ICYMI – the birthday edition
In case you missed it – Manchester United vs. Real Madrid [2013-03-05, Champions League round of 16 second leg game, 1-2].
What a week for el madridismo!
ONE. Prior to the game, we had Xabi drinking coffee and just generally looking boss, while some of those making their first trip to Old Trafford took photos. Marcelo played the photographer and took one of Jesús and MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín, before joining them for another.
Kaká and Nacho got involved too.
Here a couple more, including the shot that Marcelo took. Everyone is so adorable! I know I say that a lot, but they really are!
TWO. This game was a homecoming for Cristiano Ronaldo, as he was making his first trip back to Old Trafford since leaving Manchester United to join Real Madrid four seasons ago. He was greeted by Manchester United personnel upon his arrival at the stadium…
… and by the fans, who started applauding him as soon as he made his appearance for the warm-up.
I suppose this young fan has a divided heart.
Cris acknowledged the cheers from the crowd during the warm-up, right before the game started…
… and after the game as well. He also received a loud cheer when his name was announced during the starting line-ups (he was saved for last), with the announcer saying “welcome back,” and signed autographs before boarding the team bus. He went home with Ryan Giggs’ shirt, which was autographed by the team and a couple more shirts given to him by the equipment manager.
FOUR. Luckily, Luka Modrić appeared and scored the equalizer. Prior to this goal, there was a lot of talk about him being a bust and not worth all the money. Now, the media says he was worth it.
There were even some comparisons to Nicolas Anelka (for the importance of this game and the goal, not the behavioral issues).
¡Toma! (I’m sure he learned that word already.)
FIVE. Cristiano also scored, as expected, since he has been on a hot streak.
Like El Príncipe Fernando Redondo 13 years ago, Mesut Özil provided a beautiful taconazo pass that led to a goal.
Cris didn’t celebrate the goal against his former team, and I love that he didn’t. He had said before he wouldn’t celebrate any goals, and after the game he confirmed that he hadn’t celebrated it “out of respect for the fans who gave me so much.” Cris added, “I did my job. Madrid won and I’m happy with my team. This is my second home, with many good friends, and I was very happy here. I’m sad for them, but I wanted to win and take a step towards getting to the final of the Champions League.” However, he must be the only person in the world who can resist hugging Kaká and Xabi Alonso back when they hug him. Anyone else would be grabbing on and never letting go.
I loved the double celebration. One had Cris in the middle, while the other centered on the assist man, Pipita. Meanwhile, the players sitting this game out (Iker, Michael Essien, Marcelo, ABMM, Nacho, Jesús and Ricardo Carvalho) celebrated in the stands. Marcelo and the younger canteranos were particularly excited.
SIX. The goals wouldn’t have meant anything if Diego López hadn’t stopped everything that Manchester United threw at his goal.
I wonder what went through Iker’s mind at witnessing Diego’s stellar performance?
It will be interesting to see what happens when Iker returns. He has about three weeks of recovery left.
SEVEN. I’m sure everyone has a different opinion on the red card given to Nani, so let’s just focus on the glimpse we got of Álvaro Arbeloa’s abs when he lifted his shirt to check the damage, and Xabi and Mesut’s attempt to carry on.
And this made me laugh: apparently, a Manchester United fan was so upset with the referee’s decision that he called the police to report a “crime.” He later apologized for taking such an action. I did find it amusing, but I agree with the inspector – don’t bother the police with stupid things!
EIGHT. Onto the quarterfinals! The draw will be held on March 15, with the games to be played on April 2/3 and April 9/10. The teams that have so far qualified for the quarterfinals are Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, all of which have players with Madrid pasts.
The two goalscorers hugged it out, while Agustín Herrerín and ABMM were waiting for Diego López to hug him. How cute is Agustín, he didn’t want to let Diego go!
Iker had shared this photo of him and Agustín at the training session the previous day. Love both of them!
NINE. The only bad news was the injury to Ángel di María. But I liked how tender Sergio was with him!
TEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
Xabi Alonso, spreading jefe-ness all around the world. I loved it when he told the referee that time was being wasted! So boss!
ELEVEN. More than half of Madrid’s basketball team – Sergio Llull, Mirza Begić, Felipe Reyes, Nikola Mirotić (wearing a Madrid football jersey), Jaycee Carroll, Marcus Slaughter, Guillermo Hernangómez, Don Draper – got together to watch the game! I love it when the two teams support each other!
TWELVE. Well, Karim won’t be alone in jail for speeding, Marcelo might be joining him. On Feb. 12, Marcelo was stopped for not stopping for a right of way near Madrid’s training grounds. The police subsequently found that he had no more points left on his driver’s license, and the Directorate General of Traffic had already declared his license invalid. Driving without any points is considered a crime against traffic safety, and punishments range from a jail sentence of three to six months to fines to community service. If Marcelo wants to regain his driver’s license, he has to wait six months, take a course and pass a test.
UPDATE: Marcelo was ordered to pay 6,000 euros – 25 euros a day for eight months – for driving with no points left on his license.
Perhaps it’s time that Madrid consider arranging a carpool service to and from training sessions?
BONUS: MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín has shaved his head! He did it for charity, so I approve of it (not that he needs my approval or anything. Besides, that little face is adorable enough to support any hairstyle). ABMM tweeted, “the haircut was for a promise I made to the children at Niño Jesús Hospital. A hug for all of them.”
I want to touch it too!