problems & responses – part II
Continuing with the optimism: with Real Madrid (and with life), I always prefer to view the glass as half full, rather than half empty.
The issue: the devastating announcement (so cruel, it was one day before the transfer market closed) that Esteban Granero was no longer a Real Madrid player. Shortly after, Álvaro Arbeloa tweeted, “I wish you the best friend, although it will be less than what you deserve! You don’t know how much we’re going to miss you.” Yes, yes, and yes! Real Madrid better watch out, because Iker has no successor at the club, in terms of a player who has Real Madrid in his DNA and who is loyal to his first and only club. Esteban was the closest we had to someone like that, and we madridistas need that type of player in our club.
The remedy: knowing that Esteban is hanging out with his best friend PF Juan Mata, in addition to playing each other! Imagine the intellectual conversations that they will have, ones that the rest of us wouldn’t be able to understand, and also exploring all that London has to offer and improving their English together (along with Oriol and “Dave,” jajaja!)! In addition, Madrid does has a buyback option in place after two seasons, which will take effect on June 30, 2014. They’ll have to play double what QPR paid for the transfer, which is around 12 million euros. The club had already bought back El Pirata once, from Getafe. And that time, Esteban decided to return to his club even though it meant a 30 percent decrease in his salary.
Plus, I like to think that Esteban wouldn’t have made the decision to leave Real Madrid until he had graduated from the Xabi Alonso School of Posing/Midfielding/Being Cooler and Dressing Better than Everyone Else, so that means he’ll be so exciting to watch in England!
By the way, E.G. had to put his psychology studies on hold. He’s taking a break with one or two years left to go, and will resume his studies in Madrid after this break. And he scored his first goal with QPR on Oct. 6 against West Brom, although his team ended up losing the game. Plus, I loved that he sent a message of encouragement Marcelo’s way…
Meanwhile, there are signs in the cantera that in the hopefully near future, a player (or players) with a pedigree like the one Iker Casillas has will emerge. Here are some of the recent developments that I approve of, and which will hopefully lead to homegrown talent with important roles on the first team soon. Zizou will be giving one-on-one instruction to Castilla, RMC and juveniles players, especially the midfielders, to help them improve their techniques. He could end up instructing his sons: Enzo plays as a midfielder with Juvenil B, Luca is one of the goalkeepers of Cadete B and Theo is currently with Alevín B. Mou explained that Zidane decided to leave the first team, because he was looking to become a coach and so he would be happier elsewhere. He also said their relationship was the same as it always has been, putting an end to speculation that they don’t get along.
In addition, Fernando Morientes (I have a permanent soft spot for him) is in charge of Juvenil B, and Rubén de la Red has taken over Cadete B (Enzo and Luca’s teams, respectively). Castilla beat Barça B in the first mini–clásico behind goals from Juanfran, Denis and Sergi Gómez (own goal). The last time the game had been played was 15 years ago, when Toni Grande was coach. Zidane was one of the spectators at EADS, along with Fernando Hierro. Speaking of Castilla, there are reports that Alberto Toril’s contract has been renewed, meaning he will be in charge of the team through 2015. He’s done an excellent job, no? And Jesús, MFC ABMM and Nacho were all promoted to the first team (though whether they get any playing time remains a separate issue), and MFC had a great night at the Trofeo Bernabéu, contributing to the best result ever. A total of 11 canteranos played in the game.
Our canteranos are also finally making an impact on La Rojita, with both Nacho and MFC ABMM (called in to replace an injured Jesé, who himself was a replacement) called up for the U-21 team in the latest 2013 Euro qualifiers. Pablo Sarabia and Rodrigo also formed part of the most recent team.
Speaking of the cantera, Iker celebrated the 13th anniversary of his debut on Sept. 12. He said, “I would like to spend 20 more years in this club. I hope I can achieve my dream and desire to end my career in the club where I had the privilege to begin when I was just nine years old. My contract runs until I’m 36 and my dream is to end at the age of 39.” We definitely need more players who can say that when they’ve reached 10 or 12 or 15 players with the club. And I love that Gonzalo lent him his shirt (and that they’re personalized for the players this season)!
Footage provided by the club also shows how Iker has not changed over the 13 years. He loves to rub his face during interviews…
… and Esteban has retained the same interviewing style as well!
And if you want proof that our cantera can function well, it has been both great and saddening to see how many of our canteranos are playing – and triumphing – for other teams. To give just a few examples, ahead of the Getafe game, Miguel Torres was Iker’s counterpart as captain, while for the Valencia game, it was Roberto Soldado, who also made sure to hug his best friend Álvaro Arbeloa after the game. We also got to see the hug between Iker and Javi García after the Madrid-Manchester City game…
… and that of Iker and Diego López after the Sevilla game. I just wish someone could triumph without having to leave the club to prove himself. As I am an optimistic person, as I stated at the beginning of this post, I believe this will happen soon.
Going off on a friendship-related tangent, it’s wonderful to see how friendships forged at Madrid can stay alive over the years. Case in point: Iker, Figo and Aitor Karanka on Aug. 28. While the players were waiting to board the team bus to begin their concentración for the Supercopa vuelta, Figo whistled at Iker, who was totally surprised to see him and came over to give him a big, long hug and a nuzzle. Figo kept his arm around Iker for the duration of the conversation, only letting go to greet Aitor Karanka. Jaja, Luis was just expecting a handshake and Aitor went in for a hug!
And Iker also posted this photo of him and Míchel Salgado during La Roja’s game in Galicia (and here is Míchel and Raúl watching el clásico together).
And let’s end with picture day, where the little ones equaled the first team in terms of adorableness and goofiness.
By the way, the two previous posts have been updated, this one with images from Xabi’s Emidio Tucci ad campaign and the making of, and this one with photos of Sergio Ramos’ house (including his bedroom!) which he has put up for sale.