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all set for Málaga!

January 3, 2012

Hopefully we can start the new year in the same way we ended the last one – with a win in the Copa del Rey!  Madrid takes on Málaga tonight (22h) in the first leg of the competition’s round of 16.  I can’t wait to see how the Bernabéu will receive Ruud van Nistelrooy!  We still have a lot of love and affection for him.  And of course, for our team too, especially our little ray of sunshine!

On Monday afternoon, the team trained at the Bernabéu, in the second session of the year and the last one before tonight’s game against Málaga.  Despite his earlier return, Ricardo Carvalho didn’t join his teammates for the session; instead, he worked out alone at Valdebebas in the morning and afternoon (Mou would say later on that he’s no longer injured, but that he’s been out for a long time, meaning that he needs to get back in shape).  That, along with the continued absence of Sergio Ramos and Ángel di María due to injury, meant that only 20 footballers from the first team trained, along with Tomás Mejías.

Sergio, however, was also at the stadium, where he ran around the field with Carlos Lalín.  Hopefully he’ll be fit by this weekend, for the game against Granada, especially as Pepe is suspended for that one.

All 21 of the healthy footballers were called up for the game.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Mejías.

Defenders: Arbeloa, Coentrão, Marcelo, Pepe, Varane, Albiol.

Midfielders: Lass, Khedira, Granero, Sahin, Xabi Alonso, Özil, Callejón, Altintop, Kaká.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema.

At his press conference, which took place before the training session, there were a few special “journalists” in the press room: Pepe, Marcelo and Fábio Coentrão.  And sitting a few rows behind them were Silvino Lauro, Rui Faria and Aitor Karanka (Aitor’s cut out of the photo below, so here is another one).  Unfortunately, none of them (dared to) asked any questions – I would have loved to see that happen!

During the press conference, Mou answered questions on the following subjects:

his desire for 2012: my desire?  For me, I ask for good health, because we’re nothing without health, we’d be dead without good health.  I ask for good health for me and for my people.  And when I say my people, why not extend it to everyone?  My people start with my family, then my friends. and then people I don’t know but who share this world with me and so I wish the exact same thing for them, for everyone to have good health.  [Jajaja!!!!]  I’m not asking for anything in terms of football.

on the winter transfer market and Madrid’s reported interest in certain players: I don’t want any new players.  I said it but you all don’t believe me… I would like to start and end the season with the same players.  We started off together, and I would like for all of us to end together.  They know this, the directors as well.  But until Jan. 31, everything is open, even though I say and I’ve repeated that I haven’t asked for anyone and I have it very clear that I don’t want anyone to leave.  That’s because there’s only a few of us: 21 plus the goalkeepers and that’s what I consider a balanced number to play in the three competitions that we’re in.

Probably more of Mou than you’ve ever wanted to see…

on rotations: against Ponferradina, I didn’t give any opportunities to anyone, because I wanted to pass that round.  I have created two teams so that the same players won’t play all the games.  It’s the same now.  The idea is to rotate, to create strong and balanced teams.  Sahin will for sure get minutes.  I know who will play tomorrow, but the players don’t know, so I’m not going to say.

on José Callejón: I consider him a boy that spent several years outside of Madrid, and so he should have felt what it’s like to be here and what it’s like to be outside of here.  He knows how to value better than others what it means to leave Madrid and he views each minute as a very important thing.  He was here, he left and he came back, and I don’t think he’ll be leaving again.  My feeling is that he wants to stay here for as long as possible.  For some players, and I’m not talking about anyone in particular, coming off the bench and playing 10 minutes is a problem, but for him, coming off the bench and playing 10 minutes is fantastic.  He’s always ready to play and that’s why he has more possibilities to play as a starter.  He’s working with tranquility and humility.  He respects his teammates and they respect him.  I really like his mentality, and I think he is a good player for Real Madrid.

Wow, that is a lot of praise for Calleti!  Mou also refused to answer any more questions on what he said to the BBC, explaining, “I don’t want to add to your (the media’s) stories.”

Following the training session, the team began their concentración, which started with Iker taking this photo of him, Kaká and Tomy, adding this caption when he posted it on his Facebook: “Kaká has told me that he’s not leaving, that he’s going to stay here with us!”  Yay!

Going backwards, on Sunday afternoon, Madrid completed their first training session of the year.  They started off with hugs for the new year.  Nacho, MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín and Tomás Mejías joined 21 footballers from the first team for the session (Sergio and Ángel are the injured ones), which started with stretching and ended with ball exercises.  I love how Marcelo had to stand up on tiptoes to give ABMM a hug, as well as how Tomy teased ABMM, and how Xabi can even make warming up interesting.

Your dose of sunshine for Sunday….

As you can see, everyone was happy to be back.

Going back even further, to the New Year, it looks like the Arbeloa and Callejón families spent it together!  Meanwhile, Sergio was in Sevilla with his family, and Iker was in Navalacruz, with his lifelong friends and girlfriend Sara!  Despite being over 600 kilometers apart, Sergio and Iker somehow managed to dress alike.

Karim wished us a Happy New Year alongside his younger brother, Gressy.

