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all set for Milan!

August 8, 2012

It seems like I’ve been constantly playing catch up during this pre-season, no?  Before I even have a chance to write a game post, it’s time for the next “all set for…” post.  Anyway, Madrid takes on Milan (2oh Wednesday local time, 02h Thursday morning Madrid time) during their first ever visit to the new Yankee Stadium, after having played the NASL’s New York Generals on Aug. 21, 1968 at the original Yankee Stadium (Madrid won that game 4-1).  Since then, they’ve played six more games in New York.

In other news, Marcelo will, with Enzo cheering him on, play in the gold medal match of the 2012 Summer Olympics this Saturday (15h local time, 16h Spain time) when Brazil takes on Mexico. Our big sunshine (since Enzo is the mini one) has started all of Brazil’s matches in the tournament.

Going back to Madrid, and looking back, the team traveled to Las Vegas on Sunday to take on Santos Laguna.

They ended up beating the Mexican champions 2-1, triumphing despite the intense heat (38 to 40 degrees). Xabi Alonso scored in the first half (appropriately, in the 14th minute), and Sami Khedira scored the winning goal inadvertently in the second half, when the ball bounced off his face into the goal after Karim Benzema had a shot at it.  I winced for Sami, but I also laughed.  I didn’t end up watching this game either, only highlights, so how did they do?

Bonus of the bossest thigh you’ll ever see.

As for the rest of the things that have happened since the last time I checked in with all of you, we had many endearing things, including Cristiano making one kid’s dream come true.  Salvador Arena has cancer, and his dream was to meet our Cristiano, so the Make A Wish Foundation made that happen.  During the team’s visit to Las Vegas, Cristiano and Salvador met up, with Cris giving Salvador a shirt with his name on the back, and also autographing the Real Madrid shirt Salvador was wearing.  Cris said of Salvador, “what an amazing kid,” while Salvador said of Cris, “he’s my idol and I wanted to meet him… being with him was a dream come true, a total honor and the best experience of my life.”  During the team’s trip to Las Vegas, they also made time to sign autographs for fans and pose for pictures with them.  I love how awkward Nacho and ABMM look back there.

Speaking of Cristiano and his big heart, AS reported that Cristiano went out on Saturday morning (during the team’s free morning) and bought 11 iPads.  He then gave them as gifts to the four equipment managers, five fisios and two doctors who have accompanied the team during this pre-season tour.

Madrid also announced that Raúl Albiol’s contract has been extended until the end of the 2016-17 season, noting that “his commitment and professionalism during the three seasons he has worn the white shirt have been fundamental for the renewal.”  Yay, (at least) four more years of the twins!  El Chori told Madrid’s web site that he was very happy with the renewal, since that means that the club and coaches have confidence in him, and that he’s very happy at Real Madrid.

As for training, the team held its last two training sessions at UCLA on Monday and Tuesday.  Before the Monday session, the team held an autograph session for fans invited by team sponsors (CAA, Adidas and Bwin).

At the training session, Ángel di María rejoined the team after missing out on the last several sessions and the game, and Esteban Granero was the only absence, leaving right after the warm-up was completed to go work out in the gym.  The last session was held on Tuesday morning.  The top of Cristiano’s thighs are so pale, but it doesn’t appear that Sergio has the same problem… if only I could take a closer look (and in person) to confirm that.

After that, the team traveled to New York.  On the way there, everyone did my least favorite pose, hurting my eyes tremendously.  

Luckily, the canteranos were there to help cleanse the palate (hopefully there’s no original picture where the Fernández brothers’ thumbs up have been cropped out).

They arrived in Newark around 22h local time (five hours of flying time, plus a three-hour time difference).  They then boarded a bus which took them to their hotel, the Four Seasons.  Several of the boys were carrying “UCLA Track” bags.  No doubt these bags were full of things purchased in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, especially by these two, I bet (how many Gucci belts can fit in that bag?  At least 30.  But I hope they left room in their bags for shopping in New York City, which is great!).

