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ICYMI – the family edition

December 22, 2011

In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Ponferradina [2011-12-20, Copa del Rey round of 32 vuelta, 5-1].

Our boys gave us a lovely early Christmas present, ending the year with a win over Ponfe to move on to the Copa del Rey round of 16.  Besides the win, I loved the family atmosphere at the Bernabéu on Tuesday, not only the camaraderie between our players and their nice gestures, but also the fraternity between our team and the rival.

ONE.  This is the family edition, so let’s start with the twins!  I mentioned this before, but Jorge Casado and Nuri Sahin look a lot alike, no?

TWO.  Despite not being called up for this game, Iker still went to the stadium to support his teammates, like a good captain (or father, to fit with the theme of this ICYMI).  And when Ponferradina’s team spotted him, they wanted to take a picture with him!  Plus, it looks like his inseparable companion has gone from being his purse to being his iPhone.  I think everyone is grateful for that.

THREE.  Also prior to the game, we had Pepe giving his practice shirt away to a fan holding up a sign that said, “Pepe, I want your shirt.”  Is it that easy?  And like any good fangirl (especially those with Sergio Ramos as the object of their adoration), she smelled the shirt after.  Meanwhile, Mou – yes, Mou! – was busy fooling around with José Morais.  This is unusual!  Maybe the Christmas spirit has infected him…

FOUR.  Pepe made his debut as captain, in his fifth year with Madrid.  He said it felt strange playing the part during the greeting of the other team and the photo with the refs.  After the game, he said he was very proud: “I’m very happy to have been the captain and to achieve the win.  This is the best club in the world and I’m thrilled about this.”  Pepe is also the first Portuguese player to start the game as captain of Madrid (Luis Figo never did it).  At one point, the stadium sang his name (the first time ever) and Pepe later said that gave him goosebumps.

I loved that there were four canteranos, including one “little brother,” in the starting line-up.  So, it was fitting that Pepe was the captain, as he’s the cantera’s biggest cheerleader, along with Marcelo.

Coincidentally enough, Ponfe’s captain is also named Pepe.  It would have been nice for him to have gotten Pepe’s shirt after the game, but he got Hamit Altintop’s instead.

FIVE.  Five goals on the night – they’re spoiling us!  I was happy to see José score of course, as well as Nuri, as he really needed that for his confidence.

Rafa Varane – ¡qué listo!

Pepe, as a good captain, was in the midst of all the celebrations.  And I have to say, Ponfe scored a golazo as well, and I’m happy that they scored at least one against Madrid (sorry, Antonio) so that they can always have that memory.

The José-Joselu connection works really well, no?

¡Orgullosa de ser madridista!

SIX.  Three words: Karim Benzema’s eyelashes.

SEVEN.  Nuri Sahin dedicated his goal to his son (presumably) and looked much more relaxed as the second half began, as he probably felt a lot less pressure on him after scoring.

EIGHT.  Jorge Casado made his debut with the first team, and even started the game (he’s the only canterano, along with Nacho Fernández, to have debuted as a starter in the Mou era).  After the game, he said it was the happiest day of his life (he also tweeted that).  He also revealed that from the time the míster had said that he would be debuting, he had been very nervous, but once on the field, he felt good, as “my teammates helped me and talked to me.”

Fernando Pacheco was the other debutant of the night.  He said, “I’ve waited for this moment since I was small and I’m very happy because it’s impressive to debut in a stadium like this one.  The míster told me to stay calm and to do what I know” (it seems that’s what Mou tells every debutant, no?  But it’s good advice).

NINE.  Speaking of canteranos, Joselu heard the Bernabéu sing his name after his goal.  He said, “that gives you goosebumps.  In that moment, you’re focused on the game and the only thing you’re thinking about is doing things well.  But later on when you see repeats at home, you still get goosebumps.”

I loved that all three substitutes were canteranos – Nacho, Joselu and Pacheco.  And out of the three players they replaced, two were from the cantera – Casado and Adán.  However, out of the 14 canteranos that have debuted under Mou, only five have played more than 20 minutes, which means that there still isn’t a lot of faith in the cantera.

TEN.  Post-game declarations: Pepe said after the game, “we played with humility, we respected Ponferradina and we worked very well.  It’s positive for the club to have canteranos debut; hopefully they will triumph.  Every Madrid fan is happy, we’ll have a tranquil Christmas and in January we will return to work hard and fight for everything.”

ELEVEN.  I think my favorite moment occurred after the game.  First, there was the heartwarming scene of Mou standing on the sidelines, offering his hand to all of Ponferradina’s players as they walked by to congratulate them on their game.  Mou had done the same in the ida game, only that time he waited in the tunnel for them.

