mid-week bits & pieces
Just the way I like them! Iker, Antonio, Tomás and company were back at work on Wednesday, as the team started preparing for this weekend’s game against Betis.
The team returned to training on Wednesday morning, after two deserved days off. Tomy, Jesé and Joselu plus players from RMC joined 20 players from the first team for this session. Benzema, Coentrão and Di María were the absences. As you can see, our boys emerged for the session in pairs.
There was a special guest at the session, in the form of one Manuel Preciado. He’s been taking a tour of clubs since he was fired as coach of Es-sporting, and the previous day, he had visited Atleti, and on Wednesday, it was Madrid and Valdebebas’ turn. Preciado took the time out to chat with Mou (he referred to him as “Mou”) and his coaching team, showing once again that the two of them have become good friends. He said, “right now we have a magnificent relationship. I’m very grateful for his behavior and he also has a lot of affection for me… He’s a great coach, he’s number one.” The group had lunch together at Valdebebas after the training session. Check out the video too, and look out for a very sprightly Mou jumping over the barricade.
In player news, Gustaff Choos has released a photograph of Iker, which was shot when they were taking photographs for Iker’s Adidas campaign. I’m not feeling this photo of Iker; I think it makes him look old. I also think he also looks more like a cross between PF Juan Mata and Jaime Alguersuari than himself.
Speaking of black and white photos, Xabi Alonso shared this adorable one of him and older brother Mikel to welcome the latter to twitter. I find it interesting that Xabi tweeted his welcome in English, and Mikel also replied in English. I’d also like to know why we never hear anything about the third Alonso brother, Jon? After all, he must be fairly perfect too since he shares his genes with Xabi.
And speaking of tweets, Javi García tweeted this photo of him and “Angelin” after Ángel di María showed up in Lisbon to cheer on his former team, Benfica, in their Champions League match against Zenit. After the game, Ángel posed with his former teammate and cantera product Javi. Other former madridistas currently playing for Benfica include Rodrigo, Javier Saviola and Eze Garay.
And speaking of former players, Madrid legend Marquitos (Marcos Alonso Imaz) passed away at the age of 78 in Santander on Tuesday, also the day of Madrid’s 110th birthday. He won five European Cups and six Ligas during his time with Madrid, and played alongside other legends such as Di Stéfano, Puskas or fellow Cantabrian Paco Gento. All in all, he played nine seasons and 223 games. His son Marcos Alonso Peña, despite being a socio from the time he was born and receiving his training in the cantera, went on to play for Atleti and Barcelona. That wasn’t the case of grandson Marcos Alonso Mendoza, who also made his way through the youth system before debuting with the first team in April 2010; he now plays for Bolton.
On Tuesday, Marcos tweeted, “I don’t think there is another grandson in this world who is more proud of his grandfather than I am. Rest in peace with your five European Cups, and take care of us from above.” What a lovely tribute! And so is the following one.
In Wednesday’s edition of Marca, Alfredo di Stéfano wrote, “during award ceremonies or tributes, when I speak about the importance of teamwork and how everything I achieved was thanks to my teammates, the first one I think about is you, Marquitos. You were back there, in the defense, and you gave me so much security, we felt so protected… you were like a wall. Marquitos protected us. He was a champion that had a winning mentality even greater than mine. And you were also great with your ideas. One day, we played a European Cup game in Scotland. You purchased a typical Scottish outfit and you emerged from the airplane in Madrid wearing a plaid kilt. I enjoyed that so much! Friend, my friend, you were the best on the field, but you were even better as a person. I love you… a lot.”
And if anyone is interested, Madrid is finally offering guided tours of Valdebebas to its socios and their friends! Each socio can apply for a visit, and bring along two persons of their choice, who don’t need to be members. The visits will be between 45 minutes and one hour long, and none of them will be scheduled for when the first team is training, unfortunately (well, unless you’re Manuel Preciado or someone like him).