ICYMI – the five edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Granada [2012-01-07, Liga jornada 18, 5-1].
After we scored five goals in our victory against Granada, Espanyol once again* lent us a hand (literally, more or less), allowing us to add to our lead in the Liga, which is now at five. And five times two is 10, and our win started with our number 10, Mesut Özil, and the beautiful assist he gave Karim Benzema to open up the scoring.
* Four years later, thinking about that magical night still makes my heart accelerate and gives me goosebumps. Plus, that video includes shirtless Sergio; in other words, the two magic words to get your attention!
ONE. Pre-game scenes. Xabi and Sergio looking all sorts of beautiful…
… while Sami and Cristiano remained focus and serious, and Iker thanked the crowd. And we can always count of Marcelo Sunshine to lighten the mood!
Special mention goes to Sergio’s hair – how does he get it to look so good?
TWO. It looks like Iker is not the only “religious figure” on our team – some people believe Mou has special powers too!
THREE. I loved that everyone contributed to the win: from Karim Benzema (two goals on the night, which gave him 51 and made him the top French goalscorer in club history) to Mesut Özil (three goal passes) to Gonzalo Higuaín (one goal that effectively squashed all of Granada’s hopes) to everyone in between. The fist goal was a beauty, no?
Another angle of the assist…
I loved how Sergio celebrated the second goal, by running over to the area between the benches to hug the field delegate, Agustín Herrerín. So sweet!
After the game, Sergio tweeted that his goal was dedicated to “Herrerin.” I don’t know why he put his name in quotation marks; he did that in his next tweet as well, where he talked about his friend, the flamenco singer “Canelita.” It would work if those are nicknames, but those are the names that the men are known by!
Karim Benzema left the field in the 53rd minute after scoring his second goal (and the team’s fourth) with pain to his lower right tibia. You can see him limping as he celebrates. According to AS, tests show that it was just a blow and there’s no serious injury. And while Cris didn’t celebrate his goal, one of the fans did so in his place, throwing confetti into the air. I love it!
FOUR. With Karim injured, José Callejón, who had been warming up, entered the game. Here’s the moment where Mou thought Calleti’s movements were too slow, and yelled at him to hurry up and GET INTO THE GAME! ¡José, joder, eh! ¡Vamos ya!
FIVE. Speaking of Callejón, how does he get his hair to remain standing up like that, despite running around on the field and at times even heading the ball? It’s one of life’s great hair mysteries, which also include how Sergio gets his hair to look so perfect all the time, where some of Iker’s hair has gone, and why Cris believes that some of those “fashion” hairstyles look good on him.
SIX. As I said earlier, I had imagined seeing Fran Rico debut at the Bernabéu. On Saturday, I got my wish. However, I didn’t expect him to be wearing the rival team’s jersey.
SEVEN. For your viewing pleasure…
EIGHT. When asked about why Cristiano didn’t celebrate his goal, Sergio Ramos said after the game, “Cristiano is like that, and we’re happy with him.” So am I! Meanwhile, Marcelo (who needs to shave, I don’t like the facial hair on his baby face) spoke about his five years at the Bernabéu: “today was a special day for me and it was even more special due to the win. I want to continue here for a long time because I’ve always enjoyed it. I give it my all during every single training session and game because I’m proud to wear this shirt and I am fighting to continue playing many games.” And Rafa Varane spoke in Spanish in the mixed zone! Good for him! Impressive Spanish and impressive performances!
NINE. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
Poor Karim, he’s injured, he hurts, we all feel bad, but then Xabi come along and steals the show and all the attention by posing next to him.
In this game, we also got Xabi winking!
And an old favorite…
TEN. The Mou/Karanka corner.
During the game, Mou showed off his goalkeeping skills (it runs in the family, after all), and also his displeasure when Granada scored and then Aitor and Rui ignored him. Look at how hard he tried to get Aitor and Rui’s attention! But they didn’t care. Aitor placated him by nodding along, while Rui had no reaction. Jajaja!!!!
José Mourinho did not give the post-game press conference, so Aitor Karanka took his place (while I love watching Aitor talk, during these times I miss the instant classic quotes that we would get if were Mou speaking). Aitor said Mou’s absence was due to a family issue. He also reassured everyone that “at first glance, Benzema doesn’t have anything serious.” Karim and Gonzalo came in for praise, with Aitor adding, “it’s not normal for them to play together, but they can play together.” And when questioned why Álvaro Arbeloa wasn’t called up for this game, Aitor responded, “he wasn’t called up because Mou spoke with him and saw that he wasn’t in top condition. Only 18 players can be called up for each game, and they have to be those in the best condition.”
That is a totally Xabi-esque outfit.
ELEVEN. Other notes.
I have to mention the Granada fans who were at the Bernabéu (apparently, there were about 10,000 of them), because I haven’t seen such passionate and ardent support in a long time. They didn’t stop singing, cheering and chanting during the entire game, and continued for about five to 10 minutes after the game had ended! Many Madrid fans showed their sympathy for Granada, while there was also a sign from the Peña Madridista de Baza in support of José Callejón, who is from Motril (located in the province of Granada, as is Baza). By the way, the Granada players took advantage of their free morning to check out the rebajas – quite a few of them came back with bags from that footballer favorite brand, Dolce & Gabbana (I guess the likes of Karim, Cris, Mesut and Ángel haven’t had a chance to go yet, or else the store would have been emptied out already).
Prior to the game, Iker received the “most healthy” player award for the 2010-11 season from Sanitas (he won it through a fan vote). I’m glad they presented it before the game, because I still remember that outfit Iker wore to pick up the award last season, and I’m glad this photo doesn’t hurt my eyes.
Other things: Madrid’s FB page gave us a vintage poster advertising a game between Madrid and Granada from Feb. 19, 1961. And Iker gave us this picture of him having Cola Cao for breakfast.
P.S. Espanyol’s goalscorer on Sunday was Álvaro Vázquez, who is quite adorable. Check out his twitter profile pic – lovely eyes, no? He reminds of my friend Kiko, who unfortunately is a culé (we’ve had many disagreements). And the back of Álvaro isn’t bad either! Plus, I love him because he’s also quite a prolific scorer with La Rojita!