The only negative note was the injury to Álex Fernández.  He has a strained ligament in his right knee, and reports say he’ll be out two to three weeks, although he won’t return to Madrid early and will remain with his teammates until the end of the American portion of the pre-season.  Álex tweeted on Tuesday, “thanks to everyone for their encouragement, in the end it wasn’t as serious as it appeared to be, I will try and return as soon as possible, a hug for everyone.”

As for Castilla, they beat Gimnástica de Torrelavega in their latest pre-season friendly 5-0 behind goals from Denis, Quini, Cristián and Óscar Plano, who scored twice.  Today, they play the first team’s old nemesis Alcorcón in their second to last friendly before the Second Division season begins for them, on Aug. 17 at 21h against Villarreal at El Madrigal.  There are also reports that Joselu has signed a four-year contract with Hoffenheim, with the German club paying €6 million to Madrid.  There is a buyback clause in the contract for the first two years, for €9 million and €12 million, respectively.  By the way, Hoffenheim plays Bayer Leverkusen on Nov. 24!

And here are some interesting statistics.  According to Marca, Barça B and Castilla have spent more on signings this summer than 13 first division clubs.  By doling out €1.5 million for Borja García, Castilla has now outspent Real Madrid, Málaga, Atleti, Levante, Osasuna, Mallorca, Betis, Espanyol, Rayo, Zaragoza, Depor, Celta and Valladolid (Barça B spent €1.25 million for Joan Ángel Román).

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    August 8, 2012 14:54

    I don’t know why I did it, but I woke up to watch this game thinking I missed the boys, it was bad, bad game, the angle of the camera was horrible that you can’t tell who is Higuain from Cris so I didn’t even to get to enjoy the boys, although I would have known Cristano touched the ball because of the screams in stands, apparently there were ” Messi, Messi” chants from the fans which I don’t get since you are paying to watch the best in the world so just enjoy him, such a shame, Xabi’s goal was muy jefe, I didn’t watch the second half, oh and our defense totally love ruining Iker’s clean sheet or that’s what I like to believe from what I saw as I don’t want to believe we are that bad 😛

    Anyway, I saw a picture of Joselu with Hoffenheim’s jersey, so I am assuming it is official. ‘

    The status of Liga is making me sad, Santi moving to EPL, another talent gone, now Llorente might leave too, it is heart breaking 😦

    Can we sign Enzo next season? 😀

  2. MissLadya permalink
    August 8, 2012 16:10

    That’s it! Only been a Madrid fan for roughly two months now, and have been eager to watch my first live stream Real match, but circumstances (including one random thunder storm that knocked out the power 35 MINUTES before the match against LA Galaxy! Aarrrggghhhhhhh!!) have foiled me so far. I will *NOT* be denied my Bambi any longer, damnit! Was able to dig out my old laptop–screw you, electricity! Come at me now, Mother Nature!–stockpiled more energy drinks and even took a nap this afternoon in order to make it through the night (should be playing around four in the morning over here).
    Victory will surely be mine! >:)

    (Can’t do a detailed account of the Santos Laguna match, since I have to get ready for work soon. Boooooo.)

    In short: it was, of course, a bigger challenge than the one before that. Laguna was a pretty decent side. More street football savvy, I found. They knew to close down their flanks and Real could not run through their defences so easily. Plus they were more succesful in their counter-attacking than Galaxy were as well. Honestly, it could have easily ended in a draw were it not for Sami’s lol-tastic accidental goal. Like Galaxy, Laguna are in the middle of their season, so they were already in form, but nonetheless they did give our boys a run for their money. Also, the heat (over a hundred degrees!) seemed to be getting at both teams. Lots of water drinking going on.

    Mou switched things around, having Ronaldo, Ozil, Iker, Higuain and Xabi play first. Again, poor Crispy didn’t get to live up to his name (he tripped over his own two feet a couple of times … again), BUT he had a bit more influence. But, of course, the first goal was actually scored by Xabi, who is so boss he shot the ball straight through the net. Ozil missed a possible second goal just a couple minutes later.

