Training, Angel Presser, Call Ups, Mou Milestone, Cris Interview & More

14 Jan

I moved into my new office today and I’m in the midst of unpacking. First thing I did was hang up my Real Madrid flag lest there be any confusion about what team I support.  Next up was the picture of me, Shigs, Maisougio & her crew at the Spain – USA game. Now that I’ve got  that done, I can get down to business. I feel more relaxed with familiar things around me.

The team trained today for the last time before tomorrow’s Copa Del Rey match against Valencia. This is going to be a toughie. I was heartened to see all the AHA action going on. In this shot, it looks like Pipita and Arbeloa are trying to convince Chori which one of them he should choose. Calleti is in the background which means if Raul is feeling particularly bromantic he could turn it into Booty CAAll. But then Xabi is there too. Is it now going to be named Booty CAAllX? I give up. Freaking insane amount of bromancing on this team. Suffice to say, the Double As seem to be spending a bit more time together. Me gusta. (Additional training pictures via GFSports)

Entrenamiento_del_Real_Madrid (8)

Just because we can’t get enough of this team, here’s some video from yesterday’s training

Angel did the presser today speaking about Valencia, Cristiano, Mou and the referees.


Di Maria: “The Bernabeu crowd will play a very important part against a difficult team like Valencia”

“We know that playing the first match at home we have to get a good result so that we can go into the second leg more relaxed”, said the Real Madrid player

Real Madrid will play against Valencia tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie. Angel di Maria spoke about the match with the media in the press room: “The Bernabeu crowd has a very important role. We know that playing the first match at home we have to get a good result so that we can go into the second leg more relaxed or with an advantage over Valencia. They are a tough opponent, they are in good form but we will try to do our best”.

The Whites are to play against Valencia three times, about which the Argentine said: “Every match is different. The cup is the cup and the league is different. We know that we will have to play very well to get a result at home. Then, in the league, it is different because three points are at stake and it’s not a knockout”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Di_Marýa (5)Valencia have secured seven wins in the eight matches that Valverde has been in charge. Di Maria praised the quality that their opponents have: “It is a very difficult match. A tough opponent that we know will come to the Bernabeu to win and that are not going to wait and see what happens. They have very good players and go out onto the field as equals against Real Madrid. We know what to expect and we will try to do our best to get a good result to take into the second leg. We know it’s a very important match for us because the league will be hard to win. The Copa del Rey and the Champions League are two very important goals for the remainder of the year and we want to try to win them”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Di_Marýa (3)The Whites’ midfielder continues to work hard to perform at the highest level with the Whites: “I feel great, I work hard to be at 100%. Lately I have not been playing, but because of coaching decisions and I work hard every day to get into the starting eleven or be there whenever the coach needs me. It is difficult in the sense that when a player is not playing it is harder to go on for 15 or 20 minutes and it is not the same as playing from the start. Not having the same continuity as previous years means that is difficult to be at the same tempo, but I’m working on that and I try to maintain the level that I was at before”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Di_Marýa (6)Real Madrid turn their thoughts to a different competition having played in the league last Saturday: “The mindset changes because we know it is a very difficult knockout tie. We know that a poor result at home could put us out and that Valencia are a very difficult opponent. The mentality that each individual player has is what we change. Things in the league are not going well but when we played against Celta at home and we knew we had to win, we gave everything and even playing a man down we ended up winning”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Di_Marýa (1)About Cristiano Ronaldo’s future with the Whites and his absence from the last match he said: “That’s personal. Each individual knows what he has to do. He still has a contract. From my point of view he is a very important player for Real Madrid and the club need him. I think he has done things in the best way to get the renewal. Then it’s his decision if he wants to stay, if he wants to renew or not. When Cristiano plays there is an obvious difference, he is a very important player and it always shows when he is not playing. He can play a definitive role at any moment, but we have other players who are doing very well and are in good form too”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Di_MarýaThe Argentine answered questions about whether Mourinho has given an explanation for him not starting matches: “I have not said anything to him. Neither when I was playing nor when I’m not playing. They are coaching decisions. When he wants to talk with a player, he does so and when he doesn’t, he doesn’t. He has decided to take another approach about who is not in the starting eleven and who is on the bench. It is his choice. Every coach puts out the eleven that they want to play and I want to keep working hard to be in that eleven”.

