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ICYMI – the “levantando” edition

February 14, 2012

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!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    February 14, 2012 14:50

    I agree about Mourinho comment, I didn’t like it either but I totally expected for him to say that about final, btw what do you think shall we offer them bernabeu since they are “insisting” they want it, they are bing very annoying btw, Guti said it perfectly, we don’t want give you our stadium leave us alone, no?

    I love this team, I love how cristano is improving day by day, yeah Una it was Higuain 200 game with us too only exceed by Ramos and iker!! Capitan Pipita!! :D, I totally wanted to be in Coentroa place too, I was actually very jealous…

    Hala Madrid, 10 points, 10 points!!! I know what you mean about Carlos’s name!! Oh god, no one understand how happy I was to see him! I still miss him! I agree about ultras, will you stop the Pepe chants please!!

    • sidney permalink
      February 15, 2012 21:13

      Dont answer if you dont want to but are you the Sara Madridista who also comments at RealMadridfootball blog:)?

  2. Stella permalink
    February 14, 2012 15:35

    I love Roberto Carlos and thanks to him I am Madridista today. I totally miss him but I am happy he was back. And I wanted him to kick the ball in the goal to. Like he did in the Worldcup against France. Ooo I love this man!!!

    Roberto Carlos La la la la. Roberto Carlos La la la la!!!

  3. Kristen permalink
    February 14, 2012 16:48

    Una what do you think about the coach from the other team not letting Sergio help up Kone??

  4. Alex permalink
    February 14, 2012 17:12

    I dont agree on Pepes handing over his shirt was a bad call. He gets so much support from them I rather think it was great gesture from Pepe that seconds after the match was over he was running over to show his appreciation.
    Callejon, who’s another that they are truly in love with did the same thing right after Pepe. While Benzema minutes later handed his shirt over to lateral este.

    Anyhow, I like him showing appreciation.

  5. February 14, 2012 17:40

    Roberto Carlos is a legend, I am so happy he was there! Of course that reminds me of another legend who should have a proper celebration at the Bernabeu, Raul and I hope it will happen one day.

    I am also so happy about the result, I hope this continues.

    The Xabi’s Ballet pose made me laugh, great caption;-)) and of course the little bromance-like-gestures on the pitch are so sweet.

    I like Mou’s new hair. Good he did not loose his quick witty responses abilities with cutting the hair LOL

    as to Copa del Rey, I cannot imagien the final being held at Bernabeu when Real does not play. The wisest thing to do would be to maybe play the final at Vincente Calderon’s stadium so it would still be in Madrid but it would not be such a slap in the face form RM….

    the gajme in Madrid would create an opportunity for Una to run in the pitch to hug Javi (!!!!).

  6. sidney permalink
    February 14, 2012 19:18

    Fantastic review of the game:). While I love comebacks, I would appreciate if we stop allowing those early goals, not good for my heart lol.
    I would get on twitter just to follow Arbeloa, his antics are pretty hilarious and its nice to discover some players personality with mediums like Twitter, facebook:)
    I love the tribute to R. Carlos, a very fitting tribute I would say:)
    Im so glad that the 4000th goal happened to be scored by Cris, that goal was just a pure beauty, just unbelievable:):). What more can I say about Cris other that I love him and that Im so glad that he is part of this team and keep breaking records after records. So so proud of him:):):):)
    I love the bromances of this team and I especially love the 3rd goal celebration, it brought a huge smile to my face:):).
    Im glad that the guys didnt respond to Pique statements. I just hate the double standard that the medias have over us.Had Cris or any Real M. player say what Pique said we would have been mercilessly crucify by the media. So Im glad that we just ignored them.
    I dont want the copa rey final to be held at the Bernabeu and regarding Mou’s statement over the whole affair, you know that Mou is just going to say whatever he wants lol.
    Love Love so much love for this team and Happy Valentine day to everyone:):):):)

  7. lolo permalink
    February 14, 2012 19:50

    i am so happy for Morata i LOVE that guy!!!! seriously; this blog is the best blog ever!!

    HALA MADRID<3<3<3<3

  8. AJ Nelson permalink
    February 15, 2012 03:37

    These games where we are going down 1-0 are starting to give me heart palpitations. Thankfully, I am usually confident that the boys can come back. Levante put up a good fight, however, which made for a great game to watch.

  9. ama permalink
    February 15, 2012 05:39

    I was so happy to see Roberto Carlos at the game and in pictures with the boys…he has the sweetest smile.

    Also, for the record, I could watch Cris and Benzema’s goals over and over…such class. If Mesut’s strike hadn’t hit the post, the game would’ve been absolutely perfect for me. But what really matters is that 10-point lead. I’m glad that everyone seems to be in agreement to keep quiet about it with the press, too. We’re winning with strength and humility, and that makes me proud.

  10. @ulonghaz permalink
    February 15, 2012 10:19

    RC was teary as I did myself ..

  11. Lish permalink
    February 15, 2012 16:49

    love the photo of Roberto Carlos and Marcelo! they have almost the exact same expression and smile! 😀

  12. Jenny permalink
    February 16, 2012 17:54

    Actually, I think Mourinho’s comment is very appropriate – though typically sardonic (as is his way). It’s a matter of opinion between fans, but I believe the club shouldn’t have stated any preference for the venue. I think a studied unconcern over where the final is played would have been the most appropriate response – once you are no longer in the competition, you should lose interest. Concerns about how Barca fans would behave at the stadium are Barca’s problem and reflect on that club, not on Madrid.

    But for all that, the club has not been undignified either and the concerns that have been stated are plausible enough.

    On the other hand, Barca’s insistence on this point is becoming plain bad manners.

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