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ICYMI – the forward(s) edition

March 16, 2012

In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. CSKA Moscow [2012-03-14, Champions League round of 16 second leg, 4-1].

Well, we have taken one step forward towards to La Décima thanks to the prowess of our forwards on Wednesday night, and are now in the quarterfinals!  In this game, Cristiano, Karim and Gonzalo combined for four goals, and on the season they have scored 85 goals (42, 22 and 21, respectively).  Just like Mou, I wouldn’t want anyone else.

ONE.  Since we’re on the subject of our forwards, let’s start with the goals.  Gonzalo Higuaín opened up the scoring on Wednesday night, and the celebration saw the typical head rubbing and Álvaro Arbeloa jumping.  That continued with the second goal, as Pepe and Marcelo were of course the first to reach Cristiano, though they refrained from doing any dancing.

I love the expressions on everyone’s faces, and how tightly Marcelo is gripping Cristiano!

Karim Benzema scored 33 seconds after he stepped onto the field in substitution of Pipita, which was also his first minutes in weeks.  He described that goal as “I got rid of the defender and Özil gave me a super pass.  I shot at the goal and the ball came back to my feet.  I was lucky.”  That pass really was super, no?  And the last goal was notable for the fact that Karim could have taken the shot, instead of passing it to Cristiano.  I loved what Karim had to say about that course of events: “I love scoring, but you have to think first about the good of the team.  When Pepe gave me the pass, I saw that the goal was closed from my angle.  I had the option of shooting, but there was a teammate in a good position.  If it had been anyone else and not Cristiano, I would still have passed it.”  I wonder what Álvaro is saying to Mesut there?

This little moment of celebration is fantastic, because which of us, if given the chance to touch Sergio’s hair, would let that opportunity pass by?

TWO.  As the team walked through the stadium to the locker room, Cris turned to the camera and winked, and so of course I had to include that slightly awkward moment.  Later on, Cris was quite affectionate with his little mascot.  He and Kaká also shared a moment while they were waiting for the Champions League hymn to finish playing.

THREE.  I just like this picture of Álvaro.  Is this his “segundo más empanado” face?

FOUR.  Cris showed up with slicked down hair and that part, just like at the press conference the previous day, and his stellar performance earned him the highest praise from the Bernabéu, cheers, applause and the singing of his name.  ¡Cristiano, Cristiano!

FIVE.  I think Esteban Granero is no longer in training, no?  Look at how boss he was just sitting on the bench, and how mesmerizing he was when he was stripping, if you can get over the fact that the clothes just seem to fall off of him (just like we imagine it to, no?).

SIX.  Things we love: Karim Benzema’s lips and eyelashes (I’m so jealous at how long they are)…

… (plus a bonus picture of Benz; he needs to find a Spanish girlfriend named Mercedes, jaja)…

… Mesut’s legs, and all the talent within them, and of course, Sergio’s hair.

SEVEN.  As soon as the game ended, José Mourinho walked from the bench to the fondo sur of the stadium, to applaud the Ultra Sur fans there.  I’ll say it again.  Though they did cheer the team on throughout the game, even as others whistled at the team, their behavior is reprehensible the majority of the time, and they shouldn’t receive encouragement.

Anyway, what Mou did next was great, he hugged and high-fived his players one by one…

… as well as the players of CSKA Moscow.

EIGHT.  Meanwhile, Cris waved and blew kisses to his family, and it looks like he also thanked the crowd for their support, and perhaps promised a shirt for his poor victim that night, CSKA’s keeper Sergei Chepchugov.  I hope Sergei got the souvenir he wanted!

NINE.  The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

Xabi of course received a yellow card during the course of this game, which means that he’ll miss the first leg of the quarterfinals.

TEN.  After the game, Sergio Ramos spoke about our fantastic forwards: “we’re very happy that our three forwards are all on a great scoring streak right now.  Karim has found the goal again after his injury.  The competition is good for the team, all of them are great and in the training sessions you can sense this competition.”  He also said Xabi would be missed in the next CL game, and that “if it were up to the players, Mou would continue for many years.”

