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all set for Osasuna!

March 31, 2012

Real Madrid takes on Osasuna tonight (20h) as we continue to try and hold on to (and hopefully widen, that is, if Athletic and Javi (!!!) come through for us) our lead in the Liga. We have both bad and good memories of the Reyno de Navarra, but since I like to focus on the positive, what I remember is Gonzalo Higuaín’s last minute golazo there on May 4, 2008, which gave us our 31st Liga (such memories – wet players in a manpile, Iker celebrating like a crazy man, bleeding Gaby Heinze, Diarra biting Pipita’s shirt…). Anyway, if Pipita – the only player on the current team to have scored for Madrid in Pamplona (Granero did it with Getafe) – scores tonight, it will be his 100th goal in white.

Presenting my new favorite boyband, KKRMM! Check out their new single, “Iker, Y U So Pale?”, which follows their smash platinum record, “Heartbreaker (Yeah U Pipita).”

After one day off, the team returned to training, the first of two sessions before this Saturday’s game at the always difficult Reyno de Navarra against Osasuna. Nacho and Tomás Mejías joined 19 players from the first team in the session, while the good news came in the form of the presence of José Callejón, who jogged and did ball exercises with Carlos Lalín.

Mesut’s hair looked good no? I like what the wind did to it! And of course, Marcelo made sure that the canteranos felt right at home.

Over in the UAE, FP helped to lay the cornerstone of the future Real Madrid Resort Island. He was accompanied to Ras al-Khaimah by JAS, Emilio Butragueño and Zinedine Zidane.

On Friday, Madrid trained once again in Valdebebas. Tomás Mejías joined 19 first team players, including José Callejón, who trained at the same intensity as his teammates. Nevertheless, he didn’t make the cut for the game, and neither did Pepe, as he’s sanctioned for this game. Missing out due to sickness is Sami Khedira, while Lass and Carvalho are injured. Ángel di María is making his return after a month and a half out due to injury, though Mou said at the press conference that Angelito is not ready to play all 90 minutes yet.

(Check out this article from AS. Someone has written that Lass is out due to a “phantom pregnancy” and Carvalho due to “old age.” Jajaja!!! Does AS not have an editor?)

The C team…

Seen at the session: Álvaro Arbeloa bouncing a ball off of Pipita Higuaín’s head while the latter was deep in conversation with Raúl Albiol, so it was totally an attempt to break up the conversation, no? Even though the throw didn’t look like there was too much power behind it, Pipita rubbed his head and gave Alvarito a little shove. Another moment was Cris making his shorts super short. Maybe the equipment managers should request super short shorts (think the NBA in the 1980s) from Adidas for Cris? See the rest of the video here

… and also check out this one of the team doing their warm-up exercises. Look out for Gonzalo chattering away (1:04), Iker and Kaká trying to coordinate their movements (2:07), Cris shoving Marcelo and then Marcelo aiming a kick at Cris (2:12), Marcelo and Cris starting the dancing (2:24), and continuing, well at least Cris did (2:35 and 2:50).

The call-up list is as follows.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Tomás Mejías.

Defenders: Varane, Arbeloa, Marcelo, Ramos, Albiol, Coentrão.

Midfielders: Altintop, Sahin, Özil, Granero, Kaká, Xabi Alonso, Di María.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema.

The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

At his press conference, Mou was accompanied by his assistants Rui Faria and Aitor Karanka. When asked a question about whether he and Iker get along (there have been rumors lately that a huge rift exists between the two), with the reporter mentioning “you and the people around you,” Mou responded, “I don’t have people around me. That doesn’t exist. There are people who speak or identify themselves as being my people, but I don’t have anyone. I could have people for my private issues, for my social life, for my investments, for my things, but on a sporting level, I don’t have anyone. In terms of sports, my people are those two who are here (indicating Rui Faria and Aitor Karanka) and the other two who are downstairs (Silvino Lauro and José Morais). But I don’t have people. It’s just me, no one else. As for the story about Casillas, it is a good story, but it doesn’t exist, I have no problem with him and I don’t have any problems with any player.” [José Mario was at the training session, and he, his father and Iker were seen chatting.]

When asked why he decided to speak with the press today when he hadn’t after the last two games, Mou responded that it was a good question, but not his problem, rather that of the press: “it’s like this. Last season, after the Champions League semifinals, we came out to speak, we spoke from the heart, and you all killed us. This season, in the Copa we came out once again criticizing the referee, we opened our hearts again and we were criticized for this. In Villarreal, we all decided not to speak about this game, we weren’t going to criticize, we weren’t going to speak in the heat of the moment, we weren’t going to say anything that later on we could be sanctioned for. We went to dinner, we ate, we didn’t like the meal, but we went home in the most tranquil way possible without creating any controversies. We believed that we were doing something positive, but in the end, you all criticized us just the same. That’s why the problem is not ours, but yours, you all have to decide what’s the best way: speaking the truth and possibly creating controversies, and speaking no matter what the situation is, or not speaking in situations when we believe there might be controversies or problems or criticism of those who deserve to be criticized. You all have to decide which of the two is the best. Because the consequence for us is the same. We were criticized when we spoke and criticized when we didn’t speak… but I think we did well. There was not a single word of criticism directed towards that man who was the referee after the game. Not one word, not from me and not from the players. I think we did well.”

