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all set for Málaga!

January 10, 2012

Hopefully, our team will play a good first half tonight, in their Copa del Rey round of 16 vuelta match against Málaga (22h) and no comeback will be required!

Last night, our boys prepared for the game by having a nice cup of tea before bedtime.  Iker, Sergio and Kaká all posted/tweeted this photo (below is Kaká’s Instagram version) from yesterday of, in Iker’s words, “Portuguese, Brazilians and Spaniards having tea before going to bed… together but not in each other’s pockets…”  Sergio called it a “great photo” and said it’s for “all those who say that Cris is no longer smiling.”  (In my opinion, it would be impossible for Cris not to smile when Marcelo Sunshine is around!)

Meanwhile, Iker once again showed how much he likes playing with other people’s ears, and I love how they all have their arms around each other.  Other notable tweets from yesterday: Xabi telling us that “2012 appears to have brought changes, we’re listening to The Beatles on the bus.”  Have Sergio and/or Marcelo been demoted as the DJs?  I would have thought that this could be the work of Esteban Granero, but since he didn’t even travel with the team, who are The Beatles fans?  Poor Esteban, just when they finally start listening to music he actually likes, he can’t hear it.  And Fernando Pacheco also tweeted yesterday to Álvaro Vázquez, “Grande Alvarito… you deserve it, a hug.”

On Tuesday, Madrid trained for the last time before tonight’s game.  Twenty-three footballers took part in the session, with Ángel di María remaining the only absent player as he’s still recovering from his right thigh injury, and Jesús joining the first team.

It may look like a runway, but it’s not.

Twenty of them were called up for the game.  Di María misses out due to injury, Ricardo Carvalho is still getting back in shape, and Nuri Sahin and Esteban Granero did not make it due to the coach’s decision.  Álvaro Arbeloa, Fábio Coentrão and Pepe – who has recovered from his injury – rejoin the team after missing out on the last call-up.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Jesús.

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

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

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema.

José Mourinho spoke to the press prior to the training session, and there were some things he wanted to clear up.  Regarding Álvaro Arbeloa’s absence from the previous game, Mou explained, “I read that I had punished Arbeloa.  There was no punishment.  If an agreement between a coach and a player – who have a great, mutually confident relationship – is regarded as a punishment, then you all are mistaken.  We spoke.  During the vacation, he underwent a procedure on two of his teeth and that weakened him.  He came back weak because it wasn’t an easy procedure and he didn’t play especially well against Málaga.  The two of us spoke and we came to the conclusion that he should work to be ready for the second-leg game against Málaga.  It has nothing to do with a punishment.  He’ll play tomorrow.”  Coentrão’s absence was explained as, “I wanted to give opportunities to others.  If he doesn’t show up in the medical report, it’s because he’s not injured.”

And I loved his response to a question on Cristiano Ronaldo being whistled at by some fans in the Bernabéu and not celebrating his goal: “I think what’s more relevant and important is that he did celebrate the goals with which the game was won, the first, the second, the third.  We didn’t win the game with the fifth goal.  He celebrated the ones that were important.  The fifth goal was not relevant, it was in the 90th minute when we were winning by four.  If a player is to be criticized for not celebrating a goal, then I should be criticized as well because I didn’t celebrate any of the five goals.”  I agree completely.

Mou also downplayed the importance of the five-point lead, which I also agree with.  While it makes me smile each time I think about it, I prefer to be cautious.

The team then traveled to Málaga.

At the Barceló hotel, Cris and Fábio Coentrão met up with the fans in the usual fan session, signing shirts, posters, scarves, hats, balls and even a man’s arm (in Cris’ case).

Due to this trip and the game on Tuesday, neither the players nor José Mourinho were able to travel to Zurich for the FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony.  Instead, we were represented by Zinedine Zidane and Emilio Butragueño, and there were other former madridistas on hand, such as Ronaldo or Christian Karembeu.  Cris ended up second in the Ballon d’Or voting and Mou third in the coach of the year award, while Iker, Sergio, Xabi and Cris also made it onto the FIFA/FIFPro World XI ideal starting XI.  This was the fourth consecutive time Iker was honored in this way, and the fifth consecutive time for Cris.  It was also Sergio’s second appearance, after 2008, and Xabi’s first.  They showed a taped message from our boys to make up for their absence, with Xabi acting as the spokesperson.

