… and news, observations and things I just liked or thought were interesting.
These are the only two game moments in the post, but I just wanted to highlight Iker celebrating a goal and Mesut pointing to the escudo.
ONE. Sergio’s biography, “Sergio Ramos: Corazón, Carácter y Pasión” was presented at the Bernabéu earlier this week (I’ll try and start translating this weekend!). It was written by Enrique Ortego, the author of books on Iker and Cris, to name a few. Supporting Sergio at the presentation were his parents, his sister Miriam and his brother René, with his girlfriend and Daniela as well, plus José Mercé, Iker, Cris, Pepe, Sami, Mesut and MFC ABMM.
Speaking of his family brought our little Sergio to tears!
I think it’s great for him to have a biography and all, but I expect that a “Part II” will have to be written in the future, since he’s so young and I’m sure he’s going to accomplish a lot more in his career, both with Madrid and with the national team.
The wink was for MFC.
TWO. Xabi has collaborated with the NGO CESAL for their “Manos a la obra” campaign, which helps young people in Paraguay who have had run-ins with the law or are in difficult situations to go to school. Xabi donated a signed ball and shirt, which will be raffled off. How good did he look when he paid CESAL a visit? Stunning, stunning man.
THREE. Pedro Mosquera posted this video of “clown” MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín doing a trick in the parking lot after watching Real Madrid basketball. MFC is adorable and talented!
FOUR. Some moments prior to the Champions League game against Ajax at the Bernabéu last week. Jontxu was there, hanging out with Xabi and Iker!
FIVE. Vicente del Bosque responded to José Mourinho’s statement that he has nothing to do until February and so he has time to think about his nomination for the Ballon d’Or for coaches with a lot of class and diplomacy. He said, “I work every day, and if you want, you can see me working at nine thirty in the morning. I can’t judge his words. When I heard what he said, I smiled because it’s a real fact that we’re not competing until February.” And when asked about the plebiscito, VDB responded, “what you want is not for me to talk about Mourinho, what you want is for me to talk about Real Madrid. I’m not going to speak about this issue for obvious reasons, it’s not an issue to trivialize, it’s not one to trivialize, it’s not one to laugh about, I’m not looking for enemies.” I love him!
SIX. The “peña del cochinillo” had (a delicious) lunch at Asador Donostiarra last week. It seems that peña is made up of Sergio Ramos (his brother René was there as well), Nacho, Jesús, Michael Essien, Luka Modrić, Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira, Rafa Varane, Pepe, Antonio Adán, Ricardo Carvalho and various members of the medical staff, such as Carlos Díez, Luis Serratosa or Pedro Chueca.
There were two incidents as they left the restaurant. First, Mesut Özil’s Ferrar wouldn’t start, as the battery had died. As his car was the first one being driven out of the parking lot by the valets, the rest of the players had to wait. Then, as two valets drove out Nacho and Sergio’s cars, the one driving Nacho’s Audi reversed into Sergio’s Porsche, leaving some ugly marks. Later on, Nacho tweeted to clarify that it wasn’t him who hit Sergio’s car, it was the valet. (Side note: I love Jesús’ festive sweater!)
SEVEN. Meanwhile, Cris attended at a reception at El Pardo, receiving the Premio Nacional del Deporte for best Latin American athlete in 2011. He went in there chewing gum, and didn’t know what to do with it once the reception kicked off. So, he stuck it in his pocket!
Queen Sofía presented Cris with his trophy.
EIGHT. Míchel Salgado recently gave an interview to AS. I always loved hearing him speak because he was always forthright and direct. I’d love to see him take on a role with the club in the future. Here are the parts I liked from this interview.
on his debut in the first division: it was against Madrid [he was playing for Celta at the time] on Jan. 22, 1995, in the Bernabéu. I was 19 years old… I debuted when the score was 3-0 against us. Hierro and Buyo got pissed off at me. I came in with 15 minutes left. And I went after everyone. At that point in the game, I was the only one still running. On one play, I arrived late and I hit Buyo, and in another, Hierro, until they yelled at me, “we’re winning 3-0 and you’re here pissing us off… get out of here!”
on signing for Madrid: it was a great year with Celta, which had an incredible team. I debuted with the national team, and from November on I had offers from all around Europe. And I wanted to go to Madrid. I waited and I waited… and nothing. My buyout clause was two billion pesetas, a lot for a defender. And the day that I went on vacation, when I was walking onto the plane, my agent called me and said, “they paid it!”
on leaving Madrid: I cried a lot before making the decision to leave. The two nights before the decision, I cried for the entire night. Madrid didn’t pressure me. It was a mutual decision. Making the decision to leave Madrid is tough. I have this team in my blood.
on Del Bosque: he managed the most difficult team. And it wasn’t because it was divided, it was a phenomenal team because he made it that way. Everyone respected Del Bosque for his behavior inside and outside of the locker room. There was a mutual respect. You knew what you could do and what you couldn’t do, even though there were no rules. He knew each player’s personal situation as well. Ronaldo, Zizou, Figo, Raúl. Each one had his peculiarities and his things, but he made everything normal. With Del Bosque, the bad results didn’t affect us because in the press conferences, he made everyone see that nothing had happened. The entire world left there calm and tranquil, even the press. He made everyone calm. Even the fans left the Bernabéu speaking of football and nothing more. He did get pissed off, and he has a very, very wicked sense of humor… I can’t tell you anything else but he had a great sense of humor.
on a possible return to Madrid: why not? I don’t know who or when, but people who were here many years can do important things.
