granero, Callejón.
Forwards: Joselu, Benzema.
In his press conference, Mou confirmed that Jorge Casado would get a start (“he’s doing really well with the filial“), while Nacho and Joselu would be on the bench. Mou added that he knows every single player on Castilla, so he knows what they’re capable of. Mou also said he has confidence in the players that he usually doesn’t use, such as Esteban Granero, whom he described as “a great boy, a great professional and a madridista. He plays with dedication and that’s what I expect of him tomorrow and always.”
Mou also congratulated Barcelona for winning the Club World Cup during his press conference and called them “a great team,” though he said he believes that Champions is much more important than those “two partidillos.”
Here are a couple more moments from the Sevilla game. The fans may have called Sergio some mean things, but he got the last laugh, with the win, and with his hair looking absolutely perfect. It’s mesmerizing, no? Meanwhile, prior to the game, we also had Álvaro Arbeloa rallying his warriors.
During the game, Iker was providing a lesson for all those who want to learn Spanish curse words. Later on, he encouraged El Chori.
And these two moments made me laugh. Pepe was sent off (he apologized to José Callejón on his way off the field, as he saw that José would be sacrificed), and when he left the field, Raúl Albiol went in. However, since Callejón was actually the player that Albiol was supposed to be replacing, and he was a couple of steps behind Pepe, Albiol had to run back and then run out again once José got off the field. And after Hamit Altintop’s goal, the entire bench started calling out his name, celebrating wildly when he finally he looked at them. Look at Ángel! They are so adorable! I love that everyone got involved.
In other news, according to media reports, Iker will end his contract with Reebok at the end of this year and become one of Adidas’ players. He has already appeared in promotional events relating to Adidas’ presentations of Madrid and Spain’s shirts (as Reebok is owned by Adidas), and so I guess we can expect to see much more of him once it becomes official.
And Real Madrid’s former players’ association held their annual Christmas dinner at the Bernabéu on Monday. Look who was on hand – Rubén de la Red!