Referring to recent refereeing decisions that the Whites have suffered because of and Kaka’s sending-off against Osasuna, he said: “I think that recently referees have made mistakes that have gone against us. That is football, these things happen. About Kaka, the first yellow was for an elbow but on TV it looks like they jumped back-to-back and he did not see him, and for the second, it was bad luck. They wanted to take it quickly and the opposing player surely knew that he was on a yellow and he got sent off. You all know more than anyone that lately, with Real Madrid, referees are getting confused and are making bad decisions. There have been sending-offs, yellow cards and things that opponents could have got sent off for but didn’t and then they send one of us off for the slightest thing. These things happen but I think that sometimes they are mistakes that are not made by mistake”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Di_Marýa (4)About the mood in the dressing room, he said that it is “the best it can be. Obviously last year we were higher up in the league and the motivation in this competition was different. We still have the Copa del Rey and the Champions League to play for and we want to win them both and the entire dressing room think the same way. We are not letting the league go. There are tough matches where sometimes the results do not go your way. Being Real Madrid we should not be so far away from first place. Barcelona are very good but we’re trying to get some good continuity to get closer”.

In conclusion, he referred to the Champions League tie against Manchester United and the team’s form: “We have to keep improving, try to play like we did at home against Celta. Hopefully we can be at that level when we play in the Champions League. It is essential for us and what we want most of all. We know that we have a tough match against Manchester United, but we also have a chance to go through”.

The following players were called up for tomorrow’s match:

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adán and Tomás Mejías.
Defenders: Varane, Coentrão, Carvalho, Marcelo, Arbeloa and Albiol.
Midfielders: Khedira, Alonso, Essien, Callejón, Modric, Kaká, Özil and Di María.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuaín.

mou 600Tomorrow’s match will be Mou’s 600th as a coach. Head on over to the mothership to read more about his incredible career. (Love that shot of him too!)

Cristiano was interviewed on FIFA’s website and among other things defended Mou and said he wants to see out his contract at Real Madrid.

729d28f8790be7b9253aecde768f51a4FROM FIFA.COM

Ronaldo: Criticism is part of life
( Monday 14 January 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the biggest stars on Planet Football, boasting the kind of prolific record that puts him among the finest attackers ever to play the game. Whether it be racing down either flank, leaving yet another opponent trailing with an exquisite piece of skill or adding to his phenomenal goalscoring tally, Ronaldo’s presence on the field is a guarantee of the spectacular.

Chosen among the world’s top three players on four occasions between 2007 and 2011, the 2008 winner was back in Zurich for the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala 2012, where he came second to Lionel Messi. Shortly before the prizes were handed out at the prestigious Gala on 7 January, the Portuguese icon spoke exclusively to Cristiano, over recent years you have become a regular fixture at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala. How does it feel to be part of the global elite once more?

Cristiano Ronaldo: Very good. It’s a great honour to be nominated and it makes me very happy. It proves that I’ve maintained very high standards over my career and that can only be something to be happy about. What’s changed since the first time? I’m virtually the same guy, I’ve got a bit more experience than a few years ago but I’ve still got the same level of ambition. In general, though, I’m the same person and the same player.

Back then you were playing for Manchester United and now you’re at Real Madrid. How do the two clubs differ?

They’re the best two clubs in the world and that’s why it’s always difficult to be successful with them. They’ve got positive things and less positive things. I think there’s more pressure at Madrid than at United. I’ve been here for three-and-a-half years now and I think that’s the case because everyone involved in totally focused on winning the club’s tenth European Cup. That creates a certain amount of anxiety, which can be felt at all times.

