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all set for Barcelona!

January 18, 2012

It’s time for yet another (!) clásico, this time in the Copa del Rey round of eight.  And we’re doing things a bit differently this time as opposed to previous games, because an overnight concentración wasn’t required prior to this game (it’s because this is the first home game since the team won five consecutive games [Ponfe, Sevilla, Ponfe, Málaga, Granada], and so they were given this “reward”).  In addition, Madrid trained the morning of the game, and the list of called-up players wasn’t revealed until game day, and when it was, there was no surprise, because Mou called up the entire squad, plus Tomás Mejías from Castilla.

Polar opposites: one’s hair is plastered down, and the other has it sticking straight up.

Madrid returned to training on Monday morning, after receiving Sunday off.  Hamit Altintop returned to the group, after missing out on the last session due to neck pains.  That meant that 21 footballers from the first team were available for the session.

Sami Khedira remained absent, and there was a new absentee – Pepe, who has a bruise to his left quadriceps and so he did not train.  The web site says he’s receiving physical therapy and medical treatment.  Why can’t the sick bay ever empty out completely?  Anyway, they were joined by two canteranos, Tomás Mejías and Josep Señé (RMC), with the latter watched over by Aitor Karanka.

The team trained again on Tuesday, this time behind closed doors.  There was someone who managed to get inside the gates of Valdebebas though, and that was Guti!  Sergio tweeted this photo of him and his fellow fashion disaster (Guti’s belt is very Sergio as well) former teammate, writing, “I leave you all with a photo of the great Guti… a stellar visit at Valdebebas this morning.  There’s no one else like you, 14!!”  Let’s hope Sergio doesn’t start growing facial hair like José María…

On Wednesday, the team trained at the Bernabéu (it was cold!) before heading to the team hotel.  Can’t wait to see how the stadium will look tonight!

José Mourinho also gave a press conference on Tuesday.  As usual, he had some points to get across, and he did so using very memorable language, so it’s become one of those legendary press conferences.  Here are my favorite parts.

on his line-up options: if Ramos plays as a right back, I’m going to be criticized because he’s a phenomenon as a centerback.  If Fábio plays as a right back, I’m going to be criticized because he’s left-footed and can’t play as a right back.  If Lassana plays as a right back, I’m going to be criticized because without Khedira, Lassana has to play in the midfield.  If Pepe plays as a centerback, I’m going to be criticized because he has to play in the midfield.  But if I put Pepe in the midfield, I’ll be criticized because he has to play as a centerback.  If we play with the trivote, I’m going to be criticized because we have to attack.  If we play in an attacking formation, I’ll be criticized and told that we need to play with the trivote and more defensively.  If Higuaín plays, I’ll be criticized because Benzema is not playing and he’s in a fantastic moment.  And if Benzema plays, I’ll be criticized because Higuaín, who played a pivotal role against Mallorca, is not playing.  That’s why it will be better if you [the journalist who asked the question] and I go to the movies tomorrow and when the game ends, we’ll know the result.  Do we agree?

on Cristiano Ronaldo: I’ve spent a year and a half with Cristiano and he’s scored I don’t know how many goals, how many hat tricks… We won a title with one of his goals.  But you know which of his games I liked the most?  The second half against Mallorca.   A player who is used to being the star, against Mallorca, although he didn’t play well, he worked like an animal, in the second half he did everything the team needed.  He recovered balls and he was exhausted at the end of the game from so much work.  That day, I said, “fantastic!”  The team was above everything else…  I told him after the game that working as he had in the second half that no one will touch him.  And if any of you wants to touch him, we’re going to have a problem, because I won’t let you.  Because someone who has worked the way he has does not have to score goals, does not have to be the man of the match.  Working like that, no one will touch him.

Then there was this exchange between one journalist and Mou.

Antón Meana (Radio Marca): do you think there is a lot at stake for you tomorrow as a coach because you’re a winner, because you’ve beaten Barça in an elimination round with Inter?  Is there a lot at stake for José Mourinho as a coach tomorrow?

