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the round-up: Barcelona II

February 7, 2012

Reasons to be optimistic: Madrid played very well during their Copa del Rey round of eight vuelta game against Barcelona, and Xabi looked fantastic.  Hopefully, this game signals the beginning of a new cycle and the end of an old one, no?  (For Madrid in terms of how they play, not Xabi because he will never, ever disappoint in the area of posing.)

Jan. 23 – training.

Iker took to FB to write about his 600 games with Madrid, accompanying his post with a picture of a Seat 600 car.  He wrote, “in my case, when one looks back on the road walked on, he only has words of gratitude for all those persons that he met. It has been (for now) more than 12 years and I have to confess that I’ve experienced passionate moments.  There were some that weren’t as passionate, but those great days made up for the bad ones.  The day that I debuted when I was barely 18, my first Champions League, my first Liga, the Eurocopa, the World Cup, working to become the best one day and achieving that four consecutive times, etc…  Thank you to everyone for all that, for the long road that I have left to walk and for all the people that I’ll meet on this road, because I’ve met you all on this road…”

Meanwhile, Sergio used twitter to make clear that “whoever says the team is divided or that there are fractures is lying.  There is a great group and a great unity…”

The team trained in their first session of the week, with 17 footballers present, plus Jesús from Castilla.  Khedira and Di María were absent due to injury, while Pepe, Granero and Lass worked out inside.  Sergio was absent from the session with the permission of the club for personal reasons.

Pedro Mosquera had his first training session with Castilla since returning, and made clear that his goal is to help the team get promoted to the second division.

Speaking of canteranos, Liga BBVA spoke with Calleti number 2, José’s twin Juanmi, who is currently playing at Hércules.  In the video, we find out that the twins are eight minutes apart.  In general though, they speak, look and dress alike (it’s no wonder that they have a “feeling especial” with each other, as Juanmi describes it), although I think Juanmi’s voice is a bit less squeaky, and his hair is a bit shorter.  He also reveals that when they were younger and alone in Madrid, when one would cry, the other would start, because they missed their family.  Awwww!

And Athletic trained at field 7 of Valdebebas in an open training session (they had decided to stay in Madrid following the game to prepare for their Copa del Rey match against Mallorca in the capital, and travel to Palma from there)!  Javi Martínez (!!!) gave a press conference alongside one of his teammates (Gorka Iraizoz, in case you were wondering) at the team hotel later that afternoon.

Jan. 24 – all set for Barcelona.

Madrid trained again, with Sergio Ramos rejoining the group, making it 18 players from the first team (the absences were the same as the previous day) plus canteranos Jesús, Parla, Payá, Dani Súarez, Kamal and Señé.

Mou gave a press conference, subsequently described as his most “serious” one, as he was on the defensive, didn’t give explanations, avoided commenting about any controversial issues and refused to reveal the line-up for the game.  Here’s how it started.  (By the way, he was back to wearing Madrid clothing, in case you are keeping track.)

A few days ago, we said on Punto Pelota that you had decided to leave Madrid on June 30.  One of my co-workers announced it.   Did I say it?  Ask your co-worker.

You usually achieve titles with the teams you coach.  In Madrid, you’ve won one.  Are you going to stay with Madrid until you win a Champions League or until you beat Barcelona?  I don’t know.

Why do you believe you’ve lost the favor of the public?  I don’t know.  You have to ask the people, not me.

How are you planning the game to try and make a comeback?  I have no idea.

The filtrations from the locker room is hurting you and the team.  Do you believe the end goal is to get you to leave Real Madrid?  I don’t know anything about this.  I don’t know anything about the filtrations.

In a video published by the web site, most likely to try and defuse all the rumors that have been swirling around the team for the last few days, Iker and Sergio, the first and second captains, respectively, spoke about the unity between the players and the coaching staff.  Iker said the group is very united, that the atmosphere is great, and there’s nothing to worry about.  Meanwhile, Sergio affirmed that the group is more united than ever, the relationship with the coach has always been good, and that Mourinho is the ideal coach for this club.  Neither said anything surprising, and so it was not a very interesting interview.  We need the third and fourth captains to bring a little sparkle and sunshine to these things.  And some unscripted moments.  These are the times when I really miss Guti.

And Sergio also used twitter to say that it’s time to shut the book on that supposed infiltration.  He tweeted, “I think the mole or moles should be better informed (although it’s lamentable that this happened).  Throughout my career, I’ve never disrespected a coach.  With this, what I want to do is deny some things that were said about me that I never said.  I finish with this.  The míster and I fight for the same interests and along with the entire team, we will fight to the death.  Hala Madrid!”

Meanwhile, Athletic trained at Valdebebas again!  Why can’t they move there permanently?