Yes, that’s right, his answer was more of an essay than an answer.

Following the training session, the team traveled to Pamplona, landing at Noáin around 2oh on Friday afternoon. Around 350 fans were waiting for them at the airport, and so Iker and Sergio stopped to sign some autographs between the airport terminal and where the team bus was parked. From the airport, the team traveled to their hotel, where about 500 fans were waiting for them. Since the hotel is located close to the site of the botellón at the Carpa Universitaria (the biggest university party in Pamplona, which lasted until 06h on Saturday morning), many (possibly) drunk students came to “welcome” them with whistles and shouts of things like “tonight you’re not going to sleep!” and one person even threw a bottle of kalimotxo at the bus, without causing any damage.

The hotel had made sure that it was properly soundproofed earlier this week, so hopefully the players were able to have a good night’s sleep.

Later that evening, Xabi Alonso and Ángel di María came out to sign autographs and pose for pictures with fans in the traditional meet and greet session. Several years down the road, that little kid is going to regret that he couldn’t muster up a smile when he literally had Xabi Alonso’s head a few mere centimeters from his own.

Other things. I can’t let this one go by without talking about it. On Thursday in the Europa League, Schalke was taking on Athletic, and since Schalke is full of former madridistas and Athletic full of Javi (!!!) (and perhaps a couple of future madridistas? Actually, I like those boys where they are and hope they won’t leave), I watched that game, and it was incredible, especially Raúl. What a game! And his second goal? It was a bit reminiscent of Zizou’s goal to win La Novena, no? Guti tweeted, “you’re God, Rulo, our great captain is incredible.” And Fernando Llorente, who also had a fantastic performance, said after the game, “what Raúl is doing is incredible, that bastard [said affectionately] continues to score goals in pairs. He’s a phenomenon, and I’m happy things are going well for him as well.” And Óscar de Marcos said, “Raúl is spectacular, for me he was the best one in the game.” A day earlier, when Javi (!!!) had been asked about playing against Raúl, he said, “it’s going to be an honor to face Raúl. Raúl is special for his way of being, for his competitiveness and for the effort he’s always shown on the field.”

On Friday at his press conference, Pep Guardiola said the following of Raúl (hopefully it’s missing the usual sarcasm and irony that his statements are known for): “I would say Raúl is the most important Spanish player of all time. He’s impressive. He’s the best, he has been the best. Yesterday, he scored a volley goal, and the first goal is something he’s done 500 times. He’s an example for all those who are just starting in football. He’s played so many years, he’s scored so many goals in his career. He’s incredible.”

I loved this tweet from Kaká, after he finished chatting with his followers: “Tks for all messages. Nice chat with you guys. Now it’s time to play Mario Bros with Luca. He’s always Luigi, cause it has L like Luca.” How adorable is Luca? And please tell me that Kaká plays as Princess Peach (if she’s available). And Ángel di María has been honored with a London Underground stop named after him, in the run-up to the Summer Olympics. All of the stops have been renamed after famous Olympic athletes, putting Ángel in the same company as athletes such as Michael Phelps, Cassius Clay, Michael Jordan…

And how cute is Marcelo? He has the most adorable face!

If you understand Spanish, read this article.

And of course, Friday was Sergio’s birthday, and his friend Gabriel Lijtenstein recruited a bunch of Sergio’s nearest and dearest to make a video for him. I’m always partial to Alejandro Sanz, but I loved Alexis (Mister Chip) with the trophy on his head and Carlos Latre’s imitations!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Maddi permalink
    March 31, 2012 17:16

    I loved it! “Phantom pregnancy” JAJAJAJA
    And the boyband… Una you’re a genius!

  2. Pammie permalink
    March 31, 2012 18:01

    lmao @ the songs of the new boyband xD

    aw look at Alvaro standing there all alone, demanding attention, poor Alvarito.

    That was one epic ramble of Mou, just one sentence would have been enough I guess.

    Wow an underground stop named after Angelito! He got the Warwick Avenue station on the Bakerloo line right next to Paddington (which Messi got)

    So much love for Raul, didn’t he win a reader poll for best Spanish player as well this week?

    I hope Pipita can score for us today and they’ll leave Pamplona with 3 points in their backpacks.

    Thanks for the great round-up and have a great weekend, UM!