He said, “We apologize for not being able to be part of such a special night for the football family and FIFA, but we have our work to do tomorrow in Málaga.  We are honored to be part of the 2011, part of the squad and we would like to greet all those ones that voted for Cristiano, for Iker, for Sergio and for myself, and hope that you enjoy that special night.  Thank you.  Bye bye.”  Yes, he really did say “bye bye.”

Behind him, Sergio looked blank, Iker nodded several times (they looked like Xabi’s bodyguards) and Cristiano aimed a smile at the camera.  When Xabi said “bye bye,” the others chimed in, and Sergio did a thumbs up, while Iker and Cris waved, as you can see.  That was their contribution to the video.  I wish they had made Iker or Sergio speak English!  I would have forced Iker to write his own speech, and not allow him any help so that he would have to use Google Translate to turn it into English.  That would have livened up the ceremony, no?  Zizou and El Buitre were called up onto the stage to accept the awards on behalf of our boys.

By the way, both Iker and Hamit Altintop proved to be good teammates.  As captains of their national teams, they got to vote for the Ballon d’Or winner.  Iker had Cris as his first choice and Mesut as his second, while Hamit chose Cris as his first choice and Mesut as his third.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Pipita permalink
    January 10, 2012 10:12

    Another madridista was also present, the one and only Hugo Sanchez!

  2. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    January 10, 2012 10:27

    Awww Too many ex-madridista, Hugo!!!!
    I think the only reason why Alonso said “bye bye” so it will be a que for the others to join in
    Iker, Cris and Ramos to Xabi ‘ say bye bye, so we know when we will wave and gives them our thumbs up’

    I love that there is 4 players from our team in best XI!! Me gusta, Hala Madrid!!! for today, part of me doesn’t want another 2 clasicos, but of course I always want win. Kay Murray representing the RMTV in the ceremony, that was awesome!!

  3. Real Warda permalink
    January 10, 2012 11:28

    the first photo is kinda weird. 😛 By the way it is definitely impossible not to smile when macelo sunshine is around!
    Congratulations to Alonso,Ramos, Ronaldo, Iker for being voted for the fifa world eleven. Its really great. 🙂

  4. January 10, 2012 13:08

    una do u mind if i share ur posts on Facebook, do you?

  5. Gabriela permalink
    January 10, 2012 15:43

    hahaha Fábio’s face is so starstruck when Cristiano was signing the man’s arm! He looks like he’s thinking “I wonder if he’d sign mine too”.

    I wonder why Sahin is being descartado too… “out due to coaching decisions” always sounds like “I hate these guys!” for me ):

  6. January 10, 2012 15:55

    I do hope for a great win today!!!!

    In the meantime, Thierry Henry’s miracle comeback yesterday inspired me to hope that one day Raul will be back in Madrid, to score a goal. Oh dreams.

  7. January 10, 2012 15:56

    Hey I love the pictures you put on the blog with the team at training and stuff. Where do you get all this photos from?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      January 12, 2012 08:56

      Mostly from Madrid’s web site.

  8. Vix permalink
    January 10, 2012 17:19

    The hilarity that would ensue if Iker writes his speech with the help of google translate is priceless!

  9. January 10, 2012 19:40

    The idea of Iker using Google translate for a speech made my day (and made me spit out my tea all over my keyboard!)- Thanks, I needed that!

  10. January 10, 2012 20:55

    The Beatles! Such a great improvement! I wonder which songs did they listen to.

  11. Jenny permalink
    January 11, 2012 00:42

    That was lovely of Iker and Hamit!

    I love that first photo. Where are the boys getting these terrible cameras from? It must be their phones – the eyes never turn out.

    But at least it makes us smile because it’s hilarious how these photos turn out.

  12. FootballLover permalink
    January 11, 2012 00:52

    Question! Since Cris is Captain of his National team, does he get to vote for the Ballon d’Or winner?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      January 12, 2012 08:58

      Nuno Gomes voted for Portugal.

  13. jas permalink
    January 11, 2012 02:15

    xabi kicking the cooler with so much class… (faints)

  14. futbolfan permalink
    January 11, 2012 05:34

    Ahhh! I love that first pic!
    And Una, do you know any links to the vid our boys made?

    Also who did Cris vote for?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      January 12, 2012 09:00

      Nuno Gomes voted for Portugal.

