ICYMI – the déjà vu edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray [2013-04-03, Champions League quarterfinals first leg game, 3-0] and Real Madrid vs. Levante [2013-04-06, Liga jornada 30, 5-1].
ONE. Two different games, two different rivals, two different competitions, but one captain Sergio, rallying the troops in the tunnel in the same way before both the Galatasaray game and the Levante game.
TWO. We also had Mesut acknowledging the affection of the Bernabéu with timid gestures. Against Galatasaray, when he was being subbed out after a great performance, it was applause. Against Levante, as he began to warm up, it was a little wave.
THREE. Cris spoke to his teammates before the games. Against Galatasaray it was in the tunnel, and against Levante it was on the bench, but both times his words – most likely teasing – resulted in smiles and laughter.
Iker was apparently quite hilarious as well.
FOUR. The Xabi Alonso-Pipita Higuaín connection functioned extremely well in both games, giving us the third goal against Galatasaray (the cherry on top of the cake) and the opener against Levante.
That “mini chilena” (Cris’ words) was fantastic, no?
In his celebrations, Pipa made sure to show off that pert bum of his.
He celebrated the goal against Galtatasaray by running over to the bench to hug Pepe because “when I came out to warm up, Pepe told me that I was going to score and I told him that in that case, I would dedicate it to him.” Is it me, or does Gonzalo maintain bromances with like three quarters of the team?
I loved Madrid’s headline for the Levante game: “El Madrid se lo pasa ‘Pipa.'”
FIVE. Xabi Alonso. Intense stares. Muy, muy jefe.
SIX. The Cris-Mes connection also functioned well. A pass from Mesut to Cris led to Madrid’s second goal against Galatasaray, and Cris returned the favor against Levante, providing Mesut with the assist for the team’s fourth goal.
And both times, they ended up in each other’s arms. Need I say more?
SEVEN. And both Karim and Cris celebrated their goals (both volleys off of a bounce, the team’s second against Galatasaray and the team’s third against Levante) with kisses! By the way, the Galatasaray game was the second time in the Champions where each of the three forwards scored in the same game. They had previously done it last year against CSKA.
Mamá Dolores, who was on the receiving end of the kiss, was happy with her son’s performance.
EIGHT. There was also time for showing that above football, there are the friendships. Prior to the Champions League game, we had Sergio and “Welly” hugging it out, and after the Levante game, former teammates (in the cantera) Valdo and Diego López chatted and wrapped their arms around each other, while Xabi and José Barkero (teammates at Real Sociedad) did the same.
NINE. Bonus moments, all from the Levante game: Iker laughing and teasing Chori; Mesut going topless (let’s hope he didn’t throw this shirt into the Bernabéu crowd, since that’s not nice and I’m sure the madridistas wouldn’t like it either)…
… Kaká’s celebration…
… Xabi running his fingers through Cris’ hair during a goal celebration; and Pepe and Sergio’s effusive celebration with Mesut.
Speaking of Cris’ hair… thoughts on the stripes? Even though he’s a Nike guy, they match the Adidas stripes on his shirt quite well. And “match” is not a word we often use to describe Cris’ style…
TEN. By the way, Iker watched the Galatasaray game in a room next to the locker room alongside Calleti, Nacho and MFC ABMM. After the Champions League game, Mou had said Iker would be a substitute against Levante, and that “Diego López has played very well in 13 games in 70 days, while Iker has played in none. There’s no doubt who is more in form,” which means that we will continue to see Iker on the bench. Against Levante, we did see Iker make his return, although he was, as Mou had stated, relegated to the bench after 73 days out. However, there are many who miss him, and he got applause from the crowd when his name was announced.
More Iker: he said while filming a spot for Hyundai that he wants to continue in the world of football after he retires, and that his favorite title is the 2000 Champions League: “it was the first title in my professional career, and for the first one to be a Champions League title is incredible.” He also revealed that he wants to be remembered as “a player who wore the Real Madrid and Spain shirt with very much pride and respect, and who tried to give everything he had for those shirts.”
[On a side note, I’m able to pay much closer attention to the games now, because I no longer constantly glance over at the goal to see what Iker is up to!]
ELEVEN. Other recent moments that I wanted to highlight.
Last week, we had Pepe, Diego López and Sergio Ramos (accompanied by their other halves; in Sergio’s case, it was his best friend Mundi, you know, the one he has that “M” on his lower belly for) supporting the basketball team as they took on Andalou Efes (coincidentally enough, also a team based in Istanbul) in the Euroliga. Madrid won that game 86-66 and will face Maccabi in the quarterfinals.
Here we have Pepe greeting Iria and Sergio greeting Pepe and Diego.
Marcelo and Iker continue taking silly pictures of each other!
Marcelo also tweeted the photo on the right, asking “what do you all think about Morata’s new look?” MFC ABMM tweeted back, “you like it! I know it.” Marcelo then responded, “yes, yes, I love it, hahaha.” And MFC came back with, “what I need is your hair! I’ll see you tomorrow!” Adorable all around! And has ABMM been taking styling tips from Sergio? MFC also shared a photo of him and his idol Didier Drogba after the Galatasaray game.
