all set for Real Sociedad!
Can you believe we are almost at the end of the season? We have two matches left before the summer, the first of which takes place tonight against Real Sociedad at the Anoeta (20h). Today is also the 12th anniversary of our 28th Liga. During the celebration at the Bernabéu, Iker drove the medical cart around, with Tote, Alberto Rivera and Álvaro Benito in tow. That is the image that has stuck with me whenever I think about that season.
A quick stroll down memory lane.
Here are a couple more pictures from the celebration at the Bernabéu. There are a few people here that are still with the team…
Preparations for the game.
The team has been training the entire week for this game, and will get a two-day break after it, meaning preparations for the last game of the season against Osasuna won’t begin until Wednesday. During the last training session of the week on Saturday, Iker, Sergio and Xabi worked out in the gym, and as such, none of them made the list for the game. It was reported that Iker has problems with his back, while Sergio is suffering from a hamstrings micro-tear, and Xabi has problems with his hip (that unfortunately means that madridistas and maybe even a few txuri-urdin in Donosti won’t be able to see the hometown boy and Tambor de Oro). Fábio Coentrão also did not make the list, due to muscle pain. And of course, Rafa Varane is still recovering from his knee surgery.
Here are my favorite training photos from the past week, although as you can see, the majority did not take place when the boys were actually training.
The team traveled to San Sebastián on Saturday afternoon, and Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil signed autographs for all the madridistas in Donostia. Both of them have such shiny hair, no?
Mesut also shared a self portrait with us.
This game against La Real will be Madrid’s second to last of the season, and perhaps Marcelo’s last of the season, as Madrid has agreed to release him to Brazil so that he can be present when the concentración for the Confederations Cup begins on May 28 in Rio. Brazil is starting things off a bit earlier than other national teams taking part in the tournament, such as Spain, which won’t even release the list until May 27.
And Cristiano finished this season’s edition of the Champions League as the top goalscorer with 12 goals.
End of the Mou era.
FP convened a press conference on May 20 to announce the news that everyone expected, which was that José Mourinho will not be in charge of Real Madrid next season. He affirmed that Mou had not been dismissed, and that the club and Mou had reached a mutual agreement to part ways. FP also highlighted the successes achieved during Mou’s time on the bench, saying he believes the balance has been positive. He also said that Madrid has not yet made contact with any potential coaches as “that is work for the next few days.”
I will always be grateful to Mou for the successes he did achieve during his time here, but I won’t miss the drama at all, not one bit. I would like to see the focus go back to football, and for Madrid to regain the respect it had before.
The other issue that came up during the press conference was that of elections for the presidency of Real Madrid. The election will take place on June 16, and FP will be in the running. The other candidates, if there are any, had 10 days starting from the official announcement published in at least two national newspapers to submit their candidacies. To be a candidate, one must be Spanish, of age, a socio for at least 20 consecutive years and not a director of any other club. He or she must also present a guarantee from a bank for 15 percent of the club’s budget, which is equivalent to about 75 million euros now (in 2009, it was 52.5 million). The candidate must also be accompanied by a board of nine, and those who will be vice presidents need to have been socios for at least 15 consecutive years, and the rest need to have been a socio for at least a decade. The election committee will examine all the candidacies to see if they meet all of the requirements. In the case of only one valid candidate,
Florentino Pérez that candidate will be proclaimed president on June 2.
None of the possible candidates who have expressed an interest in running meet all the requirements, either lacking the money or the time as socio, and therefore it’s very likely that FP will continue to serve as president of Real Madrid.
I don’t want to say a lot about the Copa del Rey final against Atleti, so I’ll just briefly mention how nice it was to hear the “lo lo los” during the national anthem instead of the boos, how sad it is that our rivals can’t have a celebration without mentioning us, and how great it must be for Atleti fans under the age of 14 to finally know what it’s like for their team to beat Real Madrid.
As for the expulsions in that game, José Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo were given a two-game suspension and one-game suspension, respectively. As their infractions aren’t considered serious, the suspensions will be served out in the tournament in which they occurred, meaning they won’t miss Liga games. Mou had been sent off in the 75th minute for “getting up off the bench and repeatedly protesting with his arms in the air,” while Cris was suspended for “violence during the game,” having been written up as having “kicked Gabi in the face with his boot without the intention of trying to get the ball, leading the latter to have to be attended on the field.”
