ICYMI – the glass half full edition
In case you missed it – CSKA Moscow vs. Real Madrid [CL round of 16 ida, 1-1].
Lots of bad news from this game: the last second goal for CSKA that tied the game 1-1. And this from a player, Pontus Wernbloom, who told the Swedish press after the game that he’s been a madridista since the time he was small. Karim Benzema had to be subbed out due to injury and is out for two to three weeks. Yellow cards for Sergio, Xabi and Fábio, who are now one away from suspension.
However, there are reasons to be optimistic*.
REASON ONE. Look how adorable Sergio and Xabi were being with their mascots prior to the game. Sergio helpfully arranged his mascot’s hair (lucky kid!) while Xabi patted his on the head. And he had time for his protégé too!
* They might be superficial, but they are still reasons.
REASON TWO. The boys, when all wrapped up, are completely adorable and look like they’re five years old, especially Gonzalo Higuaín. He looks like he can barely move for how puffy his outfit is.
REASON THREE. That goalscoring machine named Cristiano Ronaldo. Cristiano’s goal was his 17th in the 23 Champions League games he’s played, and already enough to tie him as Madrid’s second top goalscorer in this competition. However, Fernando Morientes needed 58 games to reach this figure. Ahead of both of them is of course the one and only Raúl.
REASON FOUR. The wonderful celebrations we have and the fact that we are a piña. That’s something to be very grateful for.
REASON FIVE. José Callejón’s gravity-defying hair.
REASON SIX. The publicity free shirts, which I love, because the jerseys look so pristine and pure without the ugly logo. The reason for this was because Russian law prohibits betting houses from advertising in football stadiums.
REASON SEVEN. Iker and his manias. He wore a mixed kit for the first time this season, sporting a yellow top, black shorts and yellow socks, with a black shirt and black tights under the outfit. He also cut the sleeves and the bottom of his shirt, which was long-sleeved. I’m still waiting for him to wear the striped bumblebee socks!
REASON EIGHT. The sight of Karim… tending to his injury.
REASON NINE. Pipita’s ass.
REASON TEN. We have polite players. Both Cris and José removed their gloves specifically to shake hands.
REASON ELEVEN. Our team is gorgeous. Even the first team director is hot (and scorer of one of the most famous goals in recent history).
REASON TWELVE. Our captains (both official and unofficial), who act like real captains at all times, from encouraging their own teammates to refusing to say anything bad about other teams. I love that we can admit our own shortcomings too, instead of always blaming it on the other team or insisting that we were nevertheless superior.
REASON THIRTEEN. The elegance.
REASON FOURTEEN. Speaking of that, Xabi Alonso and his poses. And his flexibility too.
REASON FIFTEEN. The generosity, not only in goal assists, but also in life. According to this press release, a shirt autographed by Cristiano Ronaldo fetched the top bid (€638) at a charity auction to help a 10-year-old Russian boy receive treatment for leukemia in London. Proceeds raised at the auction from other items, such as a CSKA Moscow basketball jersey signed by Andrei Kirilenko or an Anzhi shirt signed by Roberto Carlos, also benefitted an orphanage.
REASON SIXTEEN. And finally, because I firmly believe we will be making one of those famous comebacks we have become so known for during the vuelta game, although it can’t really be called a comeback, since we didn’t lose this game.
THE MOU CORNER.
José Mourinho complained a little about the uncalled foul (“it happened just in front of me, two or three meters in front. The referee made a mistake, but it’s alright”), but also advised everyone that “I’m not content but I’m not sad either. It’s not a sweet taste, but it’s not a big drama either…”
He also had this to say about Raúl Albiol coming in for Mesut Özil: “I saw it as a good option. I saw Albiol as the optimum option for the defense. I liked his attitude a lot and the form in which he interpreted what he had to do.”
Mou ended the press conference by saying “thank you” in Russian, which earned him a round of applause from the Russian journalists. His translator then asked him for an autograph. Mou obliged him, and also shook his hand.
Here’s a rundown on how our boys dressed for the occasion.
Tights, gloves and long sleeves: Callejón, Coentrão, Cristiano (though he ripped off his gloves and threw them to the ground in frustration at one point), Kaká, Higuaín.
Tights and long sleeves: Iker (since gloves are part of his kit), Sergio, Albiol.
Gloves and long sleeves: Özil, Benzema.
Long sleeves: Xabi (he didn’t end up wearing the gloves he had; those were some lucky gloves), Pepe.
Nothing extra: Khedira, Arbeloa (the most courageous ones; Sami is like a bull out there, no?).
On Wednesday, Karim Benzema headed to the Sanitas-La Moraleja clinic to have his injury checked out. The injury is to his right thigh, and he’s expected to be out for two to three weeks, though the club hasn’t confirmed anything. After he finished the check-up, he headed to the airport to take a flight to France, as the players had the day off and was not due back in training until Thursday afternoon. I adore his hat!!!! He looks very cuddly in it! I want to squeeze that pom pom!
Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, headed to Mallorca to film a Nike ad with Rafa Nadal at the Country Club Santa Ponça. They then had dinner together.
P.D. My glass looks like this.