ICYMI – the “levantando” edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Levante [Liga jornada 23, 4-2].
As Sergio Ramos said, “Que hoy se escuche bien fuerte: ¡Hala Madrid!” Hala Madrid indeed, because by the end of the night, Madrid had scored four goals and found itself 10 points ahead of the second place team, after making a comeback due to another (maldito) early goal.
ONE. Warm-up routines: Sergio letting his hair down, Xabi rallying the troops, Cris and his bicicletas plus Mesut Özil doing his pre-game prayer. I love watching footballers and their routines.
TWO. On to the goals! Cris’ second goal was the one that gave Madrid the lead in the game, and they would go on to luckily not relinquish that and beat Levante.
Cris, however, wasn’t done yet. Before the night was over, he scored another one, giving him a hat trick, his sixth in the Liga. The third goal was an authentic golazo, and more of a missile than a goal in fact, no? It was fitting that Roberto Carlos was watching the game at the stadium, because he understands what it’s like to strike the ball with that much force and precision.
And not only did the goal get people talking, but also the celebration, because Cristiano Ronaldo ran to the sideline and José Mourinho jumped into his arms. Other members of the coaching staff and team (both those on the bench and those on the field) quickly followed suit, and several of them tried to end up on top of the pile (perhaps to let Mou know what it feels like to have someone on his back?). Meanwhile, the Bernabéu sang, “Cristiano, Cristiano.”
I love how Álvaro Arbeloa ended up practically horizontal! Perhaps a basketball career (his childhood dream) wasn’t such a farfetched idea…
Karim Benzema, not to be outdone, scored his own golazo.
His celebration made him look a bit like a dork, but I still love him.
THREE. The goals weren’t the only things this game was full of, there was also a lot of love (perhaps as a prelude to Valentine’s Day, since we know this team is full of bromances?). Sergio gave Pepe a kiss in the middle of the game, while Fábio turned a ball chase into a hug for Iker. Lucky boy. If I did that during a game, I’d get arrested. But for him, it’s all part of the game.
FOUR. Fun gestures from our boys. Cris is really liking that fish lips move, no?
FIVE. The best captains in the world. And the hottest ones too.
SIX. Mou was also one of the protagonists of the game. While the team was busy celebrating a goal, he was busy scolding Álvaro Arbeloa. And he did it so comically!
Look at him! Those expressions! Those gestures! He could be an actor!
SEVEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
I wonder how long Xabi will allow his beard to grow? And look at his feet! Has Nagore been teaching him ballet?
During one moment in the game, the referee tried to cut Xabi’s jefe-ness short. Xabi was about to take a free kick, but Undiano Mallenco had not given him the go-ahead, and so he put his foot in front of the ball to stop it and make the kick invalid. Jajaja!!!!
(I just wanted to see if you were paying attention, because that really could be Xabi there instead of Esteban, no?)
EIGHT. After the game, Cristiano told the media that he was very happy to hear the Bernabéu sing his name after his goal, and he also explained the goal celebration: “he [Mou] knows why I celebrated with him, but it wasn’t for any special reason. I wanted to celebrate it with the bench, with the staff, because they’re doing a great job.” The “Cristiano is sooo selfish and not a team player” camp, meanwhile, is quickly running out of ammunition.
I liked Xabi’s declarations: “we’re happy but we can improve in some areas. We have to try and avoid these early goals. From here to the end of the season, all the rivals will have important things to play for and they will be complicated games. We don’t have to think about points, but rather in winning all the games.”
Of note: many of the players interviewed in the mixed zone were questioned about their reaction to Gerard Piqué’s words earlier that week (he said at a press conference that they’re going to make the battle for the Liga a long one for Madrid). None of them wanted to take the bait and so no one responded to Piqué’s words, despite the fact that Madrid was now 10 points up, and it would have been very easy to gloat about that or even mention it, as some people are prone to do.
NINE. The Mou corner.
José Mourinho was cautious at his post-game press conference, as he (and we) should all be: “there are many more points and games to play. And all of them will be difficult to win, because from now on, everything is at play. We need 39 points to be champions, 13 wins. And that’s a lot.” In response to another question, he said that “we will definitely mess up. It happened in the primera vuelta.”
