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all set for Betis!

March 10, 2012

Real Madrid takes on Betis tonight (22h), the only team in the Liga that Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t scored against as a Madrid player (but to be fair, he’s only played one game against them).  Cris has so far scored 124 goals in his 126 games with Madrid.  In the 74 games where he’s scored, the balance is 68-4-2.  He has scored 88 goals with his right foot, 24 with his left and 12 with his head.  Hopefully he’ll also score tonight against Betis, just like another Ronaldo did, back in 2004.

And also hopefully, Betis won’t be “blatant” this time around!

Meanwhile, as Madrid’s web site reminds us, the Benito Villamarín is the site of Gonzalo Higuaín’s first ever game with Real Madrid, a Copa del Rey round of 16 game back on Jan. 11, 2007.  It’s been more than five years since that game and that mullet Pipita showed up with, which is sadly once again thrust back into our consciousness with the pictures that Madrid chose to accompany the article.  Anyway, the last time Madrid played Betis, in the primera vuelta of this season, Pipa scored a hat trick as Madrid won 4-1, in a game Iker described as “in the end we won 4-1 to a blatant Betis and I do not arrugo in the Bernabeu.”

Since I mentioned el capi, I’ll also say that Iker is set to enter into the history books again.  At 22:39h today, he will reach the figure of 39,881 minutes played in the first division, moving into 10th place on the all-time list.  If Iker continues to play like he has in the last decade, in the first half of the 2014-15 season, he’ll move into second place.  The top place belongs to Zubi (yes, once again Iker has a chance to surpass Zubi for a record) and his 55,746 minutes, and if Iker stays healthy and the first choice, he could surpass that figure in the 2016-17 season.

Iker was also the star of Madrid’s “today we train with…” series.  Warning: there’s an overload of yellow.

Speaking of training, Madrid wrapped up preparations for tonight’s game against Betis with their last training session, which took place on Friday afternoon.  Karim Benzema returned to the fold after recovering from the injury he suffered against CSKA Moscow, joining 19 of his teammates plus canteranos Tomás Mejías and Jesé.   The absences were the injured Ángel di María and Fábio Coenteão, plus Ricardo Carvalho, as he’s suspended for this game after accumulating five cards.

All of the first team players who participated in the training session were called up for the game, as well as Tomás Mejías. 

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Tomás Mejías.

Defenders: Pepe, Arbeloa, Varane, Albiol, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos.

Midfielders: Sahin, Altintop, Lass, Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Özil, Callejón, Granero, Kaká.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema.

Of note: I think Esteban can now proclaim that he has graduated from The Xabi Alonso School of Posing, because we got this gorgeous photograph of him yesterday.

José Mourinho spoke to the press prior to the training session.  As usual, the things he said were very interesting, though he also admitted that he’s been holding back, which is both good and bad (good in the sense that I do believe he needs to be more diplomatic at times, and bad in the sense that we are definitely missing out when he censors himself).

on Barcelona’s recent spate of complaints about the referees and why he has complained less this year: I remember that they didn’t talk about the referees before, but they are doing so now.  Each one does what he wants, and I’m not anyone to criticize them.  I’m not the perfect coach because I have criticized the referees, and sometimes with emotion and strong words, but there are others who sell a different image, but in the end we’re all the same.  Now I complain less because I’ve already paid a lot for my complaints.  I’ve had to miss out on many games.  I’ve paid a lot in fines.  The image of me has changed, and it no longer corresponds to the person that I truly am.  I now try to be as tranquil as possible without losing sight of who I am.  That’s why that inside the imperfect man that I fortunately am, there will come the moment when I’ll once again make – I won’t say errors – that type of affirmation or action that will leave me in a bad position.  The interesting thing about the issue is that there are people who are more intelligent than I am, who try to give off and achieve another image different than mine, but they’re the same as me.

[Pep’s response to this today was interesting, very Pep, and showed his true colors.]

on the cantera: if Varane had come from Castilla instead of Lens, do you think he wouldn’t be playing like this?  [Yes, because he wouldn’t have progressed as much as he would have if he were on another team and received so many opportunities.]  If we speak about quality and the ability to respond, and if those are good, then I think that there isn’t a coach in the world who wouldn’t be happy to use young players and canteranos.  When they are capable of responding regularly with the first team, I’ll be happy to use them.  I have good things to say about those who debuted with me.  None of them did badly.  None of them gave me a bad impression.  None of them made things difficult for the team.  All of them, each of them was able to respond positively under different circumstances.  It’s one thing to play and return to the base and another to be promoted and stay for life, such as Casillas, Raúl or Guti.  There will come the time in which some of them with so much potential will do that.

on the upcoming game: I’m going to play with my best team.  I’m not going to rest any player or spend one minute thinking about  the CSKA game.

