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all set for Bayern Munich!

April 25, 2012

¡A por La Décima!  Madrid takes on Bayern Munich tonight (20:45h), with a spot in the Champions League final against Chelsea (hasn’t this been a fantastic couple of days?) at stake.  Let’s hope Madrid does indeed play with “pride and courage” and that history repeats itself, in the form of José Mourinho coming out on top against Bayern Munich at the Bernabéu (see May 22, 2010).

And history is on our side, because Madrid has been down 2-1 six times in a European Cup elimination round, and four out of those six times, Madrid has managed to make a comeback to win and advance.  The last time?  In the quarterfinals in 2002, against Bayern Munich (Guti and Iván Helguera scored).  The result?  La Novena.

Training & press conferences.

The team returned to training on Sunday, to begin preparing for their upcoming Champions League game.  Tomás Mejías and Josep Señé from RMC joined the 23 players from the first team for this session.  At the same time, RMC was playing Fortuna, so José Mourinho watched the first few minutes of that game before returning to the session to guide his players.  By the way, RMC won 3-1, and is currently in second place in Group 7 of the third division.  On Monday, the senior team trained again.

On Tuesday, Madrid held its last training session, where the entire team trained, plus Tomás Mejías.  During the 15 minutes that the session was open to the press, Mou mostly watched from the bench, so it was Aitor Karanka telling the players what to do.  And Xabi of course, since he is el mariscal.  Plus, what a pout from Sergio!

There was also a large banner draped across the stands, reading “with pride and courage, victory is assured.  Let’s go for La Décima.”

Twenty players were called up for the game, with Sahin, Altintop, Carvalho and Lass missing out due to Mou’s decision.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Tomás Mejías.

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

Midfielders: Kaká, Özil, Granero, Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Callejón, Di María.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín.

José Mourinho and Esteban Granero spoke to the press after the training session.

When asked who he would like to face in a hypothetical final, Mou responded, “if Barça were playing against Milan or Arsenal, I would say I don’t care, I would like the best to win, I would like whoever deserves it to win.  But when it comes to Chelsea and Inter, I have to say I have a soft spot for them.  And that’s why I can’t hide it, I would like the luck to be with my former players, and practically all of them are still there.”  As for the upcoming game, Mou described it like this: “our philosophy is that each game is important and requires responsibility.  I don’t know if the Champions is more important than the Liga, because in that one, the best always wins and in Europe that doesn’t always happen… tomorrow’s game is almost like an advance final, but my people are calm.  I don’t like for there to be an excess of emotion or a lack of it.  My people are perfectly prepared to play.”

When quizzed about last Saturday’s game, Mou said, “beating Barcelona doesn’t mean anything if in the end we don’t win the championship.  This is a marathon that you run quickly, at the speed you would a 1,500 meter race.  It’s a frenetic marathon.  If we’re champions, it will mean a lot and if we’re not, it will be worth nothing.”

And Mou finally answered a question about his future: “it’s not important, but I believe I will be here next season.  I have a contract, and there’s no reason to think that I won’t continue here.  When the last game is over, I will have time to speak with the players, with the directors and I will decide what is best for me, the club and the team.”  Later on, he added that “it’s better to be with a club for four, five, six years than one or two because you can construct stronger things.”

Esteban Granero was sitting next to Mou, showing that he will be getting some minutes tonight, although it could be as a starter or as a reserve.  During his time answering questions from the journalists, Esteban said, “this is the hour of truth, we have to demonstrate that we want to be in the final.  As Mourinho said, there’s no euphoria, but rather concentration.  Those who start the game will be ready, and those who come off the bench as well.  We’re very committed to playing in the final.  We have a small disadvantage but we’re prepared.  The fans should know that we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”  He also said some wise words: “if we win two titles, people will say there’s a change of a cycle, and if we don’t, they’ll say it was a failure.  For us, from the inside, none of that is true.”