Do you think the level of expectation sometimes adversely affects on-pitch performances?

I think that, yes, the pressure is too great and that sometimes it can affect us. But we have to try and rise above it and not let what people say get to us, particularly the media, as Real Madrid get spoken about every day. At the end of the day it comes down to an individual decision, whether you want to read the papers or not. I don’t think what the papers say matters too much, so there’s no need to overdramatise the issue.

People who know me and those who’ve played alongside me know what kind of a guy I am. Those who don’t know me can say and think whatever they want.

Do you think the team’s inconsistent start to this season’s La Liga has cranked up the pressure on the club?
We haven’t started the championship very well for sure. We know that La Liga’s an uphill struggle for us now, but nothing’s impossible in football. We’re going to work hard, win games and see what happens. And of course, there’s the Champions League and the Copa del Rey too. There’s plenty for us to win this season.

Under the circumstances, is winning the UEFA Champions League Madrid’s main priority for this campaign?
Yes, of course. Every Madridista wants that tenth European Cup – we’re more than aware of that. Last season we fell just short, which was very frustrating. Fortunately we’ve got the opportunity to set the record straight this year, though the fact we face Manchester United next makes it more difficult. It’s not going to be easy and I reckon the odds are about 50-50, but I’m still very confident.

If Real Madrid can rediscover their best form, do you think they’ll be favourites to go through?
No team’s unbeatable, but when we’re at our best we’re a really good side. Manchester United have started the English championship race very well and are a long way ahead of the rest, but still, if we play the way we’re capable of, we can beat them. To do that we need to pull together and play as a team, like we’ve done in so many matches before.

Madrid’s league form has also led to protests against coach Jose Mourinho from sections of the Bernabeu faithful. What’s your opinion on that?
People do protest and you have to respect that, though I think they should be a bit patient with him. To me it’s very clear that Mourinho always wants what’s best for the club and will fight to the death to defend it. All of us who work alongside him know that, but you’ve still got to show respect for the fans’ opinion. In my view he’s the best coach in the world, he’s got loads of experience and has won everything there is to win.

It’s also not unknown for spectators to take issue with you as well. Why do you think controversy sometimes surrounds you?
I don’t know. I can’t answer that question with total certainty, because it’s something I’ve asked myself too. People who know me and those who’ve played alongside me know what kind of a guy I am. Those who don’t know me can say and think whatever they want. I’m able to respect those who criticise me, because I know they’ve got the wrong idea about me. You just have to learn to live with it because criticism is part of life for every footballer, for everybody in fact.

There’s been discussion recently over whether you might be changing clubs. Is that something you can see happening in the future?
I want to see out my contract at Real Madrid: I’m very clear about that. After that, well, I don’t know what’ll happen in the future.

On an individual note, why do you think you’ve been so successful during your career to date?
I think that it’s down to talent and the fact I’ve worked incredibly hard to achieve my objectives. You need to be humble enough to know what’s missing from your game and work towards it. Throughout my whole career I’ve always tried to learn, evolve and win trophies. I’m very ambitious, I always want to win and I’ll stay that way until I hang up my boots.

What’s more, you’ve also had some major highlights off the pitch, such as when your son was born, right?
That was the best moment of my life, it makes you really proud. He makes me feel very happy and fulfilled.

Would you like him to be a footballer?
He’ll do what he wants to do. Of course it’s something I’d like and I will give him a bit of a nudge towards football, but what he does will be his decision and I’ll support him in whatever he decides.

What sort of things do you enjoy doing away from football?
I like to do the things I’m not able to do while I’m working, such as spending time with my family, travelling, going for walks, watching basketball, tennis and being with my son. Once I leave the pitch I put football to one side. Off the field I’d rather just be a normal guy.

Does fame get too much for you sometimes? Do you ever miss having a lower public profile?
Being a footballer has good things and other aspects that aren’t so good. You miss out on doing normal things and on certain situations that you’d experience if you weren’t well-known. But this is the profession I chose and all that’s part of the package. I don’t regret my choice in the slightest.