Then Dani Carril, one of the Ponferradina players, came up to Mou and whispered something to him.  It turns out that he had asked Mou for the vest he was wearing!  Mou took it off immediately and gave it to Dani.  What an original idea, and what a fun souvenir to get!  I wonder if others will start doing it now…

Dani said after the game that he had tried to exchange his shirt with one of the players, but everyone had already promised their shirts to his teammates, so he screwed up his courage and asked Mou for his vest.  He also said that the idea just came to him spontaneously, once he found out that all of the Madrid players’ shirts had already been promised away.  Dani also said that Mou have behaved very nicely towards his team, that he had congratulated them on the game and that he invited them into Madrid’s locker room so that they could get to know the Madrid players and exchange shirts during the first leg game at El Toralín.  He gave Mou a “10” for the night, saying, “he seems to be the type of person that won’t give you the time of day, and he turns out to be the friendliest of them all.”  I love that statement!

As for the other shirts, I already mentioned that Ponfe’s Pepe got Altintop’s shirt.  Yuri ended up with (Madrid) Pepe’s shirt, as they’re family – Pepe’s mother is a cousin of Yuri’s father.  Other players got Nacho, Rafa and Fábio’s, as we can see below.  And Luis Doménech came away with a Madrid polo signed by Karim Benzema, “for my girlfriend, as she likes Benzema a lot and today is her birthday.”  Karim even personalized it; you can see that it reads “for Marta…”  Karim’s game shirt went to Samuel, who “reserved” it at the half, knowing that demand would be high after the game.  I think it’s so sweet that they all wanted the shirts so badly, and it’s so heartwarming to see how happy they were once they got them!

TWELVE.  Some scenes of Ponfe’s players before the game.  They were super excited to be playing in the Bernabéu, and spent several minutes taking pictures and immortalizing the moment.  And I loved the moment when they saw the palco where Cristiano’s family sits, and one of them explained to his teammates that gesture that Cris always dedicates to his son!  It warms my heart to see how excited these players were; I love the Copa del Rey for bringing moments like these.

THIRTEEN.  The Xabi Alonso-in-training pose section.™

FOURTEEN.  The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

The picture of Xabi on the bench, along with this Instagram photo that he tweeted of his feet and the view of the Cuatro Torres from the hotel, were the only glimpses of Xabi we got.

FIFTEEN.  However, it didn’t matter.  As mentioned previously, we had Xabi-in-training, aka Esteban Granero.  And if his poses from the game look familiar to you, well, it’s because you’ve seen them all before!

SIXTEEN.  The Mou corner.

After the game, Mou said, “I was happy to be able to let Pacheco and Casado debut.  It’s always a lot of pressure to play your first minutes with the first team, but Casado did well.”  He also described José Callejón as “a player with a very strong personality who is doing things very well” and said he liked him as a footballer and also the way he works (Mou also said whoever worked with him at Espanyol had done a good job).  As for the game, Mou praised his team for “making it worthwhile for the fans to come to the Bernabéu.”  He also said the game was good for Nuri Sahin’s confidence, and praised Ponfe as “a great team who left here with the applause and the respect of the people.”  Yes, indeed.

SEVENTEEN.  Notes and tweets.

The team won’t be back in training until the afternoon of Dec. 29, giving them nine days of vacation, with the players who weren’t called up for this game receiving a couple more.

Iker posted this photo of him and Esteban Granero before the game.

Meanwhile, Xabi was once again shocked by the season finale of Dexter, while Álvaro Arbeloa got his wisdom teeth pulled out, without anesthesia, “like a good Spartan” (although Carlota tells us that might not be true).  And Joselu used Jorge Casado to tweet his thanks to everyone.  Jorge ended the message with “Merry Christmas to everyone!!  Be happy!!”

In Castilla news, Álex has been suspended for two games for getting sent off against Alcalá, while MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín has received a one game suspension for his sending off.  Meanwhile, the Competition Committee reversed the second yellow card against Peter Mendes, who had gotten carded for a foul COMMITTED BY JESÉ.  In this way, his expulsion has been annulled.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    December 22, 2011 09:32

    I just loved this game, Callejon scoring,he is the one spoiling us, to. Nuri scoring to pepe being all captainy on the pitch ( I get say one of my fav games for pepe).

    I just love this game, I too loved how Mourinho was in this game!!

