ICYMI – the déjà vu edition
In case you missed it – Mallorca vs. Real Madrid [2012-01-14, Liga jornada 19, 1-2].
I’m getting a sense of déjà vu. Once again, the game went: a terrible first half, changes at the half that changed the game, a comeback win. Let’s see if we can dominate our next game from the very start, no? By the way, with this win, Madrid becomes the “winter champions,” but as that’s only an honorary title, I don’t want to make too much out of it, but it’s still nice to see Madrid “crowned” (since we’re already royal) that for the first time in four seasons.
ONE. A trip to the Iberostar means… a visit from Dimonió! The Mallorca mascot was in fine form on Saturday, doing his best to poke everyone on Madrid’s bench, from Fábio Coentrão to Esteban Granero and even José Mourinho!
Several of them fought back – look how hard El Pirata tried to win the pitchfork tug of war! He even played dirty by aiming a kick at Dimonió. Meanwhile, Kaká was all like, I’m not having any of that, I’m too religious and he’s the devil!
TWO. The Spaniards – plus Gonzalo Higuaín, I guess because there were no Argentines for him to talk to, and we all know how much he likes talking – checked out the grass prior to the game, and listened to Xabi talk. He even poses during these moments!
More pre-game moments. Iker warming up, and showing off his new gloves and boots. Now that the matchy-matchy yellowish ones are gone, I kind of miss them.
I don’t think I like the orange accents. They would have matched with his kit from two seasons ago, though. I wonder if Iker feels any difference (for the fit, not the color)?
Meanwhile, Cris received hugs and high fives from his teammates, while Álvaro Arbeloa warmed up by jumping up and down, and José Callejón by looking confused.
THREE. Madrid once again had to make a comeback (they must get pleasure from making us suffer), and was once again helped by the halftime substitutions. This time, it was Gonzalo Higuaín coming in the half. In the 45 minutes he was on the field, he scored the equalizing goal, and then started the play that led to the winning goal.
José Callejón scored the goal winner, which prompted everyone on the bench to stand up and cheer, except José Mourinho, as you’ll see later on.
Calleti was mobbed by his teammates, including those on the bench. Even Xabi got a little wild, and it looked like he wanted to prolong the celebration by not letting go. And don’t miss Cris wagging his finger.
FOUR. During that moment in the 85th minute, with the goal, José Mourinho received a warning for the following reason: “he left the technical area, going onto the field, to give instructions to one of his players.” At the same time, Rui Faria also received a warning for “leaving the technical area, going onto the field to celebrate a goal” (these are what the referee wrote in the acta). Rui Faria is the new Sergio Ramos! He gets cards and warnings left and right!
FIVE. In addition to the comeback, this game will be remembered for that “papelito,” the instructions mentioned in point FOUR. Right after José Callejón’s goal, Mou jumped up from the bench and while everyone was celebrating, called Pepe over to him, and showed him a little piece of paper that he had written and folded earlier. They had a little discussion…
… and then Pepe ran off, paper in hand, to show it to Callejón and Higuaín…
… while Mou continued barking out directions. He also spoke with Xabi (who looked muy jefe during the conversation, no?). It turns out that at the beginning of the second half, Mou had changed his tactics for a more offensive line-up, with three defenders, to try and seek the comeback. Once that was achieved, he wanted to go back to four defenders (Callejón joining Pepe, Sergio and Fábio) in order to preserve the lead.
This is the previous tactic, so we can only assume that the new one looks a bit like this. I find it interesting that some people are referred to by their initials, while others get their full names or a combination of letters in their first or last names.
Anyway, it appears that Pepe was the one responsible for informing everyone, because then he went to talk with Mesut, Kaká and Karim Benzema, showing them the paper. Once all that was accomplished, he stowed the papelito in his sock. That seems to be a bit of a custom, no? Esteban Granero had done the same late last season against Zaragoza. That time, unfortunately, the change in tactics didn’t bear fruit.
After the game, when Mou was asked about it in the press conference, he explained, “I had a paper prepared for if we were to score a second goal. We were playing quite riskily, and if we scored, I was going to change the way we were playing. I have a lot of experience and I know that in those emotional moments, in the last minutes, it’s very difficult to pass on the message that you want, and so that was what the paper was for, with Callejón as the right fullback and with Karim open on the right, the changes we would make to return to a more balanced style of play.”
