Well, the boys are already on their way to Pamplona (as per a tweet by Kay Murray earlier) for tomorrow’s match against Osasuna. Prior to take off, there was training and a presser by El Jefe. A bumper crop of bits and bobs to follow.
Mou met with the press today (his favorite people). He pooh poohed reports of a rift with Iker and firmly said that neither he nor any of his representatives have confirmed a deal that would seeing him heading off to coach Manchester City next season. He took the press to task today over The Silence as well. Go Mou go!
Mourinho: “Osasuna’s best quality is that they have a defined style”
by Diego Jabalquinto / Translation by Michael J. O’Donnell
“The league is at stake in every match and there are nine left, so we must continue to see if we take enough points to win it”
Jose Mourinho analysed tomorrow’s clash with Osasuna in the press conference ahead to the team’s trip to Pamplona.
“I expect Osasuna to play like they always do. They fight, they’re aggressive, they play a straightforward game and they have the support of their crowd. It is very difficult for all teams to play in Pamplona, but we want to win because we want to achieve our objectives. There are nine games left and this is the first of them we want to win. We’ll simply have to try to give a good performance.”
“We deservedly lost in Pamplona last season. I remember saying after the game that Osasuna were stronger and created faster ball movement, but I don’t want to say they were more motivated. They simply started with more intensity than us. We’ll have the same referee as we did last year and I expect him to give another excellent performance. I’ve learned to give it all against Osasuna because, like it or not, they have a defined style. That’s their best quality. They know what they’re doing and that’s why we expect the match to be very difficult.”
“The league is at stake in every match and a team normally takes more points at home than on the road. It’s normal in football to think games are easier at home, but the league is at stake in every game, there are nine left and we must continue to focus on one at a time to take enough points to win the title. We’re rested from Tuesday’s match. We would have liked to rest some more and play on Sunday, but we were told it was impossible.”
“Khedira is sick and won’t be able to play. We learned of this in the morning and I have to think what to do about it. Di Maria will be on the squad list and we have yet to see if he starts the match or not.”
“I believe Varane will be better than Laurent Blanc was because he is much faster. He is as intelligent, as calm, has the same presence and the same profile, but he is much faster. That’s what I believe, with all due respect for Laurent, but he’s still just a kid. I expect him to be better than Laurent when he reaches his prime at 26 or 27 years of age.”
“I do not have an entourage. People who say they are part of my entourage do not exist. I do not have one on a sports level. Aitor Karanka and Rui Faria are the ones immediately below me. There are no entourages in football. Also, what people say about my relationship with Casillas is not true. I have no problems with him nor with the rest of my players.”
“Last season, after the Champions League semifinals, we said what we thought with open hearts and you lot killed us. You criticised us again after we criticised the referee when we were eliminated from the Copa del Rey this year. We wanted to avoid controversy and suspensions after facing Villarreal and that is why we didn’t make any comments. We thought we were doing what was best, but we’ve been criticised again. We don’t have any problems; you cause them and have to decide which of the two attitudes is better. You cannot accuse us of looking for controversy this time because we kept quiet. I don’t know if you’re fixated on me or on Real Madrid, but we’re always criticised. We nevertheless believe we did the right thing and neither I nor my players said anything against the referee.”
Calls ups for tomorrow are as follows:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adam and Thomas Mejias
Defenders: Varane, Arbeloa, Marcelo, Ramos, Albiol and Coentrão
Midfielders: Altintop, Sahin, Ozil, Granero, Kaka, Xabi Alonso and Di Maria
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain and Benzema
Sami is sick. Carvalho and Lass are still injured. Pepe is suspended and Calleti was left out due to technical decision (I’m guessing he’s still not up to par since the injury).
Marcelo also spoke to Bwin.com and the Real Madrid website posted some translated excerpts. The pictures of Marcelo are predictably adorable.
Marcelo: “We respect Osasuna, but we’ll give our all to take the three points”
Realmadrid.com / Translation by Michael J. O’Donnell
“It is always complicated to play in Pamplona, but we’ll play our own game and try to win”
Marcelo analysed Saturday’s match against Osasuna for Bwin.com.
“It is always complicated to play in Pamplona. We have respect for Osasuna, but we’ll play our own game and try to win. It will be difficult because it is a tough venue, but we’ll give our all to take three points.”
“We would all want to celebrate winning the league title at Cibeles, but the league isn’t over yet and we’ll have to work very hard to do so.”
“It’s hard to say if I’ll score. I’d rather the team won because it will be a complicated encounter. It would be fine to score, but I’d rather we just won.”
“I’ve become more confident and I’ve matured thanks to my teammates and the club. Everyone’s helped me considerably, but what I yet have to learn here is more important.”
“Cristiano has made history at Real Madrid. He’s scored 35 goals in La Liga this season and there are still nine games left in the championship. I hope he scores many more and helps us win titles.”
He’s like rainbows and unicorns and puppies and kitties and bunnies and ice cream rolled all into one when he smiles, isn’t he? Adorbs.
Sergio’s 26th birthday is practically being treated like a national holiday! He got on Twitter to thank everyone for all the good wishes and shared a video some of his famous pals made for him.
But that wasn’t all – the Real Madrid website featured him in all his pony-esque glory on the front page this morning. Yummy.
And they also posted an article, video and photo retrospective. Do you get the idea that boo is popular? Oh yes he is. But it’s hard not to love The Ramos.
Sergio Ramos celebrates 26th birthday
Realmadrid.com / Translation by Michael J. O’Donnell
The defender has played 302 games with Real Madrid
Today is Sergio Ramos’ 26th birthday. The defender signed for Real Madrid in the 2005/06 season and has since become a leading player on the squad and on the Spanish national team. His versatility has allowed him to perform at the highest level both as a centre back and as a right back, and he’s also managed to tally 36 strikes as a Madridista.
Sergio Ramos was born on 30 March 1986 in Camas (Seville) and made his First Division debut when he was only 17 with Sevilla. He stayed on their first team two years before signing for Real Madrid and making his debut with them on 10 September 2005 against Celta Vigo. Ramos has made 302 appearances with the Madridistas and is second only to Casillas on the current squad.
Ramos has won two league titles, one Copa del Rey and one Spanish Super Cup with Real Madrid. He also won the 2008 Euro and the 2010 World Cup with Spain.
A few more bits and bobs that cropped up. First, Dirty Tackle knocked it out of the park again with this bit about Xavi complaining about the Milan pitch. Hilarious! I bow to Brooks Peck. He also posted this clip of Iker picking his nose and then petting the mascot at APOEL. Ew. Thanks to watishista Em for the heads up on that. I’m going to go with the Seinfeld Theory: “IT WASN’T A PICK, IT WAS A SCRATCH!” Besides, Iker Casillas does not pick his nose. He also doesn’t pass wind or poop. He’s Iker-frigging-Casillas, people! He is a saint! Saints don’t poop! (My story and I’m sticking to it! Just like I believe that Xabi’s sweat smells delightfully of pine trees and musk. And just like Watishista Caitlin believes that Sergio Ramos is a virgin).
Finally, here’s the new Nike Mercurial commercial with Cristiano and Rafael Nadal. Looking very good, gentlemen. Very good indeed.