    Sergio wore the captain’s armband for the second half. Pepe floored Gomez, earning himself a yellow card. Minutes later Gomez floored Pepe, also earning his very own yellow card. Encouragingly, Kaka was livelier this time, showing off moments of his true talent.

    Highlight, of course, was Sami’s goal. It’s just … wow. I love him to pieces, but I laughed so hard at the replay. Not because he got hit, but the fact that he was so innocently clueless about the imminent threat. He’s just standing there, watching the ball go from the corner to Benzema, who fires it at the goal behind Sami, who turns just as the keeper punches it away and WHAM! Right in the kisser and neatly back into the net. What makes it even funnier are Pepe and Sergio trying not to laugh too much at his expense while congratulating him. Despite scoring the winning goal, I think Sami looked sort of embarrassed to have been caught so awkwardly off-guard. My only regret is that Ozil had been subbed off at half-time because I would have loved to see his reaction to Sami’s goal/pain XD

    All in all, I was STILL annoyed. Seriously, I think it’s just impossible to enjoy a football match on American TV. Mind you, I love America. Most of my holidays as a kid were spent there, and I am always quick to step in and defend the US from detractors, but I simply cannot support it’s involvement in “soccer”. This time, luckily, there was only one commentator and he was English, so he knew how to properly call the match without throwing in lame stats and attempts at humour. But they were playing in an American football stadium and while they weren’t too bothered by the slightly narrower playing field it was somewhat uncomfortable to watch because of the horrible camera angle. I watch American football (occassionally), so I am familiar with the deeper tilt, but it just doesn’t work in a football match. You were almost looking straight down on the players at certain times, and it was hard to see who was who. And then the camera would suddenly cut away to closeups, which only disorrientated me even more. I felt like I was trying to watch the match while on a rollercoaster.

    There, another terribly long answer to your question. I’ve been in a generous mood all week XD

  3. superfan permalink
    August 8, 2012 17:04

    Hi Una! You’re seriously not the only one playing catch up. Since the Olympics started, I’m pretty sure Real Madrid took a back seat. I’m really just relying on your posts to know any news about the boys. But now that the swimming and gymnastics events are over, I can focus back on Real Madrid again! 🙂

  4. AJ Nelson permalink
    August 8, 2012 17:18

    Thanks as always for your wrap ups! I was able to watch the game and I think our boys were surprised by how good the Mexican team was and how warm Las Vegas is 🙂

    Very excited for the new season and Arbeloa and Albiol together for years to come!

  5. Rina permalink
    August 8, 2012 17:42

    Do you know if Madrid are doing a Meet and Greet or signing autographs for fans while in NY anytime?

  6. anna permalink
    August 8, 2012 18:17

    damn, nacho got so handsome since i last saw him!

  7. August 8, 2012 21:17

    FYI – the autograph signing in Las Vegas was only open to Four Seasons Hotel guests. Lovely stuff Una and the boys played well considering the heat, pitch and tough, physical opponent. Fun to watch live.

  8. Esteban permalink
    August 9, 2012 07:33

    Listen! I am from Costa Rica and I want so bad to get close to the merengues! I am a huge Madrid fan since little a remember when Zamora, Suker and other players made great things for this institution… So any info of thir hotel, if there is going to be any training shopping whatever, do you know something? How true is that they are at the Four Seasons hotel?

  9. Jenny permalink
    August 9, 2012 16:48

    So many gorgeous pictures.

    I love how you made the ones with the thumbs up so small so they wouldn’t hurt your eyes!

  10. maria permalink
    August 10, 2012 02:54

    Una I’m so happy Madrid is back, specially because of your posts!! I missed it so much during vacation, it’s great to have our “daily” newsfeed reading of RM back!! =) Alvaro Morata is the cutest, he’s absolutely adorable, I’m glad he made it to the first team, he’s doing so well on pre-season… Can’t wait for the Liga to begin!! So excited!! =)

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