And when asked if he had a preference between Barcelona and Chelsea in the other semifinal match-up, Esteban replied that he would watch the game as a fan: “I’ll enjoy football, but I don’t have a preference for either of the teams, because I have no link with them.”  But what about his best friend?  Doesn’t the fact that his best friend plays for one of those teams mean anything?  But I guess that wasn’t the time to state that!  As for his future, El Pirata made clear that “I’ve always wanted to be here, I’ve been here since I was eight, except for a period of two years.  My coach has always wanted for me to be here as well.  That confidence is enough.”  And we want you to always be here, Esteban!

Speaking of press conferences, during Petr Cech’s on Monday, he was asked if José Mourinho had given Chelsea any messages or advice for their game, as Mou had of course just beaten Barça two days ago.  He responded, “yeah, we had a tactical meeting a few hours ago.  He sent over the whole file and we tried to get it done.  No… no.”  Jajajaja!!!

And just a note, the following players could miss out on the final if they receive a yellow card during tonight’s game: Xabi Alonso, Fábio Coentrão, Gonzalo Higuaín and Sergio Ramos.

The love triangle (rectangle? pentagon?) update.

At the training session, Gonzalo Higuaín was seen getting up close and intimate with (gasp!) Álvaro Arbeloa!  Look how dejected El Chori is on the side, slowly walking away, head bowed down, because he can bear to even look at them.  Perhaps that’s why he decided to get friendly with Kaká later on, to make Gonzalo and Álvaro jealous.

It didn’t work, as Gonzalo turned his affections towards Marcelo as the training session progressed.  I love how the action just continues around them, as if this is perfectly normal behavior during training!  For Marcelo, it definitely is.

Later on that night, when the concentración began, things got slightly back to normal (complete normality would be the twins reunited, no?  And with no Pipita in sight).

80,000 souls.

To drum up more support from the fans for the game, we had this chain of tweets, all with the hashtag “elrmbayernloganastú,” yesterday.  Kaká kicked things off with this tweet: “tomorrow, we’re playing the most important game of the year in the Bernabéu.  We’ll give it everything we have, but we need something more, Sergio.”  Sergio replied with this: “Kaká, from the warm-up, we need to feel 80,000 souls guiding us towards victory.  We need this, Cristiano.”  Cristiano continued with this: “it’s true, Sergio.  The Bernabéu is capable of pushing us to the final and I’m sure it will do that.  Don’t you think so, Esteban?”  Esteban followed with this: “it should be a magic night.  We need everyone to push us so we can return to Munich.  What do you think, Álvaro?”  Álvaro responded with this: “of course Esteban.  It’s our opportunity to fight for La Décima!  We need a committed Bernabéu, don’t we Xabi?”  And Xabi ended with this: “it will be.  Everyone is playing this game: team and fans.  Zidane already said that.”

That would be this video.

That chain was a little fake, but the message is an important one.  And why weren’t El Chori or Gonzalo involved?  Were they too busy talking with each other?

Meanwhile, the south end of the Bernabéu will be decorated with a huge, 65-meter high mosaic featuring Juanito and his number 7 before the game tonight, as he does symbolize remontadas in Madrid history, and that’s what we need tonight.  Meanwhile, the familiar “¡Hasta el final, vamos Real!” sign is expected to be making an appearance in the north end.

Player news.

On Sunday, Pepe, Antonio Adán and Nacho (who wasn’t playing with Castilla as he was serving a one-game suspension for being sent off in the previous game) helped the Peña Madridista Ramón Mendoza to celebrate its 24th anniversary in Alcalá de Henares (which is also where Nacho is from).  Manolo Sanchís (son) was also there, as he’s the honorary president of the peña, as well as Rubén de la Red (but not sitting on the dais like the rest of them).  The members of the peña gave the players an ovation and asked Pepe and Antonio to bring them La Décima this year.  Nacho made a speech, after which Pepe said, “¡de puta madre Nacho!”  Jajaja!!  Pepe also spent two hours signing autographs and posing for pictures, always with a smile on his face.  He was accompanied by his girlfriend Sofía, who received a bouquet of roses to congratulate her for her upcoming maternity (Pepe and Sofía are expecting a girl in September).

