Poor Nuri! It’s about time we saw him in vague proximity to the ball. He got a call up for tomorrow and Mou had some nice things to say about him in today’s presser. More on that in a minute. But first, we have to look at the boys acting like hyperactive puppies at training.
Ah, they are too silly, aren’t they? They’re just bouncing around like total goofballs. And Sergio’s hair seems to have a life of it’s own. I’m so jealous of his hair, damn it. Why can’t MINE do that?!
Mou did his presser today and had some lovely things to say about Eric Abidal, which was much appreciated. I do hope that the team will do some outward show of support tomorrow like they did the last time.
“We must only think of ourselves against Malaga because every match we win is just another step towards our objective”
by Alberto Navarro / Translation by Michael J. O’Donnell
“If I had to, I’d choose to see the Bernabeu practically packed every night, even when we face sides of inferior divisions in the Copa del Rey. Our fans and their passion make Real Madrid a powerful club. My job is to look for the best possible success conditions in my men, and it all goes through having the affection and fidelity of the crowd, knowing they support you even if you make a mistake. That’s my job. I don’t want and will not criticise anyone. Everything’s at stake for us and we have a chance to win two great championships, or maybe just one of them… But we could win none of them.”
“Malaga are a good side with good players and an experienced coach who did a great job here. They are fourth on the table for the first time and the investment they made this season was for it to be that way. They could have defeated us at home in the Copa del Rey and they also made things difficult on the road for us. We only have to think of ourselves, while last year we awaited the results others earned. Every game we win is another step towards our objective. I’m sure Malaga will make it difficult for us.”
“APOEL reached this far in the Champions League because they won the Last 16 and were either first or second in their group. You can’t talk about stronger and weaker sides at this point. We have to respect our opponent and the run they’ve had this year. They don’t have the track record other sides historically have, but they did very well in the group stage. They’ve grown this year and defeated Porto and Olympique Lyonnais. They have less potential and status than other sides we could have faced. I drew against them in Nicosia with Inter Milan and we didn’t deserve to. Every team that plays there knows it will suffer.”
“It is one thing to play one game a week and another to play three straight games. The rest will also play a league clash on Wednesday and three other teams will have a calendar similar to ours and Barcelona’s for reaching the next round in the Europa League. Five teams will have a calendar different to the rest of the teams in La Liga, but if this is so that Spain have enough time to prepare for the Euro 2012 then it is for the benefit of Spanish football.”
“I think Di Maria may be able to start training again next week, so we’ll take no risks. The end of March and all of April will be complicated, so we’re going to slow it down and prepare him well for what’s to come next month.”
“Sahin is an option we have to replace Xabi Alonso. He will be on the squad list tomorrow and not on the stands. He has made progress in the last few weeks. He has to keep up the good work and he shows he is a true professional. He will stay here next season and more is expected of him. We have faith in him. Rumours about him leaving are just rumours.”
“We’re all with Abidal. If a public act of support could happen tomorrow my men would participate in it. There are no team differences when it comes to these things. This young man deserves to have a fantastic life because he’s done so much for sport he should be proud of. He has his whole life ahead of him and we would love him to play football again. If this problem prevents him from doing so I wish him a long and happy life nonetheless.”
The call ups for tomorrow’s match are as follows (Di Maria is still injured and Albiol has the flu. No Albiolita! WAH!):
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adan, Tomas Mejias
Defenders: Pepe, Arbeloa, Marcelo, Carvalho, Ramos
Midfielders: Sahin, Lass, Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Ozil, Granero, Callejon, Kaka
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain, Benzema
I found a nice preview of tomorrow’s match vs. Malaga on the Real Madrid YouTube channel. Worth a watch!
And while I was there, I stumbled over this “Week in Review” piece from Real Madrid TV. I wish they’d do more of this sort of thing in English.
Whew! Lots to watch. Some little bits and bobs: The social media sites were pretty quiet this morning although last night, Sergio did tweet the picture that of him and Pirata that was the lead shot of yesterday’s training post. He referred to his “grand amigo Piratoski” which cracked me up. Oh and @GotNotGot posted this picture of a big pimpin’ Johann Cruyff which made me choke on my tea. If you haven’t seen the book or the blog, I highly recommend either. I ended up buying it for Christmas for a dear friend of mine from England and it was adorable watching all the guys in the pub gathered around the book squealing in excitement like little kids over the things they remembered from childhood.
Watishista! Em sent me this picture of Luis Figo yesterday wearing what can only be described as Twister Board pants while golfing. She said “You thought Guti had bad pants…” Well, yeah, I did. Right now, I just think that Guti is jealous. As is Sergio.
Guti is currently off in Tenerife with Romina and his kids Aitor and Zayra. Romina tweeted this picture of her with the kids.
Speaking of kids, a proud mami posted this adorable shot of Sergio with her little boy on Twitter yesterday, thanking Sese for “making her nino happy.” Awwwww! So sweet! (But Sergio, baby, what is with those boots?!)
Our good pal, watishisto Peter, has created a new shirt in tribute to his brother in red bearded-ness, Xabi Alonso! It’s got a Roy Lichtenstein feel to it and looks great. He’s got a bunch of other new designs here at his Skreened shop.
Well, that’s it for me now! I finished one of my final exams yesterday so I’m going to take a break, go out for brunch and then lock myself back in the house until game time tomorrow finishing this last paper and presentation. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and for once, it might not be a train! More later…