all set for Santos Laguna!
Madrid takes on Santos Laguna today (o5h Monday Spain time, 20h local time) in the second friendly of their U.S. tour and the fourth friendly of this pre-season. This will also be the first time ever that Madrid plays in Las Vegas, after having played in various other American cities as ambassadors of Madrid and Spain. Speaking of that, here are a few scenes from the act organized by Turismo España the other day: a woman asking Cristiano for an autograph, and then saying “what’s your name?” (seriously?); Gonzalo cracking up (Iker must be quite a comedian) and making everyone around him crack up; MFC ABMM looking bored during the speeches part of the event; and Mou also getting bitten by the boredom bug, which compelled him to study Fábio Coentrão’s hair instead of listening.
In addition, over the past several days, there were…
REUNIONS! Galaxy players David Beckham and Robbie Keane showed up at Madrid’s hotel on Aug. 1, to take part in a meet and greet with the little Israeli and Palestinian football players sponsored by Children United. This gave many former teammates a chance to catch up, including everyone’s favorite pairing of David Beckham and Iker Casillas. During the act, José Mourinho received a trophy and a ball from the organization as a thank you gift for his contributions towards the project. He said he will continue helping and supporting the cause whenever he can.
Iker, I can’t believe it, are you real? I didn’t recognize you, you’re so tan! / That’s the tattoo I got for you, Iker. Victoria thinks it’s for her, but it’s really for you. Don’t you get any ideas, Sergio.
A WIN! Madrid beat the Galaxy 5-1 at the Home Depot Center on Aug. 2, with Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel di María, José Callejón, MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín and Jesé scoring the goals for Madrid. All 25 of the players doing the pre-season in the United States were able to play some minutes. I didn’t watch this game so I can’t say too much about it. For those of you who did watch it, how did our boys look?
Of note: Iker wore the candy cane socks (yay!) and Rafa Varane wore the number “2” (P.S. I hope he’s not taking self portrait tips from Karim Benzema).
TRAINING SESSIONS. Training resumed the day after the game, as Madrid began preparing for its next match against Santos Laguna on Sunday. Friday’s session was a recovery one that was open to the public. The absences were Ángel di María and Álvaro Arbeloa, who worked out inside the gym. On Saturday afternoon, the boys were back in training, with everyone present and accounted for, although Ángel di María trained apart from the team and with Carlos Lalín. After the afternoon training session, the boys went shopping at the UCLA store, which closed for them so that they could shop tranquilly.
OBLIGATIONS. As mentioned earlier, Madrid participated in an event organized by Turismo Spain on Friday. The mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, was invited by the Tourism Office in Los Angeles to take part. During the speeches, in addition to yawning and looking bored, the boys also fidgeted, chatted with each other and spaced out.
A PRESS CONFERENCE. Sergio Ramos spoke to the press after the Saturday session. When asked if it was possible for Iker to win the Ballon d’Or, he said “of course I would give it to Iker because he’s a guarantee as a goalkeeper and as a captain. He’s shown over the years that he’s the best in the world. But I would also say: how could I not give it to Cristiano? He’s a player who makes the difference and there’s no one else like him.” As for José Mourinho, Sergio said, “you learn a lot from him because he knows so much about football. You don’t change the way you are, but his good advice helps you to mature. It’s a privilege to have him as the captain of this ship.” Sergio also gave a classy answer to the question about his thoughts on Sandro Rosell saying (without class) that strange things happened during last year’s Liga: “if last season’s Liga is to be defined with one word, I would say ‘spectacular’ or ‘incredible.’ Madrid was a rightful champion. I don’t think he said that with a double meaning because that would be an improper attitude for the president of Barcelona to have.”
FREE TIME! The boys got Saturday morning off, and while some players such as the twins and Calleti spent it by the pool…
Too bad the white swim trunks are not more transparent, since I would like to confirm the El Chori nickname.
… others were more adventurous. Sergio Ramos and Esteban Granero headed out to see the sights of Venice Beach, where they watched a street show. Sergio subsequently shared it with us, and I love how we can hear his exclamations, from “es espectacular” to “oh my god!” to “¡qué bueno!” I also love that he joined in when the performers wanted a response from the crowd.
PHOTO SHARING! Calleti shared this photo of him and Becks, Álvaro Arbeloa shared this photo of Gonzalo and “Eric Bana”…
… and Sergio shared this photo of him, Calleti and Iker. Sergio explained that he was having lemonade, while you can see that Iker of course opted for Cola Cao. And don’t miss Sergio’s hand on José’s thigh; Iker wasn’t as touchy-feely as the other two.
OTHER THINGS. Agustín Herrerín got a street named after him in Mazarrón, Murcia, where he summers. On the current roster of the UCLA football (soccer) team is a former Madrid canterano, Víctor Muñoz. He spent nine years in our cantera and left because he knew he was never going to have the opportunity to make the first team. Víctor remains in touch with many of his former teammates, including Nacho and Jesús, so hopefully they had a chance to catch up! Speaking of Nacho – and Álex – Cuatro did a report on the brothers, interviewing their family: father José María, mother Maite and sister Maite. The elder Maite says the boys are completely different in personality and style – Nacho is more tranquil, and Álex is more crazy. She adds that they share everything, that they’re always together and happy for that. The jerseys that the boys wore when they debuted with the first team are framed and displayed in the Fernández-Iglesias home, and the family’s dream is to see the two of them playing together in the Bernabéu. Take a look at “Valdebebas Suites” here, the future players’ residence. And we’ll close with the adorable Enzo in London and at the Olympics! With Spain out, I’ll be cheering for Marcelo and Brazil!