    Anyway, what a very nice way to end up this year, merry Christmas everyone 🙂

  2. noviana noor aisyiah permalink
    December 22, 2011 10:02

    i always love when joselu scored. when in LA he hugged christiano so tight. oh i’ve tears in my eyes. and i also love in fact that ozil gave 2 assists in this games. because i think he need to get his confidence too

  3. @ulonghaz permalink
    December 22, 2011 10:08


  4. December 22, 2011 10:10

    I loved watching this match. And for the first time, I wasn’t horrified when another team (Ponferradina this time) scored against us. I wholeheartedly agree with you, that they deserved it.

    Karim’s lashes. Wow. I wish my lashes were like that and I’m a girl. :\

    Xabi and XIT picts made me laugh.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you Una. Hope the coming year gets us La Decima and many more happy ending ICYMI editions. *hugs*

  5. December 22, 2011 11:53

    Really loved the positivity and good sportsmanship surrounding this match – and the support in their stadium in the first match was incredible! I could hear them in the Bernabéu as well. I wasn’t sad to see them score, honestly!
    Loved the moment between Carril and Mou, and the scenes of the Ponfe players taking in the stadium before the match! 😀
    Lots of lovely little moments from this match – wonderful post as always! 🙂

  6. Kay permalink
    December 22, 2011 12:12

    Aw its cute to see how happy the Ponfe players were just to be at the Bernabéu! And the warm welcome they received from the fans and players alike.
    I hope the players enjoys their holidays and same to you Una! Have a good Christmas!! xx

  7. Pammie permalink
    December 22, 2011 12:45

    Nuri and Jorge look so much alike, I wonder what they thought when they first met each other 😀
    I’m so happy for Nuri that he scored and for all the Castilla players (and our boy Pacheco) who got to play with the first team. And Granero playing 90 min, yaaaay!

    The enthusiasm of the Ponfe players is adorable and the club showed itself to be great hosts as well.

    I wish you a Feliz Navidad!

  8. Suse permalink
    December 22, 2011 13:57

    What a happy end to the year. I loved hearing how the Ponferradina players were taking pictures of the Bernabeu, and reserving shirts to exchange in advance – and what a great souvenir Dani Carril has!

    Thanks for another fabulous post, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  9. Charlene permalink
    December 22, 2011 14:01

    Great wrap-up Una. I have a question…how did Pepe get to play in this game. Wasn’t he red-carded against Sevilla, so shouldn’t he be suspended for this game? Or is his suspension only for La Liga games? Or in Spain, do two yellows not merit a suspension?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      December 23, 2011 12:58

      This year, the suspension is served during the same competition, so Pepe won’t play against Granada.

  10. amouria permalink
    December 22, 2011 14:11

    Karim Benzema’s eyelashes…oh i wish my son get eyelash like Karim’s
    the entire post is adorable, thanks Una..
    Why Mou has these strange things and looks?
    Sahin, I love his smile, adorable…the kiss? invaluable..
    Pepe: Real Madrid with him is full of sweet taste. I wish the day without him does not come..

    And by the way as MARCA asks: where is Morata in this project? why we stopped hearing about his participation? Any thing happened with the boss? I wish not, because he is one of our valuable talents..
    Joselo: great future provided he gets enough attention from the boss….
    Alley: hahaha, the good work is rewarded, so, i imposes himself on everybody, including our opponents. Good for you ;lovely Callejón

  11. Rose permalink
    December 22, 2011 15:35

    Ponferradina was a lovely team with lovely fans, and I’m glad all their players had the opportunity to play at the Bernabeu and get some shirts (and vests!) as souvenirs. I love Mou when he does something sweet and unexpected. I felt like I was watching babies on that field for the most part, haha, but they did us proud. What a great way to go into the break! Now all we need is that Christmas video!

  12. Agne permalink
    December 22, 2011 15:53

    Great post Una! Thank you!
    I just wanted to ask is it so rare for teams like Ponferradina to compete in Copa del Rey? Anyways, it is so sweet to see them sooo exited!

    • unamadridista permalink*
      December 23, 2011 13:00

      It’s not rare for them to compete in the Copa del Rey, it’s rare for them to get matched up against Real Madrid.

  13. December 22, 2011 17:19

    That was a wonderful game, with a very nice atmosphere! I also like the Ponfe’s players excitement, kinda cute! I bet anyone has a similar feeling when visiting Bernabeu, but it must be the more special for the footballers who go there to play.

    Callejon-I said it before, but he becomes better and better. He truly uses the opportunity to play in a good way and his progress is very visible. I really really like his game recently.

    Was I the only one who got the “trip to the future” feeling for a moment there, with Adan and Pacheco and cantenaros playing? I cannot imagine Real without Iker and other current players, but it is great that the young footballers can gain experience that would be -with no doubt -very useful in the future.

