all set for Atleti!
What’s 77 centimeters tall, weighs 17 kilos and was once run over by a bus? The Copa del Rey, of course! A derbi madrileño will decide the winner of the 2013 edition, as Madrid takes on Atleti tonight (21:30h) at the Bernabéu. Tonight could be the night for number 19, and I hope to see you all at Cibeles!
Karim is sporting some “glamorous” boxers…
Preparations for the game.
The team trained for the last time on Thursday morning, and shortly after José Mourinho called up 24 players for the game, or in other words, the entire team minus the injured Rafa Varane. I expect Denis, Álex and José Rodríguez will also be invited as they had played minutes in this year’s edition of the Copa del Rey. On Friday morning, the team had a stretching session at Valdebebas, and all 24 players called up took part. They also received a visit from Luis Figo at the team hotel.
Pipita still loves his Chori, and did Sergio just roll out of bed? Meanwhile, Mesut seemed determined to kick as high as Sami’s head…
The team also received a visit from big madridista and socio de honor Sergio García. He keeps his golf clubs protected with Real Madrid covers, has played in Iker’s charity game and has visited training sessions before. What’s not to like?
Sergio Ramos spoke to the press on Thursday night. Here are some highlights.
on the importance of the final after all the drama: what we shouldn’t be worrying about at all are the rumors; as I said last week, the important thing is the group, and Madrid, which is above any of us, all of us, and when you’re playing for a title, you should believe nothing is more important than that.
on whether he’d be surprised not to have Pepe next to him tomorrow: I’m not the one who decides, if I were the coach I would tell you the line-up, but I don’t have the license or the desire to be one yet, and I’m sure the míster is competent enough to decide on the line-up. But what I can tell you is that from training with my teammates, we have an enormous desire for tomorrow to come and that all of us should be prepared, from the first one to the last, and no one should feel like a starter or a substitute, that’s the mentality to have and maintain, because competition makes us all better.
on Cristiano and the rumors of a departure: I don’t think many people have the money to pay the millions of euros that are his buyout clause, so there’s not much more to say. Crís is a footballer who should be in Madrid and who is happy in Madrid, and I don’t believe he is considering leaving.
on Mou’s absence from the press conference: (pretends to call someone) míster, where are you? No, if I’m here that means something. I can answer the questions just as well as he can. We’re here to speak about football, about the final of the Copa, not to speak about anyone’s future, not the coach’s future, not any of the controversies. There’s no question that the míster can answer that I can’t. There’s no need to create debates. One of the captains is here, and I think that should be respected, it’s not bad at all… sometimes the coach comes out to speak, sometimes we decide it should be a player. I didn’t mind speaking to the press and I do it with pleasure.
on whether Mourinho has changed: I’m not here to speak about Mourinho, I’m here to talk about the final, and I’m sorry, but I can’t answer your question.
on whether he’s curious about Mou’s absence from the press conference and if he asked anyone why: no, no, no, I’m not curious at all (laughter from the journalists). I was told there was a press conference and of course I had no problems doing it, in fact I’m ready to answer your questions, but as long as they’re related to the Copa del Rey and the game tomorrow. As for the rest, I don’t think it’s the right moment to speak about that, and I don’t think it will bring anything to the team.
Before the day ended, we also got a self portrait from Mesut! I can see Karim in the exact same pose… In fact….
More on the actual trophy.
The Copa del Rey trophy is 77 centimeters tall, weighs 17 kilos and is made of sterling silver, while the base is made of wood with a layer of polyester. The year’s trophy has something new, which is the logo of the competition under the base. This was inspired by the NBA’s championship trophy and F1 trophies. In this way, whenever the trophy is lifted up, and it will be frequently, the logo of the competition can be seen. There are 22 small plaques on the base of the trophy, which have the year and the name of the champion on them, starting from 1991 (next year, the size of the plaques will be reduced because there isn’t any more space). The trophy also has ribbons in the colors of the two finalists tied to the “ears.”
The winning club gets to keep the trophy for one year, and after that it returns it to the RFEF, and gets a mini replica measuring 50 centimeters tall in exchange. The big trophy is then cleaned up and any repairs that are needed are made, to get it ready for the next winner.
The only clubs that get to keep the big trophy are those that win three consecutive Copas del Rey, or has won it five times since 1977, the year when the Copa del Rey competition was born. Since that time, only Barcelona has managed to win it five times, so it has one of the trophies. Alternatively, an extraordinary event may see a club keeping the trophy in their possession, such as in 2010, when Sevilla, the champion that year, asked the RFEF to let the club keep it to commemorate Spain winning the World Cup. Previously, Madrid had been allowed to keep the first Copa de la República (1936), Sevilla the first Copa del Generalísimo (1939) and Atleti the last Copa del Generalísimo (1976).