Meanwhile, Karim, who was wearing quite an unsightly jacket, expressed his joy over Pipita’s goal: “we’re a team, each one of us is important and I’m very happy for Higuaín’s first goal.  There’s neither Higuaín nor Benzema, we’re all together and to win the Champions we have to be like that.”

As for Pipita, he was looking muy pijo.

ELEVEN.  The coaches corner.

I love how Rui, Aitor and Silvino were all patting each other before the game, with Mou receiving taps on the back.  And this moment with Mou and the water bottle reminds us of that similar incident in Donosti, no, back when Mou still wore suits… 

In his post-game declarations, Mou had this to say to the Bernabéu: “I don’t criticize or comment on the support of the fans [he just gestures, right?].  We will continue asking for it, but I don’t want to criticize it afterward.  We saw that they whistled at us and so I have to thank that small group behind the goal for their continuous support.”

As for his players, he said, “we can’t cry because Xabi is not playing [in the next game].  We’re good, there won’t be any problems because Lass will play, or Granero with Khedira.  He will rest, and so he can play Liga games.  The forwards scored but the most important thing is playing as a team, as a collective.  Kaká had a spectacular game.  He’s never worked as hard as he has now.  He worked fantastically for the team… and the best occasions in the first half were created by him.”

TWELVE.  Other notes.

Accompanying FP in the presidential box were Madrid Mayor Ana Botella and her husband, former Spanish president José María Aznar; Toni Grande (Vicente del Bosque showed up at the Athletic-Manchester United game on Thursday); José Mercé; and Bertín Osborne.

Rubén de la Red also attended the game, and got a round of applause from the fans, who also chanted his name.  He thanked them via twitter, saying, “thanks to the fans of Real Madrid for the gesture today, thank you from the heart for that moment.  It was very emotional to see such huge support” and “thank you so much to everyone in the Bernabéu today, I got very emotional with so many gestures of affection!!  A big hug.”  I miss him!

Madrid will face Cyprian team APOEL (making “apoellos” a trending topic on twitter; it’s a play on words of “a por ellos”) in the quarterfinals following Friday’s CL draw.  The first leg will be played on March 27 in the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, with the return leg at the Bernabéu on April 4.  Should we pass that round – and I hope we will – we’ll meet the winner of the Olympique de Marseille-Bayern Munich match-up in the semifinals.

Have a great weekend, hopefully filled with sunshine!

39 Comments leave one →
  1. Christine permalink
    March 16, 2012 15:56

    Great match and great post (like always). I love the gif of esteban stripping, but there was an even hotter situation when he ran back to the bench before his substitution and while he was running he pulled of his training shirt and had nothing under it (*sigh*). Unfortunately I was sitting to far away to take good pictures 😉 hope he gets some playing time on sunday too!! He’s almost as much jefe like Xabi.

    • unamadridista permalink*
      March 16, 2012 16:01

      Yes!! Too bad the cameras didn’t capture that moment! Did you have a good time at the game?

      • Christine permalink
        March 16, 2012 21:22

        I had a great time!!! And I’m going to watch the game on sunday too 🙂 It’s always a great pleasure to watch games live and when I’m back home I will send you some pictures to share with your readers if you want.

        • unamadridista permalink*
          March 18, 2012 10:14

          That would be lovely, thanks Christine!

        • March 18, 2012 12:20

          Lucky you!! Watching my beloved team win live is one of my dreams.

      • noviana noor aisyiah permalink
        March 17, 2012 05:52

        😮 lucky you…….. my dream is to see them play live. uff i’m from INdonesia so far away from Madrid 😦 but thanks UNa for your great post. i can always follow them closely 🙂

  2. gg1234 permalink
    March 16, 2012 17:11

  3. maria permalink
    March 16, 2012 17:16

    Una, I was wondering, how often do u go to the Bernabeu?? Are u a regular at the stadium?? I don’t know what’s your job on daily basis, but u should definitely be working for Real Madrid TV, maybe interviewing the players, or just covering their everyday life at Valdebebas or at the “concentración”… You’d be amazing doing that!!! =)

    • unamadridista permalink*
      March 18, 2012 10:13

      As often as my schedule allows!