Mou: what do you think?

Meana: I think there is a lot at stake.

Mou: how many titles do I have to win so that nothing will be at stake?  Thirty?

Meana: no, it’s not that.  I believe that tomorrow, there is a lot at stake for you as a coach in this elimination round.  That’s my opinion.

Mou: and I’ll ask you, how many do you think I need to have won so that my life or my career wouldn’t be at stake in a game in a elimination round?

Meana: no, my question is…

Mou: no, my question is for you.  How many titles do you think I have to win?

Meana: nothing more, you’re a great coach.

Mou: thank you.  So there’s nothing at play.  This game is like any other one.   What is at play in each game is my own personal satisfaction, my personal happiness, whether I’ll be happy or sad on Thursday.  That’s what is at stake on Wednesday.  Against Bilbao, what’s at stake for me is whether I’m happy or sad on Monday, whether I’m content with myself and my team, or whether I’m frustrated or sad.  Absolutely nothing else is at play.

All answers that have become instant classics, no?  Mou also said that Ángel di María would be called up for the game, although he hasn’t recovered as well as expected, and that Ricardo Carvalho is about to reappear, as he’s needed in January, due to some players having accumulated four yellow cards.

Random things: check out the video Madrid’s web site posted to celebrate Álvaro Arbeloa’s 29th birthday (Jan. 17 – that’s why he loves the number 17).   There’s some great footage of Álvaro playing with Castilla, including a shirtless Alvarito hugging FP, and his debut with Madrid (it’s Álvaro Mejía!).  And of course, that segment with the future Cristiano, the adorable Gaspar of Palma, is included.

Speaking of Palma, here are more moments with Dimonío, including Gonzalo Higuaín calling him an ox, and the expression of glee on Esteban Granero’s face.

Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane and wife Veronique (before there was a Xabi & Nagore, there was already a Zinedine & Veronique, and all the same adjectives can be used to describe them – classy, elegant, etc.) were in Geneva to attend the IWC Top Gun Gala Event.

And to finish, statistics from Mister Chip.

– Madrid and Barça have played 216 official games.  Madrid has won 86 times and Barcelona has won 85 times.  If Barça wins tonight, they will be equal for the first time in 79 years.

– the two teams have faced each other 28 times in the Copa.  For Madrid, the record has been 10-5-13.  The first game was on March 26, 1916 (Barça won 2-1).

– the first title that Madrid and Barcelona disputed in a direct way was the final of the Copa in 1936.  In that game, there was one of the best stops ever made in Spanish football.  With Madrid leading 2-1 and six minutes left, Zamora stopped a shot from Escolá with an almost improbable dive.

– Santiago Bernabéu is the only player that has scored three or more goals in two Copa clásicos: he scored three on April 2, 1916 and four 11 days later.  Paulino Alcántara, Samitier, Pruden, Barinaga and Eulogio Martínez have also scored hat tricks.  The last hat trick (Eulogio Martínez) was 55 years ago.

– Barça has not won a Copa game in the Bernabéu against Madrid since July 11, 1968.  Madrid has won twice (1970 and 1974) and tied twice (1993 and 1997).

– the team that plays the first leg game at home has a slight disadvantage.  In the 22 double game elimination rounds between the two clubs, whoever plays the second game at home has qualified 64 percent of the time (14 out of 22).  However, in the last four Copa elimination rounds (1962, 1970, 1993, 1997), the one who started at home has passed on.

– Madrid has started 14 double game elimination rounds against Barcelona at home (seven in the Copa, three in the Champions League, three in the Supercopa de España and one in the Copa de la Liga).  They qualified six times (43 percent) and were eliminated eight times (57 percent).  In the Copa, it’s more balanced – three qualifications for Madrid (1962, 1970, 1993) and four for Barcelona (1926, 1954, 1957, 1959).

– José Callejón and Leo Messi are the most effective players this season.  Calleti scores a goal every 75 minutes and Messi 76.  The players who rank third, fourth and fifth will also be at the game: Higuaín (85′), Cristiano (94′) and Benzema (101′).