The trophy is made by the Alegre family, which has worked with the RFEF since 1940. Federico Alegre is the grandson of the founder of Joyeros y Trofeos Deportivos Alegre in Madrid. In an interview with AS, he said the following.
on Sergio Ramos dropping the trophy and destroying it: I am always prepared, I always think that something could happen to the trophy when it is presented, the day after, a fall. So I thought the best thing would be to have a plan B, which was to have a replica. I am present at the stadium each time the final is played so I can hand over a replica if necessary. I never thought that it would fall from a bus. I was on my way from Valencia to Madrid with my nephew, we were about 70 kilometers from the city and we heard about what had happened on the radio. When I realized it wasn’t a joke, I stepped on the accelerator and rushed to the Bernabéu. I had the replica in my trunk. I asked the security guard to let me enter the parking lot, and when he saw my face he allowed me to enter. I arrived three minutes before the bus carrying the team. Herrerín stepped off followed by Dudek and I saw a box covered with a flag. He said to me, “you’re already here.” We went to his office and I saw that the trophy had been destroyed. I immediately handed over the other one.
on who he will cheer on in the game: I’ve been a socio of Madrid since the day I was born, 50 years ago. In addition, I was very mourinhista. I always defended him, but I didn’t like his statements of the last several weeks. I had defended him to the death, but now it’s hard to do that for everything he said.
The usual anecdotes, curiosities and statistics from AS and Mr. Chip.
Good luck charm: Madrid lost the two finals in which Iker Casillas did not play. Casillas, who will be on the bench, is a good luck charm. Not only did Madrid lose the two finals in which Iker didn’t play, it also allowed five goals, two in the 1-2 against Depor in the 2002 final [the centenariazo] and 2-3 against Zaragoza in the 2004 final. Iker has played eight finals of tournaments: one World Cup, two Eurocopas, two Champions Leagues, one Copa del Rey, one U-16 Eurocopa (1997) and one Meridian Cup (1999). Iker has played 732 minutes in these finals (including three overtime periods) and has only allowed one goal, in the Meridian Cup.
2012-13 Copa: 83 teams participated in the 2012-13 edition of the Copa del Rey, 20 from the first division, 20 from the second division, 33 from the second B division and 10 from the third division. A total of 111 games have been played, where 285 goals were scored. The first one was scored by Lander Gabilondo (Amorebieta) on Aug. 29, 2012 at 18:33h at La Caseta de Noja.
Giant killers: only three clubs from a lower category eliminated a first division team in this edition: Las Palmas beat Rayo, Córdoba beat Real Sociedad and Eibar beat Athletic. For the first time in the last four years, all of the quarterfinalists were first division teams: Sevilla, Zaragoza, Valencia, Madrid, Betis, Atlético, Málaga and Barça.
The best: the players who have played the most minutes in this Copa are Pinto (720), Navas (630), Fazio (630), Courtois (630), Mario Suárez (607) and Varane (585). The top goalscorers are Diego Costa (7), Cristiano (6) and Negredo (6). Rakitic has the most assists with four, although Benzema (3), Özil (3), Gabi (2) and Xabi Alonso (2) can top him tonight.
Finals: Madrid has played eight Copa finals at the Bernabéu and has only won two (against Sevilla in 1962 and against Castilla in 1980). It’s the team that has lost the most finals at the Bernabéu, with six. Atlético has played 10 Copa finals at the Bernabéu, winning eight and losing two (to Athletic in 1956 and Zaragoza in 1964). Atleti has won the last six finals it has played at the Bernabéu.
White streak: Madrid has not lost at the Bernabéu for 43 straight games, from the loss in the Copa to Barcelona (1-2) on Jan. 18, 2012. It’s the fifth longest streak in its history and the best in the the last 22 years (72 was the streak set between 1988 and 1990). The best record is 84 games, established between 1977 and 1981.
Madrid vs. Atleti: they have played 247 official games, with a record of 132-55-6o for Madrid. In the Copa, the record is 15-13-9, although Atleti does hold a 3-1 advantage in finals.
Wins: Madrid has won 10 official games against Atleti (the last non-victory was the 1-1 on March 7, 2009). There are only five rivals in history it has longer streaks against: Unión Sporting Club de Madrid (15, between 1925 and 1930), Real Sociedad (15, between 1959 and 1970, and 12, between 1931 and 1943), Granada (12, between 1944 and 1963), Málaga (11, between 2002 and 2010) and Athletic (11, between 1960 and 1964).
Games without losing: Madrid has not lost to Atleti in the last 25 games, from the 1-3 loss on Oct. 30, 1999. This is the fourth longest streak in Madrid’s history. The record is Madrid’s 35 non-losing games against la Real between 1957 and 1977, the 29 against Murcia between 1946 and 2004 and the 28 against Las Palmas between 1951 and 1970.
Derby in the final: this is the ninth regional derby in a Copa final and the first in 21 years. The last non-Madrid derby in a final was played 56 years ago. The games are: Racing Irún 1-0 Athletic (1913), Real Unión 1-0 Arenas (1927), Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol (1957), Atlético 3-1 Real Madrid (1960), Atlético 3-2 Real Madrid (1961), Real Madrid 0-0 Atlético (1975), Real Madrid 6-1 Castilla (1980) and Atlético 2-0 Real Madrid (1992).