And though he’s sadly not with us at the moment (I refuse to believe he won’t return to us one day), I still loved this photo Esteban shared of him and his mom both reading! He titled it “Mother and son.” Perfect.
And a random fact: the game against Galatasaray was FP’s 547th in charge of Real Madrid, tying him with Ramón Mendoza. The only president with more games than FP is the legendary Santiago Bernabéu.
TWELVE. As for the cantera, Castilla copied Madrid and also scored five goals as they beat Huesca 5-1 on Sunday. Actually, Castilla scored four – two from Jesé, one each from Borja and Lucas – because one of them was scored by Huesca. And Juvenil A became the first team to win its division, Group 5 of the División de Honor! ¡Alirón! Juvenil A took home the title with five matchdays left after notching up a stellar record of 25-2-1 in 28 games. It was also the highest scoring team (98 goals) and the stingiest (allowing only 14). Next up are the Copa Campeones and the Copa del Rey.
BONUS. Courtesy of reader Greta, we have a translation for the short film “Mesut, 17”! ¡Gracias Greta!
Junior Cup Sindelfingen, January 2006. Schalke Fans sing “Auf geht’s, Schalke, schießt ein Tor!” (Come on, Schalke, score a goal!).
Journalist: Do you think some of these players here could play in the 2010 World Cup?
Joachim Löw (assistant coach of the German NT): Yes, it’s possible. The work with the young players in Germany has improved a lot in the past five, six years. We can see that at the youth academies, at the Bundesliga clubs. It’s high quality work and that also means that we have a lot of young players who can make it in very short time. In the past eight, nine years, we didn’t have so many players of this quality… we integrated six or seven U21 players in the last one and a half years, but we also watch the younger ones, those at the U16, U15 levels, and there are a lot of good players who can really make it in a short time. Our goal has to be the establishment of Germany as one of the world’s top national teams on a long-term basis, playing with young, talented players. We want the players to be able to compete with the others.
Uli Stielike (coach of the German U20 team): I think about the number 11 of Schalke 04. A very interesting player, who is still a Turkish citizen at the moment. He is applying for German citizenship right now and we have our eye on him.
Journalist: that way what happened to Nuri Sahin [the German Football Association did not show interest in Nuri when he was young, so he chose to play for Turkey, which Germany now regrets] won’t happen here.
Uli Stielike: Exactly, this could be a similar case…
Journalist: You are a Turkish citizen [by descent] at the moment and you need a German passport, how are things going?
Mesut Özil: Well currently, very good! Two months from now I should get my German passport.
Journalist: That was never an alternative to you?
Mesut Özil: [Playing] for Turkey? Well, Turkey… I don’t know, maybe later, but right now I want to play for Germany first. Turkey… maybe later, let’s see! In March they [Germany] invited me to play against the French national team and I hope I’ll be able to score goals against France.
Journalist: That is the U19 team?
Mesut Özil: Nah, the U18.
Joachim Löw: These boys are surely a little too young for our next goal, the 2006 World Cup, but I find it interesting to watch how a player progresses. Which abilities does he have? We can notice a lot already!
Uli Stielike: Talent is one thing, but to make it from a youth team to a professional football team, you need a lot more than just “being good at playing football.”
Guido Buchwald: The distance from 18 to 20 into professional football is very large, that’s what some people don’t know. You have to have a lot of patience and you have to invest a lot into your body to make it to the very top.
[Penalty shootout, Mesut takes the penalty, trainer of Werder Bremen: No, no, no…]
Jogi Löw: It’s important to be at the right place at the right time, to have a coach who is able to actually notice the talent and to integrate the player. He needs to trust the player and to give him the self-confidence he needs. The pre-condition is to have technical abilities and a body has all the conditions. You must be able to learn all the things you need when playing on a professional level and you need a lot of “Spielintelligenz” [today this word is used for the ability to read the match], social competence. At the moment of becoming a professional, you also need someone to support you and to tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are and to help you.
[Schalke fans singing “Let’s go, Schalke” to the melody of “Is this the way to Amarillo?,” a song every German (unfortunately) knows.]
[Schalke boys sing “So sehen Sieger aus” (This is what champions look like), a popular German sports chant.]
Mesut Özil: [It’s] a good feeling to be first. A nice tournament, good teams, we won… Schalke.
[Schalke boys sing “Wer nicht hüpft, der ist Borusse” (Who does not jump is Borusse), a chant to offend Borussia Dortmund’s players and fans. The rivalry between Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund is the fiercest in the Bundesliga.]
Journalist: Secretly, you are also the top scorer of the tournament. How important is that to you?
Mesut Özil: That’s nice too, but the team is more important. We all are very happy.
Schalke player: Here! Schalke 04! [4 in German is “vier” and pronounced like “fear.”]
Mesut Özil: Schalke!
Journalist: Just one more short question! What is your goal, when do you want to play for Schalke’s first team? Do you think it is likely?
Mesut Özil: Yes, definitely… I hope so.
Mesut Özil: Yeah, at the end of the season, I think, I can make it…
Mesut Özil gave his first TV interview on this day. In fact, his Bundesliga debut came only some months later.