– Pep Guardiola will become the third coach to celebrate his birthday with a clásico, and also the third to do it in an away game.  Enrique Orizaola lost 3-2 in the Bernabéu during his 39th birthday (March 26, 1961) while Bernd Schuster got a wonderful 48th birthday present in the form of a 1-0 win at the Camp Nou on Dec. 23, 2007.

– Madrid has nine consecutive wins in the Copa, their longest streak for elimination rounds.

Because every post needs it, The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

Plus, a little note from me: I’m going to be quite busy in the upcoming weeks (new project at work), so I don’t know how often I’ll be able to post during the next few weeks.  I just wanted to alert you, in case you thought that I had been arrested following this weekend’s Real Madrid-Athletic game (which is a real possibility, because as you know, Javi Martínez (!!!!!!!!!!!) will be at the Bernabéu).

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55 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    January 18, 2012 14:11

    You cracked me up with the last part, good luck Una with the project!

    Hala Madrid, I am tired of this, but I want win in Bernabeu, it been long, very very long my team since we did it 😦

  2. noviana noor aisyiah permalink
    January 18, 2012 14:27

    oohhhh unaaaa 😦 please comeback soon. but goodluck for your project!!!

  3. noviana noor aisyiah permalink
    January 18, 2012 14:28

    and why ramos and ozil always act like they’re kungfu fighter? :p

  4. conflictedinspain permalink
    January 18, 2012 14:44

    Here’s to fair play, an exciting match, and some beautiful footy! Thanks for each and every post Una.

  5. Marie permalink
    January 18, 2012 15:05

    Mou’s comments about protecting Cris are so lovely! He gets entirely too much undeserved criticism from the media. Thanks for another one of your wonderful posts!

  6. January 18, 2012 15:12

    Loved the Mou “quotes” and the Statistics .. Lovely post. Keep em coming 🙂

  7. Ally permalink
    January 18, 2012 15:34

    hahaha, I love your final sentence 😀 will you go to the game and see Javi in person?

  8. January 18, 2012 16:18

    Thanks for this lovely post Una. We’ll miss you for the next couple of weeks. *hugs*

    As for the match, I’m fed up of playing Barca. Absolutely fed up. It’s a pity that we are playing them so often because now it’s honestly become a case of overkill.

    That being said, I’m glad we have Mou for a coach and that I hope we kick ass tonight. HALA MADRID!

  9. Alyssa permalink
    January 18, 2012 16:38

    Thank you so much for making that photo of Sergio and Granero so huge! I don’t usually click them but I’m glad I did this time! Stared at Sergio’s face for about 5 minutes haha.

    “And if any of you wants to touch him, we’re going to have a problem, because I won’t let you.”. It may be because I’m an emotional wreck on clásico days but this gives me chills.

    Most importantly today, HASTA EL FINAL, VAMOS REAL!

  10. January 18, 2012 16:42

    mou’s interview, like this post, is ace! 🙂 good luck with your new project at work, una.

  11. amouria permalink
    January 18, 2012 17:00

    I am sure, Una, that if we win this game, you will not leave us alone, you will then write one of your greatest posts.
    We will miss you!!
    Blesses to you and I dare to say…many hugs, i really feel a sort of a strong bond with you, may be stronger than many other bonds 🙂

  12. Happy permalink
    January 18, 2012 17:20

    Who is Ramos playing with??
    I like Veronique, how elegant she is~

  13. January 18, 2012 18:01

    ROTFL @ Mou’s presser. Thanks for that translation. That poor reporter is probably having post traumatic flashbacks today.

  14. Rose permalink
    January 18, 2012 18:45

    Thanks for the roundup Una! Hope you get lots of Javi (!!!!!) action this weekend, but don’t get in too much trouble!

  15. Iram permalink
    January 18, 2012 19:41

    thanks una for this post. i enjoyed reading all the barca-RM facts. I hope ur project goes successful 🙂

  16. amouria permalink
    January 18, 2012 20:08

    No man in this world has the charm of Mourinho…my god,

  17. mel permalink
    January 18, 2012 23:30

    I ❤ Mou!!!!! He's the most awesome person in the world IMO!!