Following the session, the team traveled by plane down to Sevilla.  Upon arrival, Álvaro Arbeloa looked like he was all set for summer, while the rest of his teammates were still stuck in winter.  And Sergio was happy to be back in his beloved Sevilla, and hopefully extra motivated to have a good game against his former team Sevilla’s arch-rival, Betis.

The group then headed to the NH Central Convenciones hotel, and Pepe and Marcelo Sunshine came out to sign autographs and pose for pictures in the habitual meet and greet.  Marcelo is the only player who can outshine the babies he poses with in the adorability category.  And I love the pink watch!

Later that night, we got this tweet.  Raúl Albiol: “after two hours of listening to Pipa speak non-stop, I’m going to bed, I’m sure that I’m going to dream about his voice… what a phenomenon!!!”  Jajaja!!  This reminds me of when El Chori had to describe Pipita, and he said, “ufff, he talks a lot, very talkative.”

And this morning, the players had breakfast and a light stretching session.  It appears that Mou provided the entertainment during breakfast, with Xabi chuckling politely and Antonio doing his best to ignore him.  As for the stretching session, well, everyone is learning from Xabi, no?  Pipita is definitely trying to pick up some tips, while Sergio touches himself.

They also found time to enjoy the lovely sunny day in Sevilla, and take photos with each other!  Poor Chori doesn’t seem to be fully awake yet… maybe he did spend all night dreaming about Pipa!  After all, he admitted he had to put up with Pipa last night, and this morning as well, so why not in between también?

The other things.

While the team was traveling to Sevilla, this year’s edition of the Premios Alma organized by the Realmadrid Foundation was taking place at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos.  On hand to honor the winners this year were Ángel di María and Fábio Coentrão, who had been left behind in Madrid due to injury (no sign of Ricardo Carvalho…) in representation of the first team.  As you can see from all the photos from the event, everyone was wearing suits except these two guys.  Ángel looked quite alright, if not a bit like a priest, but Fábio’s pants!!  I cannot believe he chose to wear low-slung, light blue pants, and with white sneakers!

There was also a delegation from Castilla (Alberto Toril and staff, plus the three captains (Juanfran, Nacho and Carvajal) and the three most recognizable faces on the team (Álex, Álvaro Morata and Joselu), the basketball team, the always elegant Zinedine Zidane, as well as former players such as Luis Figo, Hugo Sánchez or Iván Helguera (ahhh, I just realized how much I missed Iván and Lorena’s always “original” fashion choices), plus others who retain links with the club (i.e. Emilio Butragueño).

Nice of them to put the basketball players right in the middle.

One of the most illustrious madridistas, Plácido Domingo, received the “extraordinary” award for this year.  He said he was very happy and honored to receive this award, and connected the number 10 with several things: the 110 years of history of the club, the 10-point advantage over Barcelona, and the possibility of winning La Décima (the 10th Champions League cup) this year (which is his desire).  He also brought the audience to their feet when he sang an a capella version of the centennial hymn.  The other award winners were Oscar Pistorius for his sporting career; Misiones Salesianas for their work in international cooperation; the Military Emergencies Unit of the Spanish Armed Forces for their collaboration in national projects, specifically their work in Lorca; and UNICEF for their charity work, specifically the “donate a day” campaign.  Marquitos also received a tribute during the gala.

Another illustrious madridista and former player, Julio Iglesias, participated in the gala via a taped message, in which he congratulated the club for its 110th anniversary: “there’s no place in the universe where Real Madrid doesn’t exist.  I am honored to be able to give a hug to all the fans that the club has had over its 110 years.  I want to thank Real Madrid for allowing us to dream.”  José Mourinho and captains Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos also “attended” the gala in this way, and also shared their best wishes for the club for its anniversary.  How much do you want to bet Ángel spent more time looking at his phone than the stage?

Our little Castilla boys seemed to spend the entire evening acting like (adorable little) fans, running around and finding all the famous people they could to take pictures with them and then of course tweeting them (the repeat offenders were Álex and Álvaro).  They were able to get Luis Figo, Imanol Arias (an actor and UNICEF ambassador), Alfredo di Stéfano…

… plus basketball players Sergio Llull and Jaycee Carroll to pose with them.  Notice how MFC ABMM is just as tall as these basketball players!  Well, maybe they chose some of the shorter ones on purpose, because Sergio is “only” 1.90m and Jaycee 1.88m.  FYI, Álex is 1.83m tall and MFC is the same as Sergio, at 1.90m.