Apparently, José Mourinho was dead set against his players participating in this kind of act right before an all-important Champions League semifinal game, but Pepe and Adán wore him down, and he finally consented under the condition that they were not allowed to speak to the press.

Here are a couple more moments from Iker’s interview with Fútbol Mundial.  I love his expressions and smile lines!

And the lovely Nagore is featured in the May issue of Telva magazine.  She’s pictured with hair stylist John Nollet, who does the hair of the likes of Monica Bellucci, Diane Kruger, Marion Cotillard or Vanessa Paradis (he was also the author of Johnny Depp’s dreadlocks in the Pirates movies).  John said of Nagore when he met her, “she’s very pretty and she has wonderful and natural hair, with great texture.”  Nollet styled Nagore’s hair to bring out her cheekbones by creating volume from her temples to her jawline (I think the result makes it look like she needs a bit of conditioner).

We also learn a little more about Nagore.  She and Xabi have just celebrated their ninth anniversary together (they got married in 2009).  Her beauty routine consists of applying Serum 7 everyday, followed by a daytime cream with protection and one with nutrients at night.  Nagore prefers natural looking makeup, with more intense looks reserved for special nights, and she never uses fluorescent colors.  As for her hair, she uses a mask once a week and puts oil on the ends.  To stay in shape, she runs, does yoga and ballet, and goes swimming with her kids on weekends.  And she adds, that on weekends “I go out to eat with Xabi.  We love trying out new restaurants.”

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. @ulonghaz permalink
    April 25, 2012 15:43

    Oh my God..oh my God..oh my God…………
    IKERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
    #faint

  2. April 25, 2012 15:50

    Nuri’s scored two goals the last two times he played against Bayern . . .
    /bitter fan

  3. April 25, 2012 15:52

    Hala Madrid!!!

    I’m already deciding what to give up if we win La Décima.

    Also congratulations to Pepe and Sofia.

    I don’t like Nagore’s look here. At all.

    Those tweets, while being kinda cute, are so incredibly fake. Couldn’t our PR dept think of anything else?!!

    Pipita – the lover boy. LOLOLOL! Love to see him in action like this. 😀

  4. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    April 25, 2012 15:59

    ok, now someone do a Ramos interview explaining how he is taking care of that hair!!

    I really lost track of how many bromance these boys have ( not complaining at all).

    A POR LA DECIMA!!! Can’t wait we can do yes we caaan! It is just perfect for us to reach finale, we need it, we want it, it is about time.

    Pirata comments are just soo touching.

    Yeah still smiling thanks for some men in white as well 😉

  5. maria permalink
    April 25, 2012 16:16

    zizou is just so elegant, crazy chic!! was he as “jefe” as xabi back in the days una?? I always imagine he being a little like xabi. Both of them always look so composed, and usually well dressed. Plus they do carry a suit sooo well!!!

    • unamadridista permalink*
      April 26, 2012 16:01

      He was maybe even more jefe.

  6. Pammie permalink
    April 25, 2012 16:54

    I can’t wait to see the mosaic in full action. I hope the spirit of Juanito will be with our players tonight, so we can see them in the finale.

    Haha, Pipita, always the center of attention, everyone loves him. 😀

  7. kiki permalink
    April 25, 2012 19:30

    I am to anxious to comment more on you beautiful, beautiful recent posts! Am enjoying them though! Thank You & HALAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA MAAAAAAAAAAAADRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. kiki permalink
    April 25, 2012 19:31

    *too* …..& so anxious that my grammar is suffering… HALA MADRID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. lover_iker permalink
    April 26, 2012 12:02

    do you have video of iker inteview with football mundial??if you have please put it’s video

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