Jan. 25 – Barcelona vs. Real Madrid.

Madrid mixed things up, training and traveling on game day, as well as revealing the list of players called up.  The players had a light training session in the morning.  Mou called up basically everyone for the game except the injured players (Sami and Ángel), including suspended players, and threw Jesús into the mix.  Following the session, the team traveled to Barcelona, arriving after noon and heading for the Juan Carlos I hotel.  They all looked very optimistic as they headed out of Valdebebas, no?

Yay, Zizou came along!

The smiles were still on their faces as they arrived in Barcelona.

As for the game, we did play better than the last time against Barcelona, which is good news.  Anyway, here are a couple of the photos and moments I liked from this game.

In the tunnel, we had Sergio and Iker doing their customary kiss, while several of the La Roja players also greeted each other.  Sergio went over to hug Xavi, Busquets and Piqué, Pedro went up to Sergio and Iker, Arbeloa and Iniesta hugged, and Busquets, Piqué, Cesc and Thiago all hugged their national team captain.  Esteban Granero also went up to Iniesta to say hi.

A couple of fun photos: fan-shaped Madrid, the solitude of a goalkeeper…

… and a study in complaining.

Our boys looked gorgeous as they warmed up (that hair is incredible!), and Cris once again did his fish lips move.

Sergio found himself sent off, but the moment wasn’t too bad, as he decided to walk off the field with his shirt halfway lifted up, flashing us those impressive abs.  As he came off the field, Mou went up to him and whispered something in his ear for a good few seconds.  The media and fans subsequently went crazy trying to figure out what words were exchanged.

Tabloid El Mundo Deportivo reported that José Mourinho hung around the parking lot after the game, waiting for the referee, Fernando Teixeira Vitienes, to come to his car.  They provided the photo below as evidence, although they were not able to provide any evidence showing interaction between Mou and the refs (which you would think they would get, since they were already on the scene).

Once the refereeing team appeared, Mou allegedly said to the ref, “what an artist you are, you love to fuck up professionals.”  According to the twitter of Mou’s spokesman Eládio Paramés, who didn’t making things any better (and in my opinion, is full of crap and doesn’t know when to shut up), what Mou actually said was, “you’re an artist, you fuck up those who work, you don’t respect professionals, now you’ll smoke a cigar and you’ll laugh, you’re shameless.”   Thus, Paramés confirmed that there was a confrontation between Mou and the referees.

The players also complained about Teixeira, though not like that.  Arbeloa said, “we got to where he let us get to.”  Iker, meanwhile, shouted at the referee in the tunnel after the game, “go celebrate with them, what a prick, what shit.”  Jajaja!!!  In the mixed zone, he didn’t deny this: “yes, I did tell the referee to go celebrate with the Barça players. Yes, in the locker room we did say that it’s impossible to win here.”  Iker was also upset that he was carded: “it was before Barça’s second goal. I went over to help, to separate my teammates, and he carded me for leaving the area.  I was helping him.  ¡Apaga y vámonos!”  I love it when Iker speaks his mind!

At the conclusion of the game, Iker had to hold back some of his teammates and separate them from the refs, such as Esteban Granero or José Callejón.

Pepe wasn’t happy either, but Gonzalo Higuaín was even more upset.  Pepe intercepted him as he made a beeline for the referee, and had to hold him back.  Pipita protested, saying, “but did you see that?”  He also tried to get Pepe to let him go, but Pepe wouldn’t.  It ended with the two of them giving the referees some sarcasm.  Not the best behavior, but it was amusing.

Meanwhile, Pepe received shouts of things like “assassin” from the Camp Nou, which prompted him to face the crowd after the game and kiss the escudo of Madrid on his shirt.

Barça’s VP Josep María Bartomeu put his foot in his mouth again when he said after the game, “I want to congratulate the public, who behaved very well, just as we wanted.  I congratulate our public, who came to watch a game and only focused on football, there was not a single instance of reprehensible behavior from the public.”  That must include the lasers, that guy that pointed at Marcelo and then acted like a monkey, or those who cheered and chanted Messi’s name after a brutal tackle on Pepe that earned Messi a yellow card.  Meanwhile, Dani Alves said after the game, “complaining is for losers.”  The Barça directors and players love making grandiose statements of superiority, no?

To avoid ending on a negative note, here’s shirtless Cristiano after the game.

Carles Puyol’s shirt also came off, and it was nice to see the hugs between the Madrid and Barça players.

Plus, the Xabi Alonso pose section™!  At ease, General Xabi.