And the third edition of the Torneo de Fútbol 7 Benjamín, organized by Mejorada del Campo’s football school and Antonio Adán, will take place this Sunday, at the La Dehesa football complex.  Antonio’s team from Mejorada del Campo will participate, as well as Real Madrid and Los Piratas de Granero!  I love kiddie football.  Last year, Sergio Canales showed up to support his teammates, and I can see Calleti doing the same this year.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    January 3, 2012 14:18

    Mourinho’s picture, jajajajajaja!!!
    I love the praises he get for Callejon, notice a theme here, last year fav player was Arbeloa, now Callejon get like a whole paragraph of praises, Granero did too before, cantera impress apparently. Oh even Iker get the first praise when Jose joined us.
    I am waiting for how Bernabeu welcome Rud too, I very much expect a big applause for him if he scores, standing ovation too if he is subbed, that if Pelle played him.

    Alonso make me look at the training gif for about 5 minutes, kept staring!! beautiful Xabi, beautiful!,

  2. January 3, 2012 15:19

    Jeeeez! Yeah the sweaters, the scarfs and the jeans, all alike!!!! I really can’t help getting more and more addicted into their bromance XDDD
    Best wishes for Sergio’s health so that we can have our second captain back!

  3. amouria permalink
    January 3, 2012 15:38

    I am so happy to see Morata agains training with the team. This is perhaps the first time since last season… great for us and him..
    Sunshine? he’s the smile of the team.
    Mou praising Callijon: yes, he deserves it…

    Happy new year to you Una and everyone:-)

    • unamadridista permalink*
      January 5, 2012 15:00

      Morata’s trained with the team a lot, he just is being called up for games.

  4. Didi permalink
    January 3, 2012 17:03

    Here in Holland they don’t show the Copa del Rey matches. Do you (or anyone else) know a site where I can watch the match online?

  5. January 3, 2012 17:14

    I can’t stop laughing at “We’d be dead without good health.” That has to make the JM quote Hall of Fame.

  6. Alyssa permalink
    January 3, 2012 18:45

    AHHHH I MISSED THIS! Marcelo hugging baby Álvaro and his to get on his toes to do so is the cutest thing!

    A question, do you have any insight/guesses/anything about Sergio’s tweet? The one with all the purple hearts from new years? I know what the words mean but my Spanish knowledge is only very very basic so sometimes I get what people are implying wrong. Is it about a girl? The fangirl in me would love for you to tell me I’m wrong haha.

    • unamadridista permalink*
      January 5, 2012 15:01

      I prefer not to speculate.

  7. helena permalink
    January 3, 2012 19:14

    i love ur blog and do u have a a twitter or facebook accout

    • unamadridista permalink*
      January 5, 2012 15:01

      I don’t have twitter or Facebook for this blog!

  8. Ana permalink
    January 4, 2012 00:55

    Can’t wait to read your game report… what a game!

    As a sidenote, just wanted to be one of the many to say thank you for this excellent site! It is a wonderful resource for international fans, such as myself, who don’t unfortunately speak Spanish and cannot translate Spanish football news. I’m incredibly grateful, so thank you!

    Please take much care, and have an awesome New Year!


  9. January 4, 2012 05:38

    bwahahaha! he might pose with her, but we all know iker’s true soulmate is sergio! ;p i love the matching outfits!

    amen, mou. we are nothing without good health, and that is my wish, too — for family, friends and footballers alike!

    my second wish is that i wake up february 1 and granero, albiol and kaka are still wearing our kit! (though if san iker says it is so … i have faith.)

    that match today … ay-yi-yi! what a nail biter!

  10. maria permalink
    January 4, 2012 14:56

    Happy new year Una!! And to all your readers!! My wishes to you and your beloved, are the same as Mou’s: Health!!! (and that you keep on entertaining us and making us laugh with your Madrid and Roja blogs!!)
    Now I also have a few comments about your post:
    – feel the same as you: why haven’t Marcelo (should be him) “popped up” a question to Mou?? That would be so like him!!! He’s so much fun, you nicknamed him perfectly: Sunshine goes so very well with Marcelo… I always wish to bump onto him, here in Rio during his vacations, but haven’t had that chance yet!!! Hahaha
    – I do not have a problem with “a lot” of Mou. Always wish to see more of him, is that weird?? I just think he’s such a tease…
    – Iker’s girlfriend Sara is so drop dead gorgeous… I had no idea!! I mean, I’ve seen here before on that world cup video, but I guess I didn’t pay enough attention… I just googled her, after seeing that picture you posted, and oh my God, she looks really amazing!! They are such a lovely couple!!

  11. Hazel permalink
    January 5, 2012 13:35

    Una, this is a wee bit off topic but I overheard an argument about the pronunciation of Real Madrid’s stadium. The 3 pronunciations were, “Ber-na-be-yo” (e like in egg), “Ber-na-byo”, and “Ber-na-bao”. I was wondering which one is right. I’ve heard the first two, but not the 3rd. Thanks for your help! 🙂

    • unamadridista permalink*
      January 5, 2012 15:07

      It’s none of the three (the last one is how English-speakers tend to say it).

      The correct pronunciation is as in this video.

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