Finally, would you say you were happy at this point in your career?
Honestly, yes. I’m doing something I like, something that I enjoy. I know how fortunate I am and I feel very fulfilled.

And now for a couple of quick bits and bobs:

Marcelo posted a bench shot from Osasuna. Mesut looks like he’s been caught unaware and Karim looks so excited that it’s adorable. (“I have FRIENDS! See? SEE?”)

988d6f545d8411e2b8f122000a1f9345_7While Papi was hanging with his buds it looks like Tio Caio & Tia Yasmin were out with The Cutest One. They posted a shot with a conked out Enzo. Adorable.

df231e185dda11e292b622000a1fb73b_7I can’t wait till these two have kids. Enzo needs a cousin! I just love Caio and Yasmin, they seem like they just enjoy the hell out of each other, much like Marcelo & Clarice.

c7632fb05da911e2819022000a1f99d8_7When I was looking for pictures before lunch I was taunted by ‘ballers chronicling food. Marta & Calleti went out for Mexican (What’s more delicious – the food or Jose?)

de1da6f05b6411e2b8e322000a1f97ed_7And Juan Mata posted a picture of his lunch which made my stomach growl. I had left overs. LEFT-FRIGGING-OVERS. I had total lunch envy. (BTW, here’s the latest installment of Juan’s blog One Hour Behind)

96c997f85e5911e29b1a22000a1fb711_7Snow in England and Spain was the most popular subject today. Iker posted this shot of his beloved Navalcruz.

4012e0985d7511e292a022000a1faf61_7David Silva gave us a lovely Manchester snowscape for our viewing pleasure.

BAkEGzJCYAAx25DAnd David Luiz, being his inimitable self, posted a morning shot from his London balcony.

16b655345e2611e29b0e22000a9f12cb_7Love that guy! He seems to enjoy every day. While it’s snowing in Europe, it’s 55F here in NYC today. Super warm for this time of year. But we’re going to have snow within the next two days from what I hear.  Well, back to unpacking my office. More later!

– Lozil

7 Responses to “Training, Angel Presser, Call Ups, Mou Milestone, Cris Interview & More”

  1. em January 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    It was in the upper 80’s here today. I drove around with the top down. Can’t say I miss hanging around in snow. Too cold. Nice to see others enjoying it, though.

  2. CinematiqueChic January 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    I think David Luiz outdid himself with that photo! Not an easy feat.

  3. drea January 15, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    I wonder if the building David lives in has very good security because everyone pretty much knows where he lives now, hehe. Too bad I’m on the other side of the world and can’t put my advanced stalking skills to work. 😉

  4. Tasha January 15, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    Wait I’m confused , I live in Africa n the hottest it gets in summer is 33 degrees Celsius , so how can it be 55 degrees celsius in America n it be warm , unless u guys don’t use degrees Celsius in which case I feel like an idiot .

    I read an article a while back , where sergio said one time in the locker room he saw iker crying ( I wish I could be his shoulder 2 cry on ) becoz of wat people or the media say about him , I find this very disturbing becoz mou , cris , sergio , adan etc are all people with feeling 2 , the Spanish media should take that into consideration before they print hurtful stories about other people . I’m glad crispy doesn’t pay much attention 2 the papers becoz honesty its not goin 2 be anything positive at this point .

    • headbandsandheartbreak January 15, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      I said 55F which stands for Farenheit. We use a different system of measurement here. We also don’t to the metric system, for future reference. 😉
      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  5. jellyace January 17, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Glad you’re moving office within the same building so Matt Bomer knows where to find you still!

    • headbandsandheartbreak January 17, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      HAHAHA! Yeah, exactly. He would be so sad if he didn’t have me to bump into. I keep tripping over Taraji P. Henson. The lobby of my building is always in Person of Interest for some reason, so they film in it alot. I watch the show so I always squeal when I see it. Taraji is very cute in person.

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