    I cannot wait for the next game!

  14. Gianni permalink
    December 22, 2011 17:25

    aww I loved the section about the Ponfe players taking picture of the stadiun and love the nickname of granero Xabi-in-training lol!!

  15. jellyace permalink
    December 22, 2011 17:36

    Thank you for this darling post, Una! The comparative between the XIT and Xabi poses was brilliant!

    Wishing you and all madridistas and all you readers a very Happy Christmas!

  16. Alyssa permalink
    December 22, 2011 19:36

    There was SO MUCH happiness in this game! SO MUCH! The debuts, capi Pepe, the goals by our young ones, Callejon’s brace. Ahhh it was all so magical! And the attitude of the Ponfe players! It’s so interesting to see opponents as fans but also so refreshing. I’m glad they got a goal back too…they played with so much heart, they did deserve it. And because I absolutely hate the 5-0 scoreline, even if it’s us winning, last November scarred me too much. Your title is perfect! Our boys looked like a family out there and their performance made every single one of us feel like a member of that family! 🙂

  17. asma permalink
    December 23, 2011 00:23

    I think the match with Ponferradina after the Clasico is the best thing that could have happened to our team and especially to Cris. They gave Madrid a very warm welcome and applause, and shown great courtesy. They appreciated Cris and this gesture touched my heart. I was afraid the fans there would take the opportunity to whistle and boo Cris. And I’m so glad Mou and the team returned the courtesy. Alls well ends well yeay! And three cheers for Una!

  18. December 23, 2011 04:36

    oh, pobrecito arbeloa! i had mine out last month with the bare minimum anaesthetic (i have a bad reaction to it) and it was so sore. i hope his goes well! (i love the spartan comment, jajajaja!)

    xabi, you hipster! instagram!? i would expect that from your protege, but i figured you were far too elegant for that. 😉 speaking of the protege … wheee! i’m delighted granero got to play so much and be such a boss out there. (although in that photo with iker, he looks possesed!)

    i love captain pepe almost as much as captain marcelo! and yes, how fitting he’s the captain when it’s a canterano-driven team.

    obviously, i’m pleased we won, but i think of all our rivals this year, ponferradina are my favourites. and great minds think alike, una, because i was secretly pleased they got at least one goal in there, too. 😉

  19. superfan permalink
    December 23, 2011 06:29

    Awww those Ponfe players being all super happy!!:) You could really tell how happy, amazed, fangirl-y they were!! And it’s such a heartwarming scene to see.

    I can’t believe this is the last game of the year! Wow. It seems like it just flew by.

    Thank you for this, Una! I hope you’re having a very happy holidays!!! 🙂

  20. December 23, 2011 07:32

    I really enjoy your writing style as well as all the things/stuffs/info I get from your updates…found it really funny how much granero has become so much like xabi in all his poses…still no one is at par with xabi when you talk of classiness, lol…it may be awhile before I can read your updates so let me greet you now a Merry Christmas Una…and will be reading your blog again as soon as Christmas festivities are over.

  21. Jess permalink
    December 24, 2011 07:15

    This game was amazing!! Im so proud of our cantera and just all the Real Madrid players in general. Callejon, tremendo crack. Nuri scoring, Pepe being captain, Özil two assists… such a beautiful game. Ponfe’s players are soo adorable and I have soo much respect for them, I wish them the best of luck!

  22. December 26, 2011 16:06

    Gosh. The Ponfe players are really too cute. It’s so heartening to see them so happy and so excited just to be able to play in the Bernabeu, play against a team like Real and players like our guys. It must have been a dream come true for them, and it must have been amazing. And I also like that the team, Mou especially, made them feel special and welcome and appreciated at the Bernabeu.

    As much as I think Pepe needs to calm down with the defending sometimes, I kind of like him as captain from the pictures I saw here. He seems to have taken the role to heart and I especially love how he celebrated the goals. I love the big, BIG hugs he gave to Nuri and to Rafael.

    And Benz’s lashes. Oh, wow. Looks like Yoann Gourcuff has some competition for the “Lashes” nickname.

  23. January 1, 2012 21:18

    really loved the atmosphere around these two games. Really friendly, something that gets lost more and more in football. Not just rivalry, but envy and hate take over so much. Fans instead of enjoying a great game and celebrating their team, giving tribute to the rival… whistle own players and rivals if doing well or not, use swearwords, throw things on the pitch, fight each other and glare players with laserpointers.

    Really happy about our canteranos that played and well! And hey Joselu… he must have dreamt of that. Again, first contact with the ball and again a goal. And love, love, looooove we brought back Callejon. Such a great addition to our team!

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