ICYMI – the healing edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Atlético [2012-12-01, Liga jornada 14, 2-0].
It has happened so often in recent history that I think it may be on the verge of becoming a law: Atlético simply cannot get a win over Real Madrid. On Saturday night, the streak was extended to 13 years, or 24 games, during the derbi madrileño.
ONE. The two goals scored on the night were both sublime. Cristiano’s free kick was a missile, while Mesut Özil’s volley was a work of art.
I loved how during the celebration for Cristiano’s goal, he, Pepe and Xabi all did the same thing!
Cris’ goal impressed Iker, who had a look of disbelief and amazement on his face in the moments right after it. I love his reaction! By the way, Iker is still tied for first place in the fight for the Zamora trophy. He and Málaga’s Willy Caballero both have a coefficient of 0.71, having allowed 10 goals in 14 games. This is his best start since the 2004-05 season, when Madrid only allowed nine games in its first 14 games.
And look how tightly (I first typed “thightly” by accident, but it’s not too wrong since we’re talking about Sergio) Sergio hugged Mesut after the latter’s goal! Mesut looks delighted to be held by Sergio, no?
Hugs all around!
I also loved Cris’ primal scream, and Mesut pointing at the escudo and looking at it adoringly.
TWO. Marcelo Sunshine was at the game, wearing glasses and sitting in the stands next to Óscar Ribot. I love seeing players in the stands instead of in a palco, because to truly enjoy the game, you have to be out there with the fans. He tweeted afterward, “another derby won by Real Madrid! El madridismo will be happy! There were only two goals but there should have been more!” He also added the hashtag “GRANCRISTIANO” for those who still believe he and Cristiano no longer get along.
Also at the game was Santi Solari! He’s one of the few men in recent history to have played for both Atleti and Real Madrid. He was accompanied by Diego Tristán (they have been taking coaching courses together at the RFEF alongside the likes of Albert Celades, Iván Helguera or Fernando Morientes).
THREE. Random moments: Mesut drowning inside his huge puffy jacket as he received congratulations; Mou and Sergio with their arms around each other as they discussed strategy; Cristiano’s impressive skills; and Sergio’s adorable smile.
FOUR. José Rodríguez came into the game as time wound down, becoming the third youngest Madrid player to debut in the Liga, at the age of 17 years and 351 days. Ahead of him are Raúl, whom Jorge Valdano debuted at the age of 17 years and 131 days on Nov. 5, 1994 – also against Atleti, so of course comparisons were made – and Javi García, who was 17 years and 294 days old when he came into the game against Levante at the hands of Mariano García Remón on Nov. 28, 2004. By the way, Iker is ranked seventh, having played for the first time in the Liga when he was 18 years and 121 days old, against Depor on Sept. 18, 1999, while Rafa Varane is currently in tenth place (18 years, 152 days). The day after the game, José tweeted, “yesterday was one of the most important days of my life. I’m happy for the debut in the Liga and more for the victory of the team. Thank you to everyone and Hala Madrid.”
Will he complete the triumvirate and debut in the Champions League against Ajax?
FIVE. As he had promised, José Mourinho emerged from the tunnel at 21:20h for the plebiscite. At that point, there were only about 5,000 spectators in the stadium, as the game wasn’t going to start for another 40 minutes. He was received mostly with applause, though there were a few whistles as well (which makes sense, because fans would show up early to cheer, while no one would show up early to boo). Mou stuck around for a couple of minutes before going back into the tunnel.
Over in Barcelona, the culé fans ignored their team, who was leading Athletic 4-1 at 21:20h, to chant “Mourinho, go to the theater…” How sad that they’re so concerned about another team that they can’t even enjoy their own! Apparently, there’s a case of madriditis going around, and it’s contagious…
SIX. I love seeing all the hugs between the rival players once the final whistle blew, as well as that glimpse of Álvaro Arbeloa’s abs. We also got to see Pepe’s abs, though we were denied seeing Sergio’s as he followed Iker’s example and wore an underlayer (Iker and Sergio copying each other in how they dress would be a classic example of the blind leading the blind, no?).
SEVEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
I love how nonchalantly Xabi flicked the ball over to Cris, while his hands remained on his hips the entire time!
During Xabi’s post-game interview, where he gave some model-worthy stares, Álvaro Arbeloa tickled his ear and Pepe messed up his hair. Xabi must have been really concerned about his hair, because he smoothed it down here, and as we saw above, also during the celebration for Mesut’s goal after it got mussed up.
EIGHT. Calleti is adorable! It helps that he’s the only one without a thumb pointing up.
NINE. The Ultras prepared two banners for the game, as they normally do. The one displayed before the game was a nod to Madrid’s “Vikingos” nickname, and bore the words “a thousand battles, a thousand victories.”
Near the end of the game, with victory assured, the fans displayed this banner: “today, the incredible case of an Atleti fan who claimed he had seen his team win a derby.” Jajaja!
TEN. Here’s a look at the other pre-game banners displayed by the Ultras Sur in the last five seasons. I think my favorite one has to be “a derby each night, your worst nightmare.” Which one is your favorite?