    • Pammie permalink
      March 31, 2012 18:16

      I took a close look on the map and Ferenc Puskas got the Wembley Central station, that’s a lovely nod to the legend.

  3. manie permalink
    March 31, 2012 18:12

    I am dying at the AS article. Lass and phantom pregnancy???! Tooo hilarious. And Sergio needs an extra finger for his picture. Unless he wants to stay 25 (or 52) forever.

    • manie permalink
      March 31, 2012 18:30

      Oh and with respect to that article – I was happy Mou told the press to shove it! He’s right, and that opinion piece was right as well. Real Madrid is criticized when it speaks out, when it doesn’t speak out, when Cristiano celebrates, when he doesn’t celebrate, when Pipa scores he should have passed, when he passes he should have scored. So over it! I am happy Real Madrid is dignified and respects its opponents, whatever their shortcomings, because it values sportsmanship.

  4. Gabriela permalink
    March 31, 2012 19:01

    Did you notice how Marcelo sticks to Benzema in this training, since Pepe is absent? I think he has a think for the baldies, jaja

    I couldn’t watch Schalke vs Athletic, I was stuck at work 😦

    This article you linked from El Mundo is very good. Such double standards, I’m glad someone is talking about it. I was shocked with Messi’s behavior on wednesday when people didn’t pass him the ball! But it wasn’t only with Tello, he complained even to Xavi. Messi is such a prick, hiding behind this fake humbleness façade. Exactly like Guardiola!

    I’m so glad Angelito is back to the squad! It was about time, we really need him.

  5. Ana permalink
    April 1, 2012 00:23

    i wholeheartedly agree with that article about señorío

  6. Jenny permalink
    April 1, 2012 02:19

    Raul is so happy in Germany. Everyone adores him – his teammates, his club and the fans. We’re all hoping he stays and the club can come up with the money to keep him.

    Those pictures of Marcelo are so ridiculous. He’s like a ball of toothy sunshine!

  7. ollalla permalink
    April 1, 2012 03:55

    Thnx una for the wonderful news. Argh, I would kill to have hairs like Sergio’s!!!

  8. April 1, 2012 13:53

    Oh, I am so busy I can hardly follow the games and the blog, I hope I will get rid of my work soon to be able to update myself better! Cute first picture, adorable! Oh,a dn Serhio’s hair, so shiny!

  9. maria permalink
    April 1, 2012 14:53

    What a phenomenon is Raul!!! I don’t think pep was being sarcastic about him… I read he payed an homage to Raul at a award event, and said the same thing. Plus,I think they’re pretty good friends off the field, dining together, and Raul came to say hi at barcelona practice in Germany, before the Bayern Leverkusen game. Anyway, gotta respect an amazing player like raul and I might even agree with guardiola in this one, raul really is the best!!
    I loved the boy band “catch” up there, the boys are so adorable!! Una, tell me, is pipa a heartbraker?? whi is that “hit” dedicated to him?? I never heard anything from pipa’s love life!!!

    • unamadridista permalink*
      April 2, 2012 17:11

      Oh Pep was definitely sincere with what he said about Raúl, my comment was just to poke fun at his usual style.

    • garyl permalink
      April 2, 2012 17:52

      Good question!!! i’m curious about to!!!

  10. camila permalink
    April 1, 2012 19:16

    thanks for the el mundo article 😀

  11. helina permalink
    April 1, 2012 22:42

    Love love love that pic of KKRMM and I totally cracked to those song names you made up 😀

    Great post, thanks 🙂

  12. Marie permalink
    April 2, 2012 03:09

    Hahaha, a Real Madrid boyband, I love it. And Arbeloa and Albiol – don’t tell me there’s trouble in paradise! I’m sure they’ll resolves their lovers spat 😛 In other news, I’m so bored of all the rumours about infighting – even if it was all true, the media’s constant obsession with it is tiring. They should talk about something else.

  13. April 2, 2012 23:46

    Iker, Y U So Pale? LOVE IT. jajajajajajaja!

    between the alleged distance between A&A (that little ball toss by arbeloa smacks of jealousy, jajajaja!) and the alleged tension between mou and iker (the best thing i read online yesterday: “mourinho decides against selling casillas” AS. IF. on about a thousand different levels!), i don’t like all the negativity. we are a team! though mou’s answer is quite right — he’s damned if he does (talk to the press) and he’s damned if he doesn’t.

    marcelo’s sunshine can make even the worst day a bit brighter. i ought to cut that photo out and stick it to my wall. 🙂

    wonder who lass’s baby daddy was? ;p

    happy belated, sergio!

  14. Diana permalink
    April 5, 2012 18:22

    KKRMM! They’ll give One Direction a run for their money, haha! 😀

    Catching up on my news, and it’s always a placer to read your blog! :’D

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