Most games: Madrid is the club that has played the most number of games in the history of the Copa del Rey: 577. The record is 333-97-147. Atleti is ranked fifth with 495. Madrid has won 18 of its 37 finals, and Atleti, 9 of 18.
Consecutive Copas: Madrid has not won two consecutive Copa finals in 31 years (1980 against Castilla and 1982 against Sporting). Only two teams have lost four or more consecutive Copa finals: Real Madrid (1918, 1924, 1929, 1930, 1933) and Real Sociedad (1910, 1913, 1928, 1951).
Finalists: twelve Madrid players have played in a Copa final: Albiol (with Valencia), Iker, Arbeloa, Sergio, Carvalho, Marcelo, Khedira, Pepe, Xabi, Di María, Cristiano and Özil. Atleti has three: Cata Díaz (with Getafe), Tiago and Raúl García. Juanfran is the only colchonero to have won the title (with Espanyol in 2006, although he didn’t play in the final). Albiol and Cata played against each other for the title in 2008.
Madrid on Fridays: Madrid has not played an official game on a Friday in 11 years. The last time was the 2002 European Supercup final, where Madrid beat Feyenoord 3-1. It’s the only Friday game Madrid has won of the last seven it has played. Madrid has played at the Bernabéu on a Friday five times: the 0-0 against Málaga on Oct. 12, 1973, the 0-2 against Barça on April 30, 1976, the 2-1 against Valencia on June 23, 1989, the 1-0 against Betis on May 15, 1998, and the 0-1 against Valladolid on May 19, 2000.
Reliable: Casillas has accumulated 587 consecutive minutes (almost 10 hours) in finals without allowing a goal, including the streak of five decisive games in the three most prestigious tournaments in the world (one World Cup, two Eurocopas and two Champions). In fact, since he turned professional, he has never received a goal in the final of a long tournament, not with Madrid (three finals) and not with Spain (three finals). In each of these six finals, Iker was decisive, making a total of 21 saves.
Diego López: he is the only player to have played this edition of the Copa with two first division teams (Sevilla and Madrid). Four years ago, Toquero got to the final with Athletic, after being eliminated with Eibar, and five years ago, Gavilán split hairs: he started the season with Valencia, he was loaned out to Getafe in the winter market and got to the final with the azulones against… Valencia, who didn’t allow him to play.
Cristiano: he has scored eight goals in his last six games against Atleti (two on De Gea in three games, two on Asenjo in one game and four on Courtois in two games). If Cris scores tonight, he will become the ninth player in the history of Madrid to score in two or more Copa finals, after Prast (1905, 1906, 1907), Sánchez Neyra (1903, 1908), Lazcano (1929, 1930, 1933, 1934), Hilario (1934, 1936), Pruden (1946, 1947), Puskas (1960, 1961, 1962), Pirri (1970, 1974) and Santillana (1974, 1980, 1983).
Mourinho: he could become the fourth coach to win two Copas with Madrid, after Paco Bru (1934, 1936), Miguel Muñoz (1962, 1970) and Luis Molowny (1974 and 1982). Spain will be the first place where Mou has won the Copa twice, since he has also won that title once each in Italy, England and Portugal.
Supercopa de España: the winner of the game will play Barça in the Supercopa de España. If it’s Madrid, it will be the first time in which the Supercopa pits the same two teams for three consecutive years. The Atlético-Barcelona match-up has not been played in 17 years.
Congratulations are in order for Álvaro and Carlota, who are now the proud parents of Raúl, and Alba, who is now a big sister! Carlota tweeted on Thursday, “thank you all so much for your messages! We already have Raúl here with us, and he’s gorgeous!” If you think back to Álvaro Arbeloa’s Real… interview, he revealed that he and his brothers had made an agreement to name their sons after their brothers, so we already knew that the boy would be named Raúl.
David Beckham has announced his retirement! What joy he brought to us during his time at Real Madrid, especially his special relationship with Iker and his attempts to speak Spanish! I think the only word he learned while he was here was “joder.”
And a couple of videos. Here we have Cristiano, Marcelo and Sami Khedira supporting Michael Essien’s Game of Hope. Highlights include Marcelo saying he is Mike Essien, Sami Khedira asking what his name is (whether he should say who he is), Marcelo getting tripped up on English grammar and cracking up (repeatedly), and Cris saying “ope.” And of course Marcelo’s gesture of triumph and “yeah man” shout (keep watching to the end to see Marcelino reappear).
Kaká, Ricky Carvalho, Rafa Varane and Karim Benzema also filmed a segment. Ricardo is apologetic for his accent, Karim of course has hand gestures to go along with his message, Kaká is all sweaty (and wearing Marcelo’s shirt!) and Rafa is of course serious and a professional. Mikey also makes an appearance!
And check out this ad for Indonesian peanuts and snack company Dua Kelinci! Xabi appears to have shot a few commercials during his time in Indonesia as well.