all set for Atleti!
It’s that time of the year again, the derbi madrileño between Real Madrid and Atleti, the team that has been unable to win against Madrid in the last 13 years. Let’s extend that streak and prolong the nightmare! As you can see below, we have reasons to be optimistic…
The concentración began on Friday night, and it was notable for several occurrences. First, according to Punto Pelota, the team bus left without Cristiano, Fábio Coentrão, Kaká, Pepe and Álvaro Arbeloa. All of the footballers were due at the stadium at 20:30h to change into their Madrid “uniforms” and begin the concentración. Pepe and Kaká arrived on time, but did not get onto the bus on time, taking too long to change. In fact, Kaká had carpooled with Ricardo Carvalho, who did make it onto the bus, as we can see below. Cris, Coentrão and Álvaro, meanwhile, simply arrived late (they are all residents of La Finca). Despite rushing into the stadium, they didn’t make it out on time, and the bus left without them. Apparently, the bus driver stopped when he saw them, but someone (Mou?) told him to keep on going. So, they were left at the door to the stadium, looking a bit sheepish.
While the five of them stood around waiting to see what could be done, Kaká – yes, Kaká! – started doing the Gangnam Style dance. He got Pepe in the mood, and he also busted out a few moves. Cris also joined in briefly, as well. We all know he can move, it’s a shame he didn’t show off more of his moves!
The players then headed for the Sheraton Mirasierra in a car driven by Álvaro Arbeloa. They’ll probably be fined for arriving late, as they are for training sessions. I’d also bet that their teammates received them with a round of applause when they finally appeared in the hotel.
Earlier in the day, Mou was in a fairly good mood at his press conference, except for the moment when he was asked about Michael Essien and what the hell is going on with him. To sum up: Aitor Karanka said a while back that Essien was not available to play as he had suffered an allergic reaction, then it became apparent that Michael was in London receiving treatment from the hands of Chelsea’s medical staff. He even posted a bunch of pictures of him with his Chelsea teammates, wearing his personalized Chelsea shirt, on his Instagram account. Once the Spanish press got wind of that, the photos were removed. So, Mou was asked about this.
On Essien’s situation and… [Mou didn’t let the journalist, Miguel Ángel Díaz, finish his question]: the issue is very simple. You all are calling us liars, and if we’re going to see who are the liars, I believe it’s you all, because one day you say I’m going to PSG, and the next day the president of PSG comes out and says it’s a lie. And we said Essien had an allergic reaction, and you all said that’s a lie. Essien had an allergic reaction, he had an allergic reaction to a treatment product, and his club, which is Chelsea, is interested in knowing how their player is and their player went there to be treated. We are not liars.
I can accept that, but really, his club is Chelsea, and he’s their player? I know that’s technically correct, but he is on loan to Madrid this year, and so we can expect a bit of commitment, no?
Mou also answered in this way to a question about how the fans view him.
On what he expects to hear tomorrow after the whistles and support he heard the other day [against Alcoyano]: tomorrow, the players will come out to warm up at 21:25h or 21:30h, and tomorrow I’ll come out at 21:20h. Alone. If anyone wants to boo me, I’ll be there. 21:20h. That’s the set time. I’ll come out alone. And those who want to boo me can. I’ve been in football for so many years that I won’t be affected afterward.
Mou also rejected some questions that were asked, refusing to answer them and allowing other questions to be asked in their place. When the press guy said “the last question,” Mou interjected, “they can ask two more.” The first question was rejected by Mou, so he said “another two.” He then answered the next question. The “last” question was then asked, and Mou didn’t want to answer that one, saying, “no, another one, I didn’t like that one either.” He also told them not to repeat each other’s questions. Another journalist tried his luck, Mou started to answer, and then told his press guy, “another question can be asked after this one.” He gave an answer to that question. The next one was asked, about his nomination for the Ballon d’Or for coaches, and Mou started making annoyed facial expressions. He then gave this answer: “I don’t have time to think about this kind of thing. It’s a good question to ask Guardiola and Del Bosque. Guardiola is on vacation and has the time to think about it. Del Bosque has three months of vacation since his next game isn’t until February. In the next week, I have three games, and I have no time to think about the Ballon d’Or.”
And here are Mr. Chip’s facts and stats for this upcoming game, accompanied by self portraits (or if not self portraits, self commissioned portraits) of Karim Benzema wearing his “sexy” face (which I’m sure he practices when he’s alone in his hotel room during concentraciones), since he has shared so many in recent days.
The derby: the derbi madrileño between Madrid and Atleti is the most played match-up in Spanish football history, if we consider all of the official games, including those of the regional championships that took place before the Liga. In all, they have faced each other in 245 official games: 150 in the first division, 37 in the Copa, four in the Copa de la Liga, three in the European Cup and 51 in the Regional Championship. Madrid and Barça have faced each other 222 times.
The balance: Madrid’s record for these games is 130-55-60. There have been 748 goals in all, 431 for Madrid and 317 against Madrid. In the Bernabéu, the balance is very favorable for the home team: 51 wins, 21 ties, 12 defeats, with 161 goals in favor and 96 against.
The streak: Madrid has an eight-game winning streak against Atlético (six in the Liga, two in the Copa), which is equal to the best winning streak in the history of the derby. Madrid also notched up an eight-game winning streak between 1952 and 1955, and 1994 and 1997. The ninth game was a loss and a tie, respectively.
The points: for the fifth time, Atleti will be playing Madrid with an advantage of eight points or more. They have never won any of those games. In 1948 and 1977, the two teams tied 1-1 with Atleti up by 10 points. In 1985, Madrid beat Atleti 1-0 when the latter was up by 12 points, and in 1996, Madrid beat Atleti 2-1 when the latter had a 21-point advantage.
Mourinho I: Mou has defeated Atlético in six straight games (four in the Liga, two in the Copa), which is what José Ángel Berraondo did between 1928 and 1929. If Madrid wins tonight, Mourinho will become the first coach in the history of the derby to win seven straight games.
Mourinho II: in 396 league games in four countries, Mou has only lost two straight matches in a championship once, with Chelsea in 2006. This will be Mou’s 199th home league game; the balance of 161-33-4. The only visitors to have beaten Mou are Beira Mar, Sporting, Zaragoza and Barcelona.
Cristiano I: Cristiano has not scored in 295 minutes (three complete games), his worst streak in the last 13 months. From the time he joined the club, he has only had three streaks of four or more games without scoring, the last of which was in February 2011. With Mou, he has scored 98 goals in 85 Liga games. He needs two more to equal Paco Gento as the sixth highest goalscorer for Madrid in the Liga (126).
Cristiano II: Cris has scored 18 goals in Madrid’s derbies against its neighbors in the Comunidad, the same as Santillana. With one more goal, he will become the highest goalscorer in Comunidad de Madrid derbies, leaving behind Raúl (16), Higuaín (14), Di Stéfano (13), Morientes (11) and Rubén Cano (11).
Iker I: this will be Iker’s 25th derby against Atleti (his record is 17-6-1). He will pass Santillana as the third player with the most number of official games in Madrid’s history, 646. From the time of his debut, he has not lost any of the 24 derbies. The player who has played the most games against Atleti is Gento, with 42: 29 in the Liga, 10 in the Copa and three in the European Cup.