  15. Marie permalink
    January 11, 2012 15:26

    When I saw Sergio thumbs up in that video I immediately thought of you! And makes sense Arbeloa was off his game; getting your wisdom teeth out can be pretty awful.

  16. January 11, 2012 15:40

    My iphone has a red eye eraser. Perhaps these gentlemen need to become familiar with this function.

  17. Greta permalink
    January 11, 2012 23:36

    Hey Una! Here’s Greta again. Sorry for the long time I took to translate the Schalke song about Raúl.
    At first, I have to say, that I’m so sorry for the way, they pronounce his name – it’s horrible xD (And so is the music…)
    So here are the German lyrics, I could sound out:

    Señor Raúl spielt wie, wie immer nur, wie immer nur,
    Señor Raúl, in unserer Fußballgarnitur!
    Señor Raúl spielt wie, wie immer nur, immer nur,
    Señor Raúl, in unserer Fußballgarnitur!

    Er kam aus dem Königreich,
    machte Schalkefans der Freude reich!
    Alle Schalker, die zum Spiel hingehen, zum Spiel hingehen,
    möchten ihren Señor immer zaubern sehen!
    Alle Schalker, die zum Spiel hingehen, zum Spiel hingehen,
    möchten ihren Señor immer zaubern sehn!

    Kam auf Schalke als Prophet,
    der uns zeigte, wie das Siegen geht!
    Und aus all der schönen Championsnacht, ja Championsnacht
    hat er öfter auch ein Traumtor gemacht!
    Und aus all der schönen Championsnacht, ja Championsnacht
    hat er öfter auch ein Traumtor gemacht!

    And here is my translation… I’m not sure about the English, so if you find any mistakes, I’m sorry 🙂

    Señor Raúl plays as, as always only, as always only,
    Señor Raúl, in our football jersey!
    Señor Raúl plays as, as always only, as always only,
    Señor Raúl, in our football jersey!

    He came from the kingdom,
    Brought lots of happiness to the Schalke fans!
    All the Schalker, who go to the matches, who go to the matches,
    Want to see their Señor Raúl conjure magic all the time.
    All the Schalker, who go to the matches, who go to the matches,
    Want to see their Señor Raúl conjure magic all the time.

    Came to Schalke as a prophet,
    who showed us how to win!
    And out of all Champions’ nights, yes Champions’ nights,
    He made dream goals more often!
    And out of all Champions’ nights, yes Champions’ nights,
    He made dream goals more often!

    Best greetings! I love your blog! 🙂

    • unamadridista permalink*
      January 12, 2012 09:01

      Thanks Greta! What a sweet tribute!

      • Jenny permalink
        January 13, 2012 16:54

        There are no fans on earth as lovable and insane as Schalke fans. I think they were tickled when Raul essentially made this observation last year.

        At any rate – they love him like no other, and that must be a special feeling for him.

  18. Gilly B permalink
    January 12, 2012 00:04

    Una, you evil girl you! Forcing Iker to use non-Google translated English? What would the world be coming to!!

    Mou is always so practical and deadpan in his pressers 🙂

  19. January 13, 2012 05:04

    i love the demonic, children-of-the-corn photo! hilarious! but they all have such lovely smiles. and, um, iker can play with my ears any time … but yeah, we’ve seen him do this before to xavi in SNT photos, and others as well!

    if the beatles are on the bus, xabi must be DJing, no? i wonder how the others are taking to that … speaking of beatles, albiol looks like one with that haircut! good grief! what IS that thing on his head?!

    arbeloa had his wisdom teeth out, if i recall. pobrecito. painful! 😦

    LOVE mou’s response about CR7 and the fifth goal. quite right.

    at first, i couldn’t understand why xabi would be spokesperson for the group, if iker was there. but if the little speech was in english, that would explain it (although it really is a shame they didn’t let iker let loose with his “engooglish”! OMG, could you imagine?! “hello cronies! it was not easy to join this party, but it is amaysing now that i am here! a young hug to you all!” and sergio would be all proud of him because no help was going on and he did it all by himself, jajajaja!). and you’re right, sergio and iker look like xabi’s enforcers as they’re dressed identically (and both look decent, thank god — hey, maybe xabi told them they had to dress a certain way and he wouldn’t stand for anything else if he was going to make the speech?)

    i am trying very hard not to get my hopes too high up about the 5 point lead, too — although we worked very hard for it and deserve it! i only pray we can hang on to it … hala madrid!

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