SIX. These moments made me laugh. José Callejón tried to get his point across by trying to head butt a Mallorca player, as that hair can probably do serious damage (José the porcupine!). Meanwhile, Cris told off the referee.
SEVEN. I just have to say once again that I love the white kits. And your thoughts on Kaká taking styling tips from Cristiano? My reaction is horror!
EIGHT. I knew things would turn around in the second half, once I saw these scenes of the players as they waited for the whistle to blow: Cris confidently winking, and Gonzalo Higuaín’s butt.
NINE. More scenes: Iker’s pissed face after the goal, the entire bench having to retreat to the bench area per the referee’s command late in the game…
… and Sergio matching his headband to the accents on his kit.
TEN. The two teams got into a little shoving match near the end of the game. Mesut looked like he wanted to get involved, or at least defend Karim, but he was just too much of a Bambi. In the end, Pepe and Sergio – two players who are probably known more for their tempers and at times irrational acts – played peacemaker, with Pepe pulling Cris away and Sergio separating the players. Kaká, meanwhile, was like I’ll halfheartedly stroll over just in case they need me, but please God don’t let me have to get involved, oh good, it’s over.
ELEVEN. The boys looking handsome on the bench, and I loved this moment when the substitutes were so engrossed in the action that they stopped warming up.
TWELVE. Iker had the nice gesture of giving his jersey away to a fan who had held up a sign asking for it. I know what sign I’m going to hold up next – I’m going to ask Iker for his under layer! Genius, no?
THIRTEEN. After the game, José Callejón made me proud when he told the media, “the goal is the least important thing. The most important things are the hard work and the team. We all contribute, both those who weren’t called up as well as those of us who are here.” Meanwhile, Gonzalo Higuaín said he was “very happy for the goal and for the very important victory.” He also called Mourinho “a born motivator” for firing up the team at the half, although he wouldn’t reveal what was said.
FOURTEEN. Even if Madrid hadn’t won the game, Xabi would have come away a winner for the posing he did during the game. We got a variety of fierce stares…
… and we also got to see Xabi being his normal, muy jefe self. By the way, on the left, he’s saying, “campo de mierda” in reference to the state of the field at the Iberostar.
Bonus Xabi, because he looks fantastic from the back too!
FIFTEEN. The Mou and Karanka corner. Mou didn’t say anything interesting during the post-game press conference, other than explaining the papelito, so I’ll leave you with Aitor’s look of surprise on Friday evening, and Mou being very, very involved in the game.
SIXTEEN. Other notes.
The team wore black armbands in memory of Miljan Miljanic (what a great name, no?). Madrid’s former coach (1974-77) passed away earlier this week at the age of 81. During his time in charge, the team won two Ligas and a Copa del Rey.
Sergio tweeted a couple of times after the game, once to say that everyone was “contentísimos” with the win and the “súper importantes” three points, and again to praise his former coach Joaquín Caparrós, tweeting, “Grande ‘Míster'” (again, with the quotation marks!). The final tweet was to give us this picture of him and the goalscorers, “Pipeti y Calleti.” Awww, their names match! P.S. The little head between Gonzalo and José is kind of scary.
Meanwhile, via Facebook, Iker made fun of those who made fun of his orthography errors. I love it! Vaya caraja que yevo!!! And he also remembered Miljan Miljanic. Grande Iker. And Guti had this lovely tweet, “how happy it made me yesterday that with so many great players, the one that gave Madrid three points was a canterano, ¡grande CALLEJÓN!” I feel the same!
And the Three Musketeers gave us this photo of them at the hotel on Saturday. According to Cris, Pepe’s phone was used to take the picture.
SEVENTEEN. Over in Castilla, Jorge Casado posted this photo of him and Denis, saying, “our hotel room is very welcoming!! Jejejeje.” That was in Gijón, where the team had traveled to take on Sporting B. Castilla ended up winning that game 3-1 thanks to a doblete from MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín and one from Jorge Casado. This gave our team their sixth consecutive away win, and three more points to solidify their lead in their group, which is now at three. And no one got sent off! Yay! Jorge celebrated his goal by kissing his shinguards, which have his name (J. Casado), that of his mother (Angelines), his father (Ángel) and his brother (Roberto). There is also the Spanish flag, as well as that of Extremadura, as both his parents are from there, though Jorge considers himself a madrileño.