      Jajaja, thanks!

  4. Ally permalink
    March 16, 2012 18:06

    I’m quite happy with Apoel Nicosia, but it’s easy to underestimate them.. they did make it through to the last 8!
    Haha, it would be awesome if Benz found himself a girlfriend named Mercedes 😀

  5. March 16, 2012 19:19

    The impression I got of the goal celebration following Benzema’s goal… Benz looked at Ozil as if to say, “Oh no you didn’t!” (because that pass was so spot-on perfect) and then Ozil’s return expression was “Oh, yes YOU did!” (because Benz had literally just walked onto the pitch). They were both completely smitten with each other.

  6. Vicky permalink
    March 16, 2012 20:05

    Since im from cyprus im going to the match but im a very big fan of APOEL so my heart will be cut in 2 pieces:( anyway ill be your reporter for that match:P

    • unamadridista permalink*
      March 18, 2012 10:14

      Great! Looking forward to hearing your take on Madrid’s visit and the game!

      • Vicky permalink
        March 18, 2012 14:05

        I just hope i wont faint when im gonna see live all of real’s hottie players:P

  7. Lizzie permalink
    March 16, 2012 21:31

    Hi una, how are you? I hope you’re doing great..

    I’ve been a reader since late ’09 & this is, in my opinion, the best blog in the world!!! (Now can you please kidnap Mesut for me?) 😉

    Anyway I would just like to say thank you for taking the time to write such wonderful posts. I get almost everything that I want here.. the eye candy, the important news & information etc.

    I’m all the way from Malaysia & my Spanish is really pathetic so the translations that you do, they are a life saver.. 😀

    So again.. thank you, thank you, thank you! I hope you’ll continue to write for as long as you can (forever & ever would be awesome) because I would be so lost without this blog.. & not just me, so many Madridistas will be too.

    OK, that’s all from me.. Take care & have a wonderful weekend.. ❤

  8. AnaT permalink
    March 16, 2012 23:17

    Great post for a great win!

    What website are the pics with this watermark from?

  9. Karina permalink
    March 16, 2012 23:39

    I love LOVE LOVE your blog!!

    I was up this morning at 4am (I live in California) to watch the live CL draw. I was pretty happy with the results.

    Hala Madrid!

  10. Trixie permalink
    March 17, 2012 01:40

    always look forward to your posts! they consistently give the best insights into the matches!

  11. wandering permalink
    March 17, 2012 02:06

    The picture of the wall is FANTASTIC!!! The expressions on their faces are priceless. Hahaha

    The scoreline doesn’t really justify the game. It was tough out there. And Benz scoring in less than a minute on the pitch!! Had me screaming my head off and it was around 4 in the morning here in the Philippines. The things we do for love.

    iHala Madrid!

  12. yojo permalink
    March 17, 2012 05:44

    Im glad Gol Tv doesn’t cover the Champions League: they are very much Barca-lovers. I think Mou should have given Sahin some playing time since they were already winning. I do wish Granero becomes a regular starter, especially that he’s a cantero, but I just pity Sahin, that’s all. And now they’re going to loan him out? Poor guy.If Xabi becomes another Scholes, Sahin and/or Granero would have to wait for a very long time since Mou seems to value the silent soldier Khedira more. Unless Mou quits or Madrid gets rid of him. Only then would those two boys get a chance.

  13. Iram permalink
    March 17, 2012 08:25

    una have a good weekend urself. thanks for ur post. 🙂 I’m excited abt the QF’s. maybe it’s too soon to say but i can see them in the semis! 🙂

  14. March 17, 2012 08:27

    I liked this match much better than the first leg. This was the Madrid I’ve grown accustomed to…the passing, the creativeness, etc.

    Great recap Una. You always cover the most important parts of the game. 😀 Loved the comment about Benz/Mercedes! How funny would that be?!

    The faces of the guys in the wall pic are priceless! And the face on the CSKA player when Xabi got the card? Whew! If looks could kill.

    Sergio’s hair….sigh.

    So happy that Granero is getting more playing time! He seems to be in good form and that’s great news with Xabi having to miss out the next game. Glad Mou has been showing his confidence in him. Must do wonders for Esteban’s confidence.

