an end of the year round-up
The team is back at work, and preparing for the upcoming marathon of games – four games in 11 days! The year ended with the Copa del Rey, and the new year will begin with that competition as well. Madrid will play Málaga on Jan. 3, then the Liga returns, with the Madrid-Granada game on Jan. 7. Then we have Málaga again on Jan. 10 (during which we’ll hopefully advance to the last eight of the Copa del Rey), and then Mallorca on Jan. 14.
Love how Pipita looks like the waiter!
Madrid returned to training on Thursday afternoon, after eight days of vacation. At the session, 22 players from the first team, including a recovered Ricardo Carvalho (from a sprained right knee), worked out. Tomás Mejías joined the first team, while Sergio Ramos is still recovering from his left thigh injury and so he was absent, although he was working out inside in the gym. And Iker looked to have recovered completely from his allergic reaction.
A mustache??? What are you thinking Marcelino?
Present at the session was madridista and golfer Sergio García, who had played some minutes the previous night in Iker’s charity game. He watched the session alongside Chendo.
In the first session on Friday, the morning session, the same 23 players participated. Sergio Ramos remained indoors for another day. What caught my eye was that Iker’s hair was so flat and combed forward that it looked like he was wearing a cap! Maybe he was still self conscious about his face? There was another session in the afternoon, which took place behind closed doors. The team trained for the last time this year on Saturday morning, and will start off 2012 with a training session on the afternoon of Jan. 1. The club has also reported that Ángel di María has a tear to his muscles of his right thigh, without stating how much time he would be out.
Mou also gave an interview to RMTV, where he said his vacation was “good, as always, very tranquil. I spent a bit of time in Portugal, in Paris, with my family, as always. Very tranquil. And now I’m more than prepared to start working hard again.” He also stated they’re not looking for any reinforcements in the winter transfer market, saying, “I don’t want any player, I haven’t asked for anyone and I won’t ask for anyone.”
Mou also took the opportunity to clarify recent declarations he made to BBC which were misinterpreted as meaning that he is looking to leave Real Madrid after “a couple of years.” Mou explained that “a couple of years” shouldn’t be taken literally, as it can mean many years (“two, three, four, 20”), and that he’s not even thinking about leaving Real Madrid. And when asked about how Iker said recently that he hopes Mou will be with them for many years, Mou replied, “Iker knows me, Iker knows me, he knows my mentality. We were in Sevilla the day before the game, and after having dinner, he was with a group of players and he called out to me, ‘míster, we’re having a discussion here, and everyone has their opinion. How do you see your career? You’ve been in Italy, in England, with Chelsea, with Inter and now in Madrid. What are you going to do in the future? Albiol is saying that after Madrid you’re going to coach the Portuguese national team, Arbeloa and Alonso say no, that you like England, I say this… and I don’t know, what do you think, can you clarify things?’ I told them, for sure, for sure, for sure that in two years no one can make me leave here, unless it’s for some bad results, but it’s 100 percent sure that I’m going to fulfill my contract with Real Madrid.”
My favorite question and answer came when Mou was asked about Mesut Özil (Mou started laughing as soon as he heard Özil’s name mentioned, I guess because he anticipated the question). The question was about Mesut having said that Mou is like a father to him. Mou’s response: “he said that, and now the others make fun of him because when we’re together, they say things like ‘look, your father is coming’ or ‘míster, your son is here.’ Others say things like ‘míster, your son is much more handsome than Özil and you’d never have a son as ugly as Mesut.’ This is done affectionately, these are affectionate words, and shows that we have a great relationship that is deeper than one between a player and coach. There have been many jokes made about Mesut’s declarations.” Jajajaja!!!!!!!! I’ll say it again, I love this team!
Other random things: have a look at Karim sending out season’s greetings (he sounds very sexy in French, no? That’s my opinion as a non-French speaker). He made this video for Adidas.
Iker, meanwhile, is on the cover of Avenue Illustrated’s November-December 2011 issue.
Inside, he says he tries to lead a very healthy lifestyle, because “I like it and because that’s what my profession requires. Before, I ate everything, but as an athlete I had to learn how to properly watch what I eat. Now I eat more salads, fruit and fish.” As for his appearance, Iker reveals, “I like to take care of myself, but mostly so that I will look presentable. I am fussy about it, if you want to see it that way, but I’m not that particular about it. It’s also true that I have my habits.” As for the future, Iker says that he’s spent his entire life kicking a ball, so he can’t imagine a future unrelated to football, and that he would like to be remembered as a good person.
Sergio spent some time in Italy over the break, visiting Rome and Vatican City. He tweeted this photo of him posing next to the Trevi Fountain, which promoted a response from Xabi Alonso: “wow, incredible. The sweet life of the Kaiser de Camas.” I love it when they tease each other over twitter, and off of twitter as well! Meanwhile, Esteban Granero tweeted that he can’t wait for the new album of
his twin Leiva, and Iker posted a photo on Thursday to show that he has completely recovered: “21:28h Spain time. This is me with my regular face! I’ve recovered my face! It’s nice to be yourself again…” On Friday, he had dinner at his friend Nikola Loncar’s house… who knew that they were friends? Nikola Loncar is a retired basketball player; he played for Real Madrid for several years.
And Castilla had their Christmas dinner on Thursday night, including an “amigo invisible” (secret Santa) activity. Denis tweeted that he had drawn Jorge Casado’s name, and gave him a shirt. He received a bottle of cologne. And ABMM tweeted, “at the team dinner. To mix things up. Álex and Dani at my side like dogs.” Speaking of Dani, Denis tweeted this photo of Dani at the dinner with the caption “guapísima” (he used the female form), jajaja!! Love the bow!