And of course, they also took pictures with each other.  They all look pretty dapper in their matching suits, no?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    March 10, 2012 14:32

    I think smartest press that Jose gave! Very sensible answers. I hope canterano get chances you promised Jose, how adorable they looked, why didnt Guti-Haz attend gala..I would been disappointed if Julio attended and iker didn’t to see him

    Fabio don’t give Ramos new ideas por favor! I was wondering where is grandpa as well.

    Kids adorable, Ivan jajajaja

  2. manie permalink
    March 10, 2012 15:04

    When Mou talked about the cantera, I was really sad to see it repeated again – only Raul, Guti, and Iker have been the most notable canteranos to come out and win significant playing time. And that was all a very, very long time ago. I understand right now it’s difficult until Castilla gets promoted, but, seriously, when will this policy change??

    On another note, what I would give to have been at the Marcelo and Pepe show?!? Or to spend all day and night with Pipita. Ha.

  3. March 10, 2012 16:36

    I couldn’t help but cringe a bit while watching Iker take those dives. They look so painful to take, and they way he keep bouncing up again… it’s almost like he’s made out of rubber!! *bows low* You rock San Iker. Long may your halo keep shining with us.

  4. March 10, 2012 16:40

    ooooh so many cuteness in this post! Marcelo with the baby, Chori teasing Pipita, the castilla boys being fanboys x))) aw

    Hoping for a good win today!

  5. Alyssa permalink
    March 10, 2012 18:15

    Hahahahaha I forgot that it was against Betis that Iker and his bffl Google Translate made that post! Good thing this one isn’t at the Bernabeu so Iker wouldn’t be tempted to arrugo there at all!

    “…while Sergio touches himself.”. If he needs any help with that, I volunteer!

    These Castilla boys are too cute! I was glued to twitter yesterday because these photos were coming so fast! I pictured them running up as a group to important people, surrounding them, photo-raping them, then running away to tweet the photos. Haha love them!

  6. Haliemeh permalink
    March 10, 2012 19:06

    so what was Pep’s very interesting response to Mou’s press conference?

  7. Sara permalink
    March 10, 2012 20:11

    I loved every single thing Mou said in his press conference! Everytime Marcelo smiles a new angel is created in heaven.

  8. AJ Nelson permalink
    March 10, 2012 20:37

    OH MY EYES….I think I blocked Pipita’s mullet from my mind. I’ll try to focus on El Chori’s bedhead instead. 🙂 Hope the boys have a great game today!

  9. Jennifer permalink
    March 10, 2012 21:38

    I’d almost forgotten about Pipita’s mullet. Thanks for the reminder? (Not.)

    The canteranos last night on Twitter – they were the best. (And I liked the matching suits. If only the big boys had worn them, too! Everyone’s eyes would have been better off…)

    Marcelo and Pepe. SO ADORABLE. How is it possible for Marcelo to be more adorable than an actual baby? I do not understand, but facts is facts…

  10. March 11, 2012 00:36

    Do you have a link to Pep’s response of what Mourinho said? I can’t find it.

  11. Jenny permalink
    March 11, 2012 04:00

    Is this the gala del Bosque refused to attend?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      March 12, 2012 14:43

      No, this one is organized by the foundation. The other one is to honor socios.

  12. March 11, 2012 04:24

    well, if it’s the only team in la liga CR7 hasn’t scored against, that’s sure changed now! what a match! 🙂 now he’s 126 goals in 127 games — that’s amazing. i admit, i was a long time coming round to him, for multiple reasons, but there is absolutely no denying his talent.

    arrugo means … wrinkle? (according to google translate) iker does not … wrinkle? i don’t underst–you know what? never mind. it’s ik-glish. it isn’t meant to make sense (and i wouldn’t have it any other way). 🙂

    it’s amazing that iker is continuing to break records left and right. that’s the beauty of spending your entire career with one club (as well as being incredibly gifted and talented). i can’t even fathom him in 2017–that seems so far away. still, goalies do tend to have longer ‘life spans’ in football than field players, so hopefully he’ll stay with us for as long as possible. i can’t imagine a RM without him in it.

    (by the way, that training video made me dizzy! how he doesn’t get vertigo from all that turning in circles and diving to and fro is amaysing!)

    that photo of chori and pipa, in light of what albiol said the night before, is hilarious. he looks exhausted, whilst pipa is all happy and alert and throwing signs. hee! i love it!

    our castilla boys make me smile. i want to pinch their cheeks! so cute!

    gracias, una!

  13. Beta permalink
    March 12, 2012 02:10

    There is a Esteban’s pic HQ version? I need it!!!

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