Castilla’s win over Lugo on May 18, which ended 3-1 behind one goal from Borja and two from MFC ABMM, meant that our filial will continue playing in the second division next year. Castilla is currently 10th in the table with three games left (their next game is this afternoon at 17h against Elche, which has already sealed its promotion to the first division). Following the game against Lugo, Alberto Toril revealed at his press conference that the team will look quite different next year, since there will be several departures: “Juanfran won’t be here, and I imagine that Jesé and Denis won’t be here either. Mosquera, Mateos, Iván… we have to start all over again, an era is ending.”
The Castilla boys also got together for dinner at Portobello.
And the Alevín A team became the latest team in La Fábrica to become champions, bringing the total to nine. Alevín A beat Adarve A 9-0 in its latest game. This season, it won 25 out of 26 games. The other champions are all three of the Juvenil teams, Cadete B, Infantil A, Alevín B, Benjamín A and Prebenjamín.
GQ España did a nice profile of Álvaro Arbeloa, which you can find here – it deals mostly with La Roja, so I put it on the other blog.
In a recent interview with Grada 360, Vicente del Bosque was shown a photo of him and FP from the time he was coach of the first team. He was asked whether this photo brought back good or bad memories, and he responded, “no, no, it always brings back good memories. I’ve never stopped saying that I am and I have been of Madrid (del Madrid in Spanish), I grew up in this club and I have an affection and an enormous admiration for the club, and I know what it has given me in life. I have the maximum respect for everyone of the club.” I miss him!
Marca interviewed Dani Carvajal, who is back in Spain following his successful year in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen. There are quite a few rumors that he’s on his way back to Madrid, who has a three-year-long option to buy him back. Here are highlights from that interview.
on the possibility of returning: this option exists and they have their decision. I have confidence in myself and I feel prepared to return to Madrid, or to play in the Champions League with Bayer Leverkusen. But I try not to think too much about it (returning to Madrid). Right now I’m just enjoying my vacation after a long year in which we achieved the goal of qualifying for the Champions. Now I’m thinking about the U-21 team, which hopes to win the Europeo.
on being a madridista: I consider myself a madridista, I was born supporting Madrid, I wore the shirt for 10 years and my essence is madridista.
on canteranos reaching the first team: it sounds like a myth, but it is a dream. You say, “imagine if one day it will be my turn to play in the Bernabéu.” Of course I’ve dreamed about it, and I’ll continue dreaming about it if I don’t achieve it. The cantera of Madrid, if it’s not the best, is among the best in the world. It always produces players of a high level. Many footballers have gone on to good teams.
on Mou and Toril: Mou is a great coach, and he’s the one that has allowed many canteranos to debut, and that means something. He’s also worked well this year with Nacho and Morata. As for Toril, I”ve always said he’s the best coach that I’ve had. He has taught me a lot and he made me grow as a player. He also has the madridista gene.
on whether the cantera needs to be represented on the first team: it’s important because it imprints something that someone who comes from the outside can’t feel. I say that because I’m outside and I don’t know how to express the history of Bayer. This is normal, but it’s also not necessary to obsess over promoting the entire Castilla team at once.
The newspaper also spoke to Dani’s childhood friends, Dani Barato, Adrián Vallejo and Hugo Carrasco. They say he was already a standout when they were teammates at the age of seven to 10, and always cried when his team lost. Adrián adds, “when he didn’t win the games during recess, he would throw himself on the ground and cry, and the teachers would have to come and pick him up.” Carva admits that he still hates losing. His friends also say that he’s very simple and straightforward, as his parents have controlled him well (Dani just bought a house in Leganés for them).
I hope Dani comes back to us!
Iker, MFC ABMM and Dani showed up for Clínica Menorca’s fourth annual padel tournament benefiting breast cancer. Iker didn’t play, but two of the three amigos did. Fernando Hierro and Chendo were also present to support Clínica Menorca.
Pepe, meanwhile, was spotted at the Palacio de los Deportes watching the basketball team take on – and beat – Blusens Monbus in the first game of the quarterfinals of the playoffs (Madrid won game two on Sunday as well, and is through to the semifinals). I love it when the players from the two teams support each other!
I also love it when our canteranos stay friends, such as Diego López and Jordi Codina!
What else do I love? Seeing our footballers in their role of papá! Ane seems to adore her papá, and I’m sure she has Xabi wrapped around her little finger.
And if you’re still feeling sad…