(Unfortunately, he once again opted for comfort over style.)
He also had a lot of complimentary things to say about Cristiano’s goal: “this goal is to be celebrated because it’s incredible, fantastic, it will be seen all over the world. It was the 4,000th goal in the Bernabéu and it deserved to have Cristiano’s name attached to it.” And I loved this answer: “I already told my players to not lose the ball. In other stadiums, when you continuously pass the ball back and forth, it’s considered fantastic and the people enjoy it. Here, they whistle at us and that’s why the players wanted to continue taking risks.”
Mou also said he doesn’t care where the final of the Copa del Rey will be played: “it’s the same to me whether it’s here or in China.” I don’t like that statement, because to me, it just shows that sometimes he just doesn’t get el madridismo. After all, the fans chanted during the game that they didn’t want the Copa del Rey final to be at the Bernabéu, and even Álvaro Arbeloa said after the game that if the fans made that known, then certain people have to heed that sentiment.
TEN. Other notes. Once again, the Ultra Sur erupted in chants of “¡Pepe, mátalos!” I wish they would stop giving us a bad name. I also didn’t like that Pepe decided to give away his shirt after the game to fans in the Fondo Sur. Roberto Carlos, for one, has done that in the past, and created controversy in the process.
Iker, meanwhile, gave away his boots after the game. He’s giving away everything! Will the undershirt be next? Please, please, please, please, please.
Cristiano scored the 4,000th goal by Real Madrid in official competitions at the Bernabéu. The first goal was scored by Chus Alonso against Athletic in 1947. Since that day, Madrid has played 1,508 games and scored 3,997 goals (before this game). The average is 2.6 per game. This season, Madrid has played 17 games at home and scored 65 goals, giving them an average of 3.8 goals per game.
Álvaro Arbeloa forced a yellow card near the end of the game by refusing to hand the ball over. This is his fifth of a cycle, so he’ll be suspended for the game against Racing.
ELEVEN. I was so, so happy to see Roberto Carlos finally get the tribute he deserved for his years of service to this club.
FP presented him with a replica of the Aranguren and Machimbarrena statue that stands outside the Madrid locker room (which the players touch for good luck) and he also got to take the honorary kick off. I was kind of hoping he’d take a shot at goal, but no. He received a tremendous reception from the Bernabéu, as so many of us have very fond memories of him.
After the game, Roberto Carlos (in my head, his name is pronounced as the Bernabéu used to sing it – Ro-ber-to Carrr-los, la la la la la la, Ro-ber-to Carrr-los, la la la la la la…) told Canal + that as far as he knows, Mou will be coaching Madrid next season: “he told me that his contract is still in force and he’s staying.”
Earlier that day, he had visited Valdebebas, where he greeted everyone and took photos. Not very many players remain from the time he was at Madrid (1996-2007). There’s only Iker and Sergio, plus Marcelo and Gonzalo Higuaín; the latter two only coincided with him for half a season. And of course, Aitor Karanka was a former teammate in the back as well. Iker posted a photo of him and RC on his Facebook, calling him “the best leftback in the world” and “crack.” Meanwhile, Sergio tweeted, “this morning, a visit from a great friend and former teammate. There’s no one else like him.”
And on Monday, he had lunch with Kaká!
TWELVE. Castilla won their game against Getafe B 4-2 (familiar score, no?), with goals from Denis, Jesé, Joselu and MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín. They remain the sole leaders of their group with 50 points.
After the game, Jorge Casado wanted to congratulate the goalscorers, so he tweeted, “congratulating those who scored goals today:
@Cheryshev #jese #Joselu @AlvaroMorata!! You all deserve it!!!” That prompted this response from Jesé: “I’m also on twitter ehhhh.” Jorge responded, “papi, I didn’t know that, it was thanks to the followers that I found out!! I’m already following you!! A hug JR.”
There are countless ways for these boys to be adorable, no? And will Jesé keep the star in his hair since it did bring him good luck? I hope so!