  18. January 19, 2012 04:35

    good luck with your project, una. 🙂

    that guti-sergio photo … looks like the current second capi is emulating the former second capi in every way! although, all things considered, they could have looked MUCH worse.

    how adorable is granero!? love him fighting with the mascot!

    who would win in an elegance-off: nagore & xabi or zizou & veronique?!

    i don’t understand albiol’s hair. it used to look beatlesque, now it just looks sort of helmet-y. por que?!

  19. January 19, 2012 16:26

    jajajaja, the last part of the blog!!!!!!!if you are arrested, I’ll come to the rescue to defend you! ;-))) enjoy the new project at work, btw;-)

    I read this after the match, so I cannot not mention it -I am quite dissapointed, but it could have been worse. As I said many times before, I am still tired with clasicos, from the last season, so I was emotionally able to watch only the second half. As Mou would say, today is Thursday, no matter if they would won or not, the next day comes and it is now important to look forward to the future. When they will finally win, the joy would be even greater, because of those losses.

    and we, we can focus on Sunday, because fine Basque team is coming to town!!!seriously, I can;t wait for this match. also because I want to see UnaMadridista on TV – not getting arrested of course, but in some more lovely scenery -like -I don;t know – Javi running towards a girl in the stands to hug her or something like that;-))

  20. January 20, 2012 02:00

    Will miss you and the comments. Lets hope by the time you return we are 8 points ahead in La Liga… 🙂
    Have fun at work

  21. January 22, 2012 04:19

    I’m missing your response to the latest Classico. Can’t wait to see what you have to say…

  22. Abbe permalink
    January 22, 2012 07:00

    Where are you! We miss you!

  23. January 23, 2012 17:26

    no post from five days … I take you’ve been arrested 😛

  24. Johan E permalink
    January 23, 2012 18:02

    Hi una, I love you and your site and have been following it for a long time now.
    I had a question about Nuri Sahin, you seem to have many answers I can’t find anywhere else.
    Is there any talk about why he has such low confidence from Mourinho? Mou mentioned it being that Sahin did not take part in the pre-season, but are there any more factors that you might know of or that are talked about in Spain? I’d love to see him get a chance.
    Thanks!

    Johan

  25. Nas permalink
    January 24, 2012 00:47

    Hope you are having a great work week!!!

    Just wanted to send a quick note and say I miss you!!!

    Was that you that attacked Javi on the field during the game?? hahaha JK 😉

  26. Soñando con Dios permalink
    January 24, 2012 19:13

    Una, I have to say I miss your posts so much! I hope your project is going and well and that you are back to blogging soon! Have fun.

  27. Janice.G.M permalink
    January 24, 2012 22:43

    Unaaa Where are you! We miss you alot! No posts in about 6 days.
    😦

  28. Jen permalink
    January 25, 2012 01:23

    Una!!

    I know you’re super busy, but I’m selfishly saying PLEASE COME BACK!! There’s too much craziness going on and we’d all love your perspective on all of it. 🙂

    Eagerly looking forward to your post!

  29. January 25, 2012 13:24

    Oh, I miss you UnaMadridista!

    Without your blog, all I have is the press, which is going crazy these days, about Mou especially. I tried reading different papers but I am lost about what is really going on so I decided to not follow the press anymore and let the game speak and wait until you have more time to write. Trolls, trolls everywhere! I miss your honest opinion about the situation (and also, the report about Javi at Bernabeu!;-)))

    Ciao!