Meanwhile, the hunt for the mole continued.  Over on “El Larguero,” the program revealed that Mourinho suspects that Iker was the mole.  They also reported that Sergio Ramos made a trip to FP’s office at ACS (the other entity that FP is president of) at FP’s request so that he could explain things to the presi, which was apparently to deny that Iker is the mole.  “Punto Pelota” also made an effort to figure out who the mole is, revealing that the list of players at the technical chat were Carvalho, Cristiano, Sergio, Xabi, Coentrão, Altintop, Lass, Benzema and Higuaín, with Iker working out 30 meters away.  “El Partido de las 12” reported that the main suspects are Albiol, Sergio Ramos and Casillas, and that the club even studied the players’ phones to see who they had called recently and who they had sent messages to (apparently, the numbers belong to the club and so they can get the lists of numbers).  Whether a mole actually exists or not, this “hunt” is hilarious, and another reason why being a Madrid fan is never, ever boring.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Pepe’s girlfriend Sofía is pregnant, so if true, congratulations to the pair!  Please let Marcelo be the godfather.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Alyssa permalink
    February 8, 2012 00:35

    Oh god Xabi Alonso and that tongue! I swear he’s doing that solely because he knows it drives us INSANE! Every other man is ruined by comparison to him.

    Also, Pepe kissing the crest so emphatically give me chills. I love how much he loves this club!

  2. Flora permalink
    February 8, 2012 00:49

    This post brought tears to my eyes D’: I love our boys for defending the Real Madrid crest :’D
    Lastly, Why can’t Alves just SHUT UP!!!!!

  3. Pammie permalink
    February 8, 2012 01:25

    the gif of Xabi’s tongue is mesmerizing. *.*

    Parames is the worst spokesperson someone can have. They shouldn’t cause even more problems… .

    It’s kinda funny that Pepe was the one who had to hold Xabi back after the final whistle.

    I was wondering if Athletic stayed in town after their game, so thanks for answering that. 😀

    Thanks for the icymi! And recapping the mole story. xD

  4. @ulonghaz permalink
    February 8, 2012 01:41

    I’m missing Guti every single time..I’m missing him more when Madrid was playing.
    And somehow, I see Guti’s spirit in Pepe. Not that I agree bout Pepe’s last attitude :p

  5. helina permalink
    February 8, 2012 01:46

    I love your blog, but you seem to always ignore most of the foreign players. Like in this game Özil was the man of the match and played amazingly. And that shot!!! I so wished it got in! You didn’t even tag Ö to this post nor mention him, which I found bit weird. I hope you could also post more about the foreigners, I love Spaniards but they are overshadowing others in your ICYMIs. But I understand you are from Spain and love them so don’t take me too seriously, I love your blog anyway 🙂

    It was a great game, even though we lost, it almost felt like winning cos we were so much better than Barcelona 🙂

    Next time we’re gonna beat them!

  6. February 8, 2012 05:42

    What you say is so true, being a Real Madrid fan means that you never ever get bored or complacent about anything. There is always a fair amount of drama to keep you awake and on the edge of your seat.

  7. smurf_ette permalink
    February 8, 2012 06:32

    LOVED this round up and that game. 🙂

  8. Ana permalink
    February 8, 2012 06:50

    great post una! i’ve missed you!

  9. February 8, 2012 10:03

    The last paragraph of this blog post is the best one. Cheers to ending it optimistically 🙂

  10. jean permalink
    February 8, 2012 16:28

    Oh Gosh !!Im so sick of El Classico! Sick of us playing Barca , but I guess its kind of inevitable(well mostly because of the kind of negativism that surrounds the event).
    Look at Barca statement after the game”shake head”, no comment, just no comment.
    Thank you for ending this round -up with a shirtless cris. I was shaking up with anger as I was reading this post and recalling the game but that last image of Cris put a smile on my face:).

  11. NickiBella permalink
    February 8, 2012 18:57

    I felt like RM made fools out of themselves during that game. I am non-biased when it comes to Barca and RM. And Barca is not innocent bc they too are guilty when this intense rivalry gets sparked. But, RM where playing dirty with hard tackles and cheap shots. I don’t think Barca get special treatment from the refs. Pretty much all of the calls that RM players and Mou were complaining about against them, the ref made the right call. The only call I disagreed with was the second yellow on Sergio. He lead with his arms yes, but he barely touched him and it was completely unintentional.

    RM need to stop blaming everyone and everything around them when they lose to Barca and try to figure out why Barca has control over their minds. Barca is in RM’s head and until they get them out they won’t beat them. RM is more then capable of beating Barca, but only they can make it happen. They need to stop complaining and blaming the world for poor performances and take responsibility so they can learn and grow.

    • Gabriela permalink
      February 9, 2012 16:17

      LOL @ not being biased. Yeah, sure.

