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ICYMI – the teamwork edition

February 20, 2012

In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Racing [2012-02-18, Liga jornada 24, 4-0].

At last, a win and a clean sheet for Iker (my prayer worked)!  This time, the early goal was (por fin) ours.  And from the goals to the other aspects of the game, it was all about teamwork.

ONE.  The day started with a light stretching session for the boys.  On the way from the Mirasierra Suites to Valdebebas, both Sergio and Cris stopped to sign autographs and pose with fans.  I love that Sergio was about to get on the bus when he saw that adorable little boy, and so he came over to take a picture with him, making one little boy very happy in the process.  Meanwhile, Cris had to run to the bus after stopping to sign autographs because he spent too much time with the fans and so he was one of the last ones on the bus.

TWO.  Scenes from the warm-up.

THREE.  Prior to the game, the Spanish national futsal team (another team known for great teamwork), recent winners of the UEFA Futsal Championship, was honored.  They were represented by their captain Luis Amado (like Iker, the goalkeeper) and Carlos Ortiz.  They brought with them the championship trophy, and took the honorary kickoff.  Luis Amado is a viejo conocido for the Madrid fans, as he has done this many times at the Bernabéu, since the Spanish national futsal team has won so many trophies).

Iker and Toño, the two goalkeeping captains of Madrid and Racing, were there to congratulate them.  Several days ago, via his Facebook, Iker had posted a photo of Luis, said he was very happy for him (and called him the best goalkeeper in the world), congratulated the team and asked that they be considered for the Príncipe de Asturias award.

FOUR.  Meanwhile, José Mourinho was busy greeting his old friend, Dr. Ceballos, or Cali to Mou.  Cali also had the nice gesture of going over to the Madrid bench to say hi to the rest of Mou’s coaching staff.

FIVE.  For me, even better than the four goals was that we (okay, Iker) finally did not allow any goals!  This was the first clean sheet at the Bernabéu (in all competitions) since Oct. 26 against Villarreal.  That’s too long.  With that said, the goals were pretty fantastic, no?

I loved the celebrations as well, including Karim Benzema’s regal wave.  We are royal, after all.

What a return for Ángel di María, and what a golazo!  The only negative note was the injury, so hopefully it’s not serious.

SIX.  Stadium notes: around the 60th minute, part of the stadium went dark, and so play was stopped until the lights were restored, which was about one minute later.

Once again, there were chants and posters proclaiming “the Copa del Rey final won’t be here,” as well as chants of “Pepe, kill them!” from the Ultras, which were met with whistles from the rest of the stadium (the sane part).  Rio Ferdinand was at the game, and he admired the Bernabéu.  He also found the time to visit with his old teammate, Cristiano, who “still cracks me up, the mad man!”

SEVEN.  Speaking of Cris, here are two moments of frustration from our superstar.  Hopefully there won’t be many more.

EIGHT.  The boys were also being a bit of a tease at several points during the game…

… although nothing can compare to our old favorite, no?

NINE.  Iker’s fine organization of his defense (¡¡Marcelo!!) prevented Racing from scoring.  Speaking of Marcelo, don’t you wish the little sunshine could end up coming through your screen?  I think most of us could use a little extra sunshine.

TEN.  Several players stripped after the game, including Ricardo Carvalho, Iker (undershirt still on, of course) and Sergio.  Unfortunately, I can’t see them doing that in Moscow.

ELEVEN.  After the game, Sergio spoke about returning to the rightback position after four months as a centerback: “I’m always content just to play and I’m happy to play as a fullback.  I’ve been a champion of the world and of Europe in that position.  If the team needs it, I’m happy to play there because it’s a position that I know well.”  I wonder what other positions he knows well…

Jealous of the hair and the eyelashes, respectively.

The team spirit could also be seen in Karim Benzema’s statements after the game: “it was a great game for everyone.  I don’t know if the second goal is mine or Sergio’s, but it’s the same to me because the important thing is to win.”

TWELVE.  The Mou corner.

At his post-game press conference, José Mourinho summed up the game like this: “three points and one less game to play.  That’s the thing I like the most.  We won without being brilliant, without a lot of effort, but we won well, with tranquility.  In this moment, winning without suffering is perhaps the most positive thing.”

