the winter break news round-up
The team is back in training this afternoon! Did you miss them and football, or were you happy to get a break from the hectic schedule of Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey games?
Being big kids
Dec. 28 is the Día de los Santos Inocentes, Spain’s version of April Fool’s Day. Several of our players pulled some pranks, or were involved in them. Web site Soy Madridista announced that Álvaro Arbeloa would be named Madrid’s new Community Manager, and be responsible for handling Madrid’s presence on various social networks. Additionally, he would tweet during games, as long as he’s not playing. If he is playing, then Raúl Albiol would sub for him.
Actually, I would love to see this come true! Álvaro would do a much better job than whoever is handling this at the moment – look at his influence on getting his teammates on twitter! And I’m sure he wouldn’t fill up the Facebook account with those tired advertisements for that music project and that iPhone app (both of which I’ll never buy). Anyway, Álvaro responded, “I haven’t heard anything about the corresponding raise in salary…”
Meanwhile, Iker posted on his Facebook: “I want to announce from my official Facebook that I am ending my career in my club at the end of this year, to take on new challenges outside of it. I’ve had some wonderful moments and I hope they will continue in my near future. I’ll tell you all more details soon.” I thought he might do something like that, so I knew it was an “inocentada,” but apparently some people believed him and were thus upset.
In Castilla, Denis, MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín, Dani Carvajal and Álex Fernández wrapped Isaac’s car in toilet paper as their joke. And Dani tweeted, “today I have very important news to share, one that makes me very happy – I’m going to be a father for the second time.” Jajaja! Dani, ABMM and Álex (Castilla’s Three Musketeers) also found time to have lunch together (with the amount of time these three spend together, ABMM and Álex better end up as Dani’s children’s godparents!). Love these boys!
Vacation shots shared by our players; they couldn’t be in more different climates. Cris was sunning it up in the Maldives and swimming with dolphins, before going on to Dubai. There, he attended the Globe Soccer Conference (wearing a too tight, plaid-lined puffy vest), visited the Dubai Autism Center and received an award at the gala for being the footballer who received the most media attention (what kind of award is this???), as well as one for being the best player of the year AND the top goalscorer (again, what are these awards?).
Also in Dubai: Kaká, with his family (his wife Carol, his adorable son Luca, his brother Digão and his sister-in-law), as guests of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. I wonder if Cris and Kaká met up?
Meanwhile, Sami was having fun in the snow, doing some sledding it appears, and Sergio spent his break in his beloved Sevilla. By the way, did anyone catch that new episode of Ab Fab? In one of the first scenes, Eddie turns up in a head to toe denim outfit, which instantly reminded me of Sergio and his penchant for matching denim with denim.
As for Mesut, he paid a visit to the Turkish prime minister during his stay in Turkey, and presented him with a signed Real Madrid shirt. He also told Turkish program NTVSpor that Mou is like a “father’ to him, while Hamit Altintop is “older brother,” as they’ve known each other since their days together at Schalke. Álvaro Arbeloa hung out with friends and family in Zaragoza (his poor cousin was obviously influenced by his visit to Valdebebas the other day, because he can’t pose without doing a thumbs up now). Then it was onto London, as wife Carlota tweeted. As for Álvaro’s other half, he got a new dog named Minnie! Here’s Minnie Albiol, courtesy of Miguel Albiol.
Xabi Alonso was taking it easy during his vacation, between eating, reading The Great Gatsby, watching Casablanca (“Rick the man”) and catching up on his sleep, judging by the photos he posted on his img.ly account.
Hmm… Xabi wears plaid pajamas?
On Wednesday, he played with the Euskal Selekzioa in their friendly against Tunisia, checking into the game in the 63rd minute. Despite Xabi’s presence, his team lost 2-0. The crowd at San Mamés whistled at Xabi, even though he was one of the best players out there.
As for our forwards, Pipita Higuaín played in a friendly game between Argentina and Uruguay to raise funds for Javier Zanetti’s Fundación Pupi. Gonzalo scored one of the goals in the game, which ended 4-3 in favor of Argentina. Meanwhile, Karim was apparently taking helicopter rides in Morocco. We’re almost done with the Christmas vacation, and there hasn’t been news of Benz crashing any vehicles yet! A true Christmas miracle…
And Marca reports that Nuri Sahin stayed in Madrid over his break, playing host to his good friends Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels. Nuri also found the time to do some tourism, including visiting Segovia.
Over in Castilla, we found out through their tweets that the Fernández brothers, Nacho and Álex, made a trip to Liverpool (Liverpúl) to watch the Liverpool-Blackburn game. They got to meet Steven Gerrard, who signed Álex’s shirt (he and Xabi are Álex’s idols). And I loved this exchange between Álex and MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín. Álex was tweeting about how they were on their way, so MFC came back with “I hope you miss your flight, and you won’t be here to train tomorrow.” After Álex laughed and said “what a nice guy you are,” ABMM explained, “it’s so that you won’t forget that you have to bring me back a present.”