    • February 10, 2012 09:12

      You call that ‘not being biased’ – ok, I’d love to see what a biased comment from you looks like.

  12. Zparklemotion permalink
    February 8, 2012 20:38

    YEY, so much round-up goodness, THANK YOU! This hunt is indeed fascinating – I’ve been trying to avoid talk about it, since it’s kind of depressing, but you mada me smile about it 😛

  13. Morales permalink
    February 9, 2012 01:34

    you were missed, Una!

    I think this was our best game (at least the 2nd part was) against Barcelona over the past year and half. It gives me a lot of hope for the next Clasico, we may actually win *knocks on wood*

    heh, a mole eh? I’m taking this with a grain of salt. I refuse to believe of our players would betray our team this way, the others though, that’s another thing. Oh well, you’re right, it’s never boring to be a Madridista

  14. phiemdu permalink
    February 9, 2012 11:18

    Words fail to express how happy I am to see you’re back Una. =) Your round-ups are so interesting and informative! Really, you’ve spoiled me, now I have a habit of checking and reading your blog after a game. =)

  15. Rose permalink
    February 9, 2012 13:44

    I wholeheartedly approve of the way you opened this article with the Xabi gifs 😉 Thanks for the lovely recap and for explaining the mole story Una!

  16. jellyace permalink
    February 9, 2012 18:29

    Gosh, I was not even aware of all the behind the scenes mole drama that surrounded the Clasico.

    We missed you and your posts, Una. Glad to have you blogging again.

  17. Sara permalink
    February 10, 2012 00:13

    Great post! What about Özil’s shot? He keeps getting better and better as times goes by!

  18. February 10, 2012 00:38

    I was SO impressed with the guys in this game! I did notice all the “pleasantries” among the fellow national team members, not during the game mind you but that’s to be expected.

    But the guys gave 110% and never gave up even to the whistle. It was good to see that they didn’t let Barca mess with their heads once they went up 2 goals. But the best shots during the game were the Barca fans and how stunned and scared they looked when Madrid made their comeback and had a very good chance of that 3rd goal that would have knocked Barca out.

    The commentators during the Zarazoga match were talking about how well Madrid is doing in La Liga and the Champions League and yet all people can talk about is losing to Barca. I understand the rivalry but in the end it’s about winning titles, isn’t it?

    Thanks for explaining the Iker yellow card situation. Even the commentators weren’t sure what it was for. They speculated that it was for protesting too much which confused me because the captains are allowed to protest, no? That makes the yellow card for “leaving the box” even sillier. If Iker wasn’t the captain then maybe I could understand it more.

    Also thanks for the translations of the tweets, etc. Google Translate only helps so much and even then not a whole lot. Boy have I missed your posts Una!

    Cris, Cris, Cris…if only the rest of your teammates would follow suit! Well, Sergio started to but not enough, Sergio…not enough.

    In the picture with Pepe kissing the crest, I think that is the closest I’ve ever seen our little Sunshine in “bitch face” mode. Someone in the crowd definitely had pissed him off.

    In case I haven’t mentioned it in awhile, I love these guys. Even though I though Pepe’s stamp on Messi’s hand was deplorable, I still like the guy. And even though DiMaria tends to dive a lot, he’s still a phenomenal player.

  19. Madridista 4 ever permalink
    February 10, 2012 07:15

    Absolutely love your blog! Thanx for sharing all this!!!!!! It’s sooooooo cool!

  20. February 10, 2012 07:50

    i really don’t want to believe that there is so much dissension internally that someone would intentionally leak something said behind closed doors to the press like that. 😦 una, what’s your opinion on it? do you think this is reliable? clearly, the conversation happened, and if it’s true that the club is checking the players’ phones, then they can’t be happy about it. meanwhile, all of this looks even worse against the backdrop of another el clasico (not that it wouldn’t look bad if it happened after playing any other team, but you know what i mean).

    it may be true that it’s never boring to be a madridista, but i could do without such drama. i respect mou, i think he brings a lot to the club, but sometimes his actions and behavior and comments are a little much.

  21. kiki permalink
    February 10, 2012 08:49

    Those Xabi tongue gifs do make everything more ~ bearable…..

  22. futbolfan permalink
    February 10, 2012 23:56

    So Iker got a card for leaving the box?
    In that case Valdes should have been sent off in all the recently played Clasicos that he’s played…

    Also, I’m pretty sure we were awarded a free kick at the end. Usually I see those get played, but the ref blew the whistle…how come?
    Also, Mou is finally playing Kaka and Ozil together like I have been wanting! 😀

    But finally, the boys showed AMAZING heart and the comeback and the way they played(way better than Barca this time around) was so incredibly great. We were so damn close.

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