He also praised the returns of Ángel di María and Sami Khedira: “Di María gives us certain characteristics that the team lost when he wasn’t there.  He gives us two different transitions.  That’s why his recovery is very important for us.  It’s also great that Khedira returned.”  Mou also said that Lass is not ready to play in Moscow, Altintop is still recovering and Gonzalo Higuaín didn’t play because “he’s a very important player for us” and he didn’t want to risk him.

As for AS questioning several days ago why Dani Carvajal wasn’t called up to fill in as a fullback, instead of Sergio Ramos moving to the wing, Mou said, “in the first place, when we coaches do our work poorly, we’re criticized, sometimes very harshly.  When you all do a bad job, you all should be criticized as well.  When an important paper asks for a footballer who is sanctioned to play, that’s disastrous journalism.  The one they wanted to play could not play.”  It turns out that Carva was suspended for Castilla’s game this weekend, and starting this year, the rules prohibit a player suspended in one category from playing for a team in another, so he would not have been eligible to play for the first team against Racing.

THIRTEEN.  The Xabi Alonso pose section™ I (special guest appearance from Xabi-in-training, Esteban Granero).

I love it when they are allowed to team up and be boss together.

FOURTEEN.  The Xabi Alonso pose section™ II.

I don’t really need to write anything, do I?

Well, now that Madrid has beaten the two teams they could not beat in the primera vuelta, a win over Barcelona has to be next!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2012 16:49

    Una, I love you best when you all saucy and sassy! 🙂 And yes, inserting that old favorite of Pony in there is you being just that! 😉

    Also, TEN points and this is just too funny not to share!

  2. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    February 20, 2012 16:59

    I celebrated the clean sheet like a mad girl, btw that shouldn’t been the case, no?

    Anyway Hala Madrid, can’t for the championssssssss le champions

  3. February 20, 2012 17:20

    i missed this match due to my own stupidity (got the kick-off time totally screwed up by 3 hours!), so i’m very grateful for the recap! thank you. 🙂

    rio ferdinand! nice to see him support the team. his twitter is hilarious.

    i’m delighted we won … every match is one step closer. hala madrid!

  4. Alyssa permalink
    February 20, 2012 17:30

    It looks like Xabi cracking a whip in that gif. I like 😉

  5. Sinko permalink
    February 20, 2012 21:39

    Rio Ferdinand is a crack.

    He also tweeted that he was trying to sneak Ronnie out of Madrid in a body bag .. jajajajja

  6. Pammie permalink
    February 20, 2012 22:31

    I’m glad that the sane part of the crowd whistled the Ultras’ Pepe chant. They could use a reminder about proper behaviour.

    What a beautiful ICYMI, I could stare at the screenshot of Xabi and XIT being boss next to each other for quite some time.

    I didn’t know that the suspension rules have been changed, so I was one of those people who thought that Carva would get a call up after he got his 5th yellow last weekend. I hope he does get considered as the 2nd RB in the summer instead of buying a new one.

    It’s things like the Marcelo scene above, that make me want to experience watching a football match in 3D on TV! 😀

  7. Mikel permalink
    February 20, 2012 23:14

    Dear Una, I hope you realize that you run the best Real Madrid blog on the internet. Pls don’t forget that and don’t forget that we love you. Best wishes for your future.

  8. shan permalink
    February 21, 2012 00:52

    I love the pairing of Granero and Xabi. Let’s hope to see a lot more of that.

  9. wandering permalink
    February 21, 2012 03:11

    I love this team. Enuff said!

  10. Jen permalink
    February 21, 2012 06:17

    I cannot stress enough how much I love your blogs and writing style. As always, an excellent post! Thanks Una!!!

  11. Marie permalink
    February 21, 2012 10:14

    I commend you for your commitment to working that Sergio picture into your posts whenever possible 😛

  12. kiki permalink
    February 21, 2012 15:18

    Oh, I really appreciate your ICYMI posts when really DID miss it! No one else sums it up so well! & YAY(!!!) for clean sheets!!! 😀

  13. Olivia permalink
    February 21, 2012 19:53

    Why do they have to pull up their shorts in front of the fourth official? Are they looking for something illegal? (like animal-themed underwear?) Not that I’m complaining 😉

  14. noviana noor aisyiah permalink
    February 22, 2012 07:00

    una, is the ultras sur kinda of group or organization? i mean they always chanted together.

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