I hope you missed it
I’ll keep this brief, since I’m sure that you don’t want to be reminded of this game any more than I do. What an terrible way to go into the Christmas break…
The huge surprise was that Iker Casillas had been benched. Antonio Adán took his spot in the goal (how fitting for El Gordito on the day of El Gordo!), and Sergio wore the captain’s armband. Iker had not missed an important game (i.e. one that counted) since 2002, one decade ago. In the past decade, he had only missed nine games. Six of them were games where nothing was at play, two of them was when Iker was serving a suspension, and one was missed due to injury.
Following the game, José Mourinho said that it was a technical decision because “in my opinion Adán is playing better.” The majority of the fans, judging by the informal polls conducted by many of the newspapers and the talks I had with my madridista friends, however, seem to believe that this was a punishment for Iker and had everything to do with his conduct rather than his performance. Antonio didn’t have the best of games (in fact, during the game, one of my friends kept saying “Iker could have stopped that“), so who will be in the goal for the next game?
As a result, Madrid is now 16 points behind the leader, Barcelona. Barcelona has taken 49 out of a possible 51 points, putting them on pace to beat Madrid’s record season. On the bright side, the only points that Barcelona did not pick up during the part of the season played in 2012 were the two points they lost during el clásico. Maybe Iker’s wish will come true and we will finish 25 points (or more) behind but win La Décima.
Anyway, with Iker on the bench, the cameras kept shifting to him to get his reaction. And in this sense, it was worth having Iker on the bench because Iker was very animated.
Here he is sitting down on the bench and chatting before the game. It is so, so, so, so strange to see him there. It must have been really tough for him too.
Here are his reactions to a Cristiano free kick, and then a chance for Ángel di María.
Iker was also caught yawning at one point, and looking frustrated as the first half came to a close.
Here we have Iker reacting to Isco’s goal, and a missed opportunity from Karim Benzema (fans of MFC got lucky, because he sat next to Iker the entire game).
When Álvaro Arbeloa came out, Iker threw his jacket to him. Shortly after, he expressed his frustration after Cristiano was brought down in the area and no call was made.
Then came a chance for Mesut, and a handball that wasn’t called.
I felt like doing this too.
Iker’s reactions to Málaga’s second and third goals were basically the same as mine.
Iker finally expressed some positive emotions, with Karim’s goal and his encouragement of the team.
The night ended with misses from Pepe and Karim.
To avoid ending on a negative note, here’s Karim after the game…
… and two poses from Xabi.
It was also great seeing the shirt for Tito Vilanova (Xabi and Cris’ expressions make me laugh) and the hugs between Javier Saviola and Sergio Ramos before and after the game (it was Javier who gave Sergio the “Churu” nickname).