TEN. The Daily Mail apparently interviewed Xavi recently, and this is what he had to say about the best game he ever played in.
The best game I ever played in was when we beat Real Madrid 5-0. The feeling of total superiority was incredible. We just stood in the dressing room afterwards clapping ourselves. It was a surreal experience.
Now, the source is the Daily Mail, and they’re not all that reliable, but I really could see these words coming out of Xavi’s mouth. And I can totally picture Barça doing that as well! After all, after this year’s Supercopa first leg, Xavi once again went on and on about how “we were superior” and how the result was “unjust.” After the second leg game, he snipped, “it’s a lost title but there are more important ones.” Hmmm, it seemed a lot more important when you won it the previous year!
That’s why I’m so glad we have Iker. The contrast between Iker and Xavi could also be seen through the way their clubs chose to announce that the two of them had been named joint winners of this year’s Príncipe de Asturias Award for Sports. Madrid chose to celebrate that happy event with a photo of Iker and Xavi with their arms around each other while on national team duty. Barça’s web site chose to feature a picture of Xavi scoring on Iker (from the first leg of the Supercopa, although Iker didn’t appear in the photo) to illustrate the news. Ridiculous, and a total lack of respect for Iker. Then again, if that’s the “more than a club” attitude that the club has instilled in Xavi, it’s no wonder he would grow up to make the statements that he does.
He also told “Tot Gira” that Mourinho won’t go down in history, to which Luis Aragonés responded, “he will pass into history because he’s won more than anyone and what we coaches have to do is win. He’s a total winner.”
ELEVEN. Briefs (not as glamorous as Karim’s though, unfortunately).
– can you believe this: Real Madrid, who has had 11 coaches in the past 10 years, now is the longest-tenured coach in the first division! When Mauricio Pochettino was fired from Espanyol, Mou became that. And he’s only in his third season! The only other remaining coaches in their third seasons are Pepe Mel (Betis, who spent his first year in the second division) and Paco Herrera (Celta, who spent his first two years in the second division).
– José Rodríguez became the youngest Champions League debutant in Real Madrid’s history on Dec. 4 against Ajax. He came into the game in the 72nd minute for Kaká at the age of 17 years and 11 months (his birthday is Dec. 16). By doing so, he pushed Raúl into second place. The eternal captain had held the previous record by debuting against Ajax on Sept. 13, 1995 at the age of 18 years and two months. Iker (18 years and three months) is third on the list, Rafa (18 years and five months, also against Ajax) is fourth and Samuel Eto’o round out the top five.
– I heard Denis speaking English after the Alcoyano game, and I laughed because he sounds exactly like a Spaniard speaking English, who is not difficult to believe since he practically grew up in Spain, but it was still amusing. Need proof? He says worrl for “world,” just like Iker!
– the Bernabéu tour now includes the locker room of the first team! The description is as follows: the size of the locker room area is 1,080 square meters. The locker room of the team occupies 280 square meters, and is divided into a recuperation zone, hydromassage showers, jacuzzi, a cold water tub, the equipment storage room and the locker room part with room for the coaches and the individual lockers of the players. As many of you know, the rest of the tour includes a panoramic view of the stadium from the top, a visit to the palco de honor, a trip down to the field and a chance to sit on the benches, as well as the press room and of course the museum and store. The stadium is also set to undergo a renovation soon, and over in Valdebebas, work is being completed on the residences for the first team and youth players, and FP has said there’s a theme park in the works too. I’d love to make some suggestions!
– I love seeing our players with my favorite singer!
– Álvaro Benito told Marca that the best player to go partying with is “without a doubt, Guti. There’s nothing like partying with him! He’s a phenomenon!” He also said the current player he would party with is Arbeloa, “we’ll have a good time.”
– the poor injured players are looking adorable!
– Chendo is currently coaching Santa Ana, a team on the juvenil nacional level. He got his coaching license three years ago, at the same time as Karanka or Hierro. However, his work as delegate with Real Madrid means that he doesn’t have much time to spend coaching, so he does it whenever he can, and therefore the team has another coach as well. Chendo goes to the training sessions three times a week, as long as they don’t coincide with Real Madrid games and trips. He would like to coach a first division team in the future, but he doesn’t know when since his contract with Real Madrid lasts until 2016 and he likes his job and is learning a lot from Mourinho.
– Madrid purchased 100,000 shares of Real Oviedo and then handed them over to the Oviedo city hall in an effort to help out the club. The team also donated a shirt signed by Iker for Real Oviedo to auction off, which Real Madrid C brought with them when they went to Oviedo to play Oviedo.
– “El Larguero” traveled to London last month and Esteban Granero was one of the invited guests. He revealed that he hangs out with Mikel Arteta (who must be his Xabi stand-in in London, no?), that he’s thinner “because you run more here than in Spain,” that language hasn’t been a problem and that he would give the Ballon d’Or to Juan Mata (also present). PF Juan Mata, for his part, said he would like a Spaniard to win it and that Iker would be a just winner. Óscar Ribot was also present, sitting in the audience.
– and baby Marcelo is ADORABLE! No wonder Enzo turned out so adorable as well!