    Wow! Could we have gotten a better draw?! Not to over look APOEL but I was hoping it was either Chelsea or APOEL. And thankfully, Barca is in the other bracket. Seems to be the consensus is it will be an El Classico for the final but I’m still hoping for an “upset” in the Barca bracket. Would love to see what Xavi had to say then. *evil laugh*

  15. superfan permalink
    March 17, 2012 11:37

    Una! Ohmygod I’m back after more than a month of being away. A LOT of (Real Madrid) news I have to digest. But thanks to your wonderful site, I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fun catching up on everything I’ve missed.

    But, 10 points!!! And well on our way to La Décima!!! I can feel it. Aaaaahhhh!!! 🙂

  16. kiki permalink
    March 17, 2012 14:39

    That gif of Mesult’s legs is amaising! #flyingBambi! & UNF! Xabier, why so manly? UNF! ps. I enjoyed the footie too, I swear!
    (OT – Una, your boy(!!!) & all the Athletic boys were wonderful vs. MUFC, that was some very good football)

  17. ama permalink
    March 17, 2012 17:47

    I had to stop watching this game early in the second half because of a meeting, and I could not be more bummed that I missed Karim’s goal (and the pass that led up to it)!

    Thanks for your ever-diligent recapping, Una! It is indeed beautiful and sunny in New York…it feels like Marcelo is smiling at me 🙂

  18. Jenny permalink
    March 17, 2012 18:51

    Lovely match. I was blown away by Ozil’s legs (and the magic within, as you put it) – he was my man of the match. Stunning performance.

    I’m sure the Ultras know that Mourinho only means to encourage their noise and not their offensive politics (one hopes, anyway).

    James Dean on Pipita’s shirt??? If it wasn’t for you Una, I’d never know these things!

  19. Priya permalink
    March 17, 2012 18:56

    It was a great game. LOL I loved Mou’s moment, it was exactly how I was feeling with the torrid defending.
    I know we’ll do great against APOEL, it’s Bayern (who are most likely going to win) that I’m scared about.

  20. noim303 permalink
    March 17, 2012 19:05

    Crème de la crème post, as usual! What annoys me is that I don’t seem to be able to understand what Arbeloa is saying to Özil when Benzema scored the third goal. At first I thought he was saying something like ‘see, I told you you could do that!’, like a praise or something. Then, when I saw it again, it looks like he’s scolding Ozi because of something he didn’t do well… Any idea?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      March 18, 2012 10:18

      I was wondering that too, because the expression on Álvaro’s face is a bit serious for a celebration.

    • Sara permalink
      March 19, 2012 04:01

      I read somewhere Mesut was supposed to pass the ball to Alvaro because he was in a better position to assist but Mes decided to pass it straight to Karim.

      • noim303 permalink
        March 23, 2012 21:51

        That would make sense but I don’t understand why he did it when he saw it ended up well. I mean, with players like Ozi I think it’s best to let them play freely because if he becomes predictable, the full team will become predictable. I don’t think Álvaro chose the right moment to tell him that…
        And thanks to both! 🙂

  21. Pammie permalink
    March 18, 2012 00:34

    Drawing APOEL made me less nervous about Xabi being suspended, but we can’t underestimate their home advantage and got nothing to lose attitude.

    I love that all our forwards scored. What striker crisis? 😀

    have a great weekend too!

  22. March 18, 2012 03:29

    Mercedes! Lol!

  23. March 18, 2012 07:33

    Fantastic post as always. Can’t say how much I appreciate your sharing these gifs with us. I watch every single game but there’s always something that I miss, such as that moment between Ronaldo and Chepchugoev.

    Also U, please check your gmail! 🙂

  24. Jenny permalink
    March 18, 2012 10:34

    thanks for this!!

  25. Sara permalink
    March 19, 2012 04:05

    Una, what do you mean by the ultras having “reprehensible behavior”? I’ve never been to the Bernabeu but they’re usually the ones singing and cheering.

    • unamadridista permalink*
      March 20, 2012 14:47

      The ultras have a history of violent, homophobic and racist behavior.

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