Iker’s charity game, the Partido x la Ilusión, ended 4-4, with Iker attending and playing despite an allergic reaction to something he ate (he doesn’t know what) that left his face all puffed up (it’s not pretty) and swollen (it’s been like that for the past three days). Pobrecito… He told the crowd at the Palacio de los Deportes, “it looks like I was fighting Rocky Balboa.” After the event, he joked, “luckily, my career doesn’t depend on my face.” What a great sport Iker is, no? And such a great person too!
The white team was made up of Iker, Fabio Cannavaro, José Muñoz, Sergio García, Rubén de la Red, Miguelito Torres, Chema Martínez, Álvaro Bautista, Huecco, Robert Ramírez and Héctor Polo. They were coached by Luis Aragónes. The black team was made up of David Muñoz, David Bustamante, Esteban Granero, Miguel Ángel Muñoz, Fernando Hierro, José Antonio Reyes, Álvaro Benito, Santiago Segura, Héctor Barberá, Adrián Rodríguez, Alejandro Sanz, Leiva and Gheorghe Craioveanu. They were coached by José Ramón Sandoval. Reyes scored twice, while Miguel Ángel Muñoz, Miguel Torres, Huecco, Polo, Álvaro Benito and Rubén (¡qué golazo!) also found the back of the net.
Even our former players are so good looking, no?
Game notes: Iker let in three goals in the first four minutes of the game (and the fourth 30 seconds into the second half). I’m thinking it was a combination of not being able to see perfectly and wanting to let the crowd see some goals. He did make a paradón on
Torrente Borjamari Santiago Segura later on. Hierro and Cannavaro even got yellow cards, and Bustamante carded the ref, which I’m sure many of the players would like to do once if they ever got the chance.
Huecco had a lovely gesture – after scoring a goal (off of some fantastic teamwork), he lifted his shirt to reveal a message of encouragement for his good friend, El Guaje David Villa. If you remember, David was one of the participants in Huecco’s video for “Dame vida,” along with Sergio Ramos. Did you know that Huecco once played in Real Madrid’s Torneo Social? Héctor Polo celebrated his goal by revealing a Pignoise shirt. Pignoise is of course also connected to Real Madrid due to Álvaro Benito, whose career was cut short by injury. And, Esteban Granero wore the number 14. Xabi-in-training indeed! Speaking of people that Esteban resembles, he and Leiva could be brothers!
I think my favorite moment was when Alejandro Sanz grabbed Iker to prevent him from guarding the goal. Two of my favorite men hugging! Is there space for me in the middle?
As for the Champions for Africa charity game on Dec. 29, there won’t be any representatives from Real Madrid, but there are quite a few of our former players/canteranos participating: Dani Parejo, Roberto Soldado, Juanfran Torres, Jordi Codina, Miguel Torres (busy guy), Pedro Mosquera, Adrián González, Pedro Munitis, Raúl Bravo, Tote and Juanmi Callejón. That just shows how many of our players have succeeded in the first and second divisions, no?
Back to school
AS published an article the other day on several former football players who are currently taking the football coaching course offered by the RFEF. They recently finished the first phase, which is 455 hours of instruction, and now are doing a six-month internship. In May, they’ll start the second level, which is 565 hours. They’ll end by July 2013, after completing the third level, the UEFA pro level of 875 hours. The prerequisites to sign up for this course were quite strict: at least eight years playing experience in the first division, at least five international caps or at least one championship (Olympics, Eurocopa or World Cup). Among the students are our former players Iván Helguera, Fernando Morientes, Santi Solari and Albert Celades.
Solari says, “I have a passion for football. I can’t continue as a player and this is how I’m going to stay linked to this world.” Meanwhile, Helguera says, “I’m learning things that as a player, I didn’t know,” and El Moro says he’s learning a lot.
Speaking of RFEF courses, the sporting directors course ended on Dec. 19 – I wonder if Iker, Álvaro, Sergio and Raúl passed? If so, what were their final projects, and was there a graduation ceremony? And, what did they wear to it?
And something you’ve always wanted to know…
AS also gave us this article on Cristiano’s hairstylists, who are the Siero brothers, owners of the Sile salon in Móstoles. José and Miguel have styled Cris hair for the past two and a half years. They got this job through the head of protocol of the Mirasierra Suites hotel, who was looking for someone discrete and serious for Cris. They say, “his hair style reflects his personality… he has very curly and complicated hair. We have to do special work so that he can wear the styles he likes. He’s very daring with his looks.” They also describe Cris as a “shy person.”
The Siero brothers also style Nuri Sahin, Hamit Altintop and Fábio Coentrão. When asked to describe Nuri, they said, “Sahin is a very balanced person and his hairstyle goes along with his personality.” As for Altintop, “Altintop is different. We know him with long hair and a beard and the first time that we styled his beard, he told us ‘cut off a lot of my hair.’ Right now we’re letting it grow out, since he looks better like that. We advise him to cut it often so that his hair stays healthy.” They also say that they’re “transforming Coentrão” at the moment.
For 2012, the brothers would like to style José Mourinho’s hair, which is a possibility, because they’ve already done Jorge Mendes and he told them he might bring Mou. They’d also like to do Iker’s hair – despite being located in Iker’s hometown, they’ve never seen Iker there, although his friend Julito has his hair done at their salon.