ICYMI – the ¡qué rabia! edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Málaga [2012-03-18, Liga jornada 28, 1-1].
I love it, this game is already being called the “Cazorlazo” (and when I wrote about an Iker-Santi reunion, that was not what I meant). And ironic that with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuaín on the cusp of centennials, it was our other forward, Karim Benzema, who was the scorer on Sunday night at the Bernabéu? Anyway, there’s not much else that can said about this game, so let’s start with the post.
ONE. As you know, I find what happens before and after games just as interesting as what occurs during games, and this time around, we had Kaká and Marcelo with their serious faces, and Sergio trying to excite the Bernabéu.
Sergio and Xabi encouraged their own teammates during the warm-up, with Sergio asking for intensity (intensity, joder, intensity!) and Xabi requesting everyone to be active in both the offense and defense.
TWO. The players came out wearing shirts that read “Ánimo Abidal” and “Get well soon Muamba” on each side, with some of them wearing the Abidal message on the front and others wearing the Muamba message on the front. This earned Madrid a nice tweet from Cesc: “Great gesture from R. Madrid sending their prayers to my friends Abidal and Fabrice Muamba. Respect.” But no “…” from Piqué? Anyway, this is the type of gesture that makes Madrid the grand club it is.
Plus, it’s always nice to see the players giving high fives to Agustín Herrerín as they emerge from the tunnel.
THREE. Mou spent the few moments right before kickoff greeting the delegation from Málaga, including Manuel Pellegrini (who received a nice round of applause when his name was announced), as well as Ruud van Nistelrooy, also a recipient of a warm welcome from the Bernabéu (more on that later).
FOUR. I love this moment when Karim decided to do a chin-up using the goal post.
SIX. The only goal we were able to convert on the night resulted from the collaboration between Cris and Karim.
Following the goal, the Bernabéu sang one of its anthems, the “¿Cómo no te voy a querer?” to celebrate, and Karim Benzema stuck his tongue out.
Mesut, Karim and Pepe are all like, “Cris, you da man!”
SEVEN. Ruud van Nistelrooy received a very warm welcome back from the fans. He received his first cheer of the night when Málaga’s players were announced over the PA system. When he checked in, he received more applause, and at the conclusion of the game, some fans also sang his name: “Van Nistelrooy, lo lo lo lo… Van Nistelrooy” as he blew kisses to the crowd. After the game, Ruud said, “the affection from Madrid’s fans is impressive. I don’t have words to describe what I feel, the welcome was incredible. I can only say thank you.” This is what I love about the Bernabéu, how we never forget those who have worn the shirt with dignity and sacrifice.
EIGHT. Other things the Bernabéu did. In the 75th minute, the two fondos exchanged an “¡hola fondo norte, hola fondo sur!” When José Callejón checked in, the ultras sang his name: “José Callejón, ¡José Callejón!” José, meanwhile, did his best to distract me.
NINE. For a few glorious moments, we got to see Esteban Granero and Xabi Alonso together on the field. As I said in an earlier post, Esteban has graduated, and so we got to see some of what he learned.
TEN. Iker, the human banana.
ELEVEN. In the 84th minute, a little kid managed to elude all the security guards and other people ringed around the sideline and ran onto the field, making a beeline for Sergio Ramos, who wasn’t too impressed. How many of you would also run right for Sergio?
TWELVE. After the game, Iker said, “it makes you very upset when you’re scored on in the very end, but there’s no need to get alarmed and you have to think about the next game. The team is good physically and we’ve shown that the entire season. Today we could not do anything, Cazorla scored a golazo on us and you have to congratulate him… you have to continue and think about the next match. Sometimes it’s good for us to receive a warning.”
Our capi also said, “we never thought the Liga was done with, you have to defend this position game by game. We were up 10 points and it makes you crazy to lose two. We have to be united until the end to win. The Bernabéu is a demanding public and we understand that.”
Meanwhile, Cris looked a bit silly wearing his hat like this.
THIRTEEN. The Mou corner.
Following the game, José Mourinho said nothing had happened, and “that tying a game is normal. If my team had lost for because it had a bad attitude, didn’t work hard or because it thought it would be easy, I wouldn’t be satisfied, but when the team gives it everything it has, I have no reason to complain.”
Mou, looking like a duck.
Our coach also didn’t complain about the referee, although he did point out that “the referee made two very big mistakes, but it’s okay, because he can make mistakes.” As for the Liga, Mou reaffirmed that he doesn’t believe the Liga is won until it is mathematically so: “we know there are 33 points left and it doesn’t matter whether the difference is eight or 10 points because the championship is still open. We only worry about ourselves because if we win enough points, we’ll be champions.”
As for the public, Mou said, “I think it’s phenomenal that the Bernabéu has affection for and applauds those players who played here and did great things as players and as men.”
In related news, Eladio Paramés sank to a new low (I know, you didn’t think it was possible, did you?). He tweeted after the game, “congratulations to all fathers, including the one of the referee today. He’s not to be blamed for the son he has.” What a horrible thing to say!
FOURTEEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
FIFTEEN. Other notes. I almost never read Madrid’s web site’s match reports, so I don’t know how long they’ve had this feature of “heat maps.” Anyway, I just thought it was interesting to see how they did as a team…
… and how several individuals did. I think you can guess who was responsible for each of the maps below, no?
It’s always nice to have Málaga play us at home, because starting this year, it means that Fernando Hierro makes a return to the Bernabéu. He deserves a proper sendoff, no? He was such a great player and captain for us for so many years.
And here’s a possible reason for Fábio Coentrão’s absence as of late. According to El Mundo, Mou found out that Fábio had smoked during his birthday celebration a couple of weeks ago in Torrelodones, and he didn’t like that. Anyway, here are also a couple of better pictures from that celebration, of little Cristiano Junior and little Enzo. I wonder if they played together during the dinner? That would be the most adorable thing ever!
SIXTEEN. It looks like we followed Castilla’s lead, because on Sunday, they also scored a goal (Jorge Casado) in the first half and then gave one up at the very end of the game to leave things 1-1 as they tied Sanse. They’re still on top of the table though, just like the first team.
At least Real Madrid basketball won, as they too held on to their lead on top of the table ahead of Barcelona. Jaycee Carroll scored 36 points as Madrid beat CAI Zaragoza 85-71.