  30. amouria permalink
    January 25, 2012 16:51

    Oh, it is really really boring without you Una…please come back! we have immense amount of challenges. Lets share our sorrows and (hopefully) our victories. we love you 🙂

  31. Mouah permalink
    January 25, 2012 18:37

    Please oh please, if you ever find time, make us a post about that Real Madrid-Athletic Bilbao game !!!! It was epic ! The post doesn’t even have to be as good as usual, but just for us to have a glimpse of paradise 😀 I can only imagine the magnificent gifs that you could have in your possession. As I watched the game I was on fire !! Thank you for your hard work anyway =)

  32. Sute permalink
    January 27, 2012 12:55

    I miss your posts una! Please leave a new post soon 🙂

  33. J@nicejgm permalink
    January 28, 2012 01:52

    Oh My Goshh, Where is Una. We miss you. Come back soon

  34. Ash permalink
    January 28, 2012 07:22

    UNA, donde esta?! Two clasicos, dressing room civil war riots, Mourinho alley disputes with the ref, Marca’s mole-search madness, Pepe’s hand-stamping drama, Xavi off-camera drama and birthday cake on the field… seriously where have you been for an entire week, of all ones to have to leave us hanging! These things are way less exciting (and clear, since I’ve had to rely on Spanish articles) when we’re missing your witty commentary 🙂 Hope you return asap and fill us in!

  35. January 30, 2012 14:46

    o, how I miss you UnaMadridista! I know you are busy, but I miss the blog!!! I check it few times a day to see if it’s back!!!

    The day the new entry appears will be as happy as the day when Iker would get rid of one of his under-yellow-outfit layers! ;-)))

  36. Max permalink
    January 30, 2012 15:55

    Miss you UNA!

  37. January 30, 2012 16:49

    We miss you Una! We didn’t realize how much this site really meant before we started missing your updates! Hope you’re doing well and will be back soon!

  38. January 30, 2012 20:43

    I miss you Una. I keep coming back here hoping to see that you’ve posted, but ah well. Hope things are going well for you on your end. *hugs*

  39. mokia permalink
    January 31, 2012 05:54

    Okay Una, Ive had it! We need you back!! By the way, Can we see a picture of you?? Am I the only one who wonders who is behind these great posts haha

  40. Joyce Nyakato permalink
    January 31, 2012 15:20

    miss u ma dear..keep refreshing this page veryday and nothing. very sad

  41. Cosi permalink
    January 31, 2012 20:19

    WE MISS YOU UNAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

  42. Sara permalink
    January 31, 2012 23:52

    Una, please come back soon!!!!!! I seriously check your blog several times a day, I miss your amazing blog along with your witty, funny, perfect comments.

  43. Lucia permalink
    February 1, 2012 00:50

    Una please come back!! I miss your blog so bad!

  44. Kristen permalink
    February 1, 2012 01:03

    Una I am dying without you!! Can’t wait until you come back. Hope all is well with the work projects.

  45. Ploy permalink
    February 1, 2012 07:08

    I miss you unamadridista.

  46. Mariam permalink
    February 1, 2012 18:32

    I compulsively check this blog every couple of hours eagerly awaiting your next post.. Hope the project is going well, come back soon porfaaa

  47. amouria permalink
    February 2, 2012 00:26

    Just tell us when will you be back dear Una? 🙂

  48. Soñando con Dios permalink
    February 2, 2012 13:19

    Una, it’s kind of funny that a few months ago you were thinking about quitting your blog because you thought nobody was reading it, when the truth is that we all love and miss your posts so very much and can’t wait for you to get back to writing again!

  49. February 2, 2012 16:19

    Una – the masses have spoken… We are All Set for Una’s Next Post.

  50. February 2, 2012 23:53

    Early anticipating your return Una!

  51. Unafan permalink
    February 3, 2012 11:51

    Hey..where are you, Una. Have you been stomped off by Pepe the Barbarian as well?

  52. February 4, 2012 04:00

    una please post soon … miss them a lot

  53. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    February 4, 2012 09:57

    We really miss you…

  54. Rich permalink
    February 4, 2012 15:02

    i usually dont post but read religiously. Hope all is going well with you and looking forward to your return. Your perspective on all things madrid is well missed. the team is doing well and i hope you are watching and enjoying it all as well. come back soon. For now, i will just continue to enjoy the old posts.

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