I may have fallen asleep while working on this match post… TWICE!
Also, I was realizing that every time I start to write a match post, I have to go to a previous match post to remember how to format everything. I’m a mess!
Our last home match of the season, and Arbeloa’s last home match in a Real Madrid jersey, was against Valencia.
Real Madrid: Kiko Casilla; Danilo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo; James Rodriguez, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Lucas Vazquez; Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Valencia: Diego Alves; Antonio Barragan, Shkodran Mustafi, Aymen Abdennour, Guilherme Siqueira; Javi Fuego, Dani Parejo, Enzo Perez, João Cancelo, Rodrigo; Paco Alcacer
BeIN was a bit late picking up the match, but there wasn’t much to miss in the 2 minutes that they missed.
Most of the action was taking place in our attacking half but there wasn’t much going on until Casemiro was taken down in the center circle in the 9th minute.
Then Marcelo was taken out hard in the 10th minute. Our passing was looking good in the beginning. It’s been a relative weakness of ours, giving the ball away cheaply.
Casanova had a shot in the 11th minute but it was wide of the post.
James was taken down in the 13th minute. It was a challenge that saw Enzo Perez pick up a yellow card due to kicking out his trailing leg. When I saw it in slow motion, I wanted to scream. It could have been very dangerous.
#ToniLive played a fabulous pass to Crispy in the 25th minute. Cris controlled it wonderfully but Alves made a great save pretty much point-blank.
It’s okay though because not even a minute later, Cris put a Marcelo cross into the lower left corner. It was great placement!
James earned a free kick in the 30th minute when Barragan gave him the tiniest little kick just outside the box.
The Pony tried put his header in the net but it was quite wide.
Marcelo put a one touch pass to Vazquez in the 34th minute, but his header was saved brilliantly by Alves.
There was a total breakdown in defense in the 37th minute but somehow Valencia missed their shot.
There was a bit of confusion on our second goal. Benz was offside on his shot, but there was no call. Alves saved it and, when it was played back out Benz put it back into the net. He didn’t celebrate at first, thinking/knowing that he was off. But the ref gave it.
After one minute of added time, the half was over.
Real Madrid 2 – 0 Valencia
Valencia made one change at the half with Gomes replacing Cancelo.
An attempted Valencia clearance was cut out by Benz but Vazquez’s shot was deflected out for a corner in the 48th minute.
Our passing was still looking much better than it really has all season. Hopefully we don’t make a lot of changes in the summer. Because this team is finally starting to gel.
Vazquez put a great chip pass into Benz in the 49th minute but Benz’s header was blocked fabulously by Diego Alves again. Really, good saves by Alves in this match.
Casemiro picked up a yellow card in the 52nd minute for a really bad tackle on Alcacer. Dani Parejo hit the freekick just off the crossbar.
In the 55th minute, Rodrigo hit a hell of a strike into the net past Kiko and Marcelo to bring the score to Real Madrid 2 – 1 Valencia.
Alves made a great save in the 57th minute on a shot from Vazquez. Actually looked like it hit him in the face at first.
In the 59th minute, Casemiro put a pass through to Cris. Cris found his speed and put the ball over Alves for our 3rd goal.
Kiko made a fabulous save in the 61st minute to slap the ball out for a corner.
In the 64th minute, Zizou made his first change. Kovacic replaced our dear, hot mess Benz.
Kiko had to make yet another great save in the 71st minute. He was definitely showing that he’s a good man to step into K-Nav’s shoes.
Vazquez took a hard knee to knee tackle in the 73rd minute. He was taken off the pitch without a substitution for the time being.
Valencia were starting to press and giving us some cringe-worthy moments.
Vazquez had to come out in the 76th minute and was replaced by Jese.
Arbeloa replaced Cristiano in the 79th minute to a very nice reception from the Bernabeu.
In the 80th minute, James played a ball forward for Jese to run onto. And LORDY can Jese run! Jese put the ball back to James but his first touch got away from him, unfortunately.
Kiko made another stupendous save in the same minute on a Rodrigo shot. I thought for sure that ball was going in. But he must be doing some of the K-Nav training.
Unfortunately Valencia scored off the corner in the 81st minute. It was a fabulous shot. No one picked up Gomes to cut off the shot.
In the 84th minute, Rodrigo was shown a straight red card. It turned out that it was for something that Rodrigo said to the ref. But during the match, it was absolutely mind boggling.
Valencia’s second change was Piatti for Enzo Perez in the 86th minute.
We had a goal disallowed in the 87th minute due to a foul having been called prior to the goal.
After 3 nervy minutes of added time the match ended Real Madrid 3 – 2 Valencia.
Zidane: “We are going to give everything right up until the end”
by Javier Garcia“In football you never know what can happen and we have to keep going until the very last minute”, added the coach.
Zidane evaluated the win against Valencia in the press room at the Santiago Bernabéu, a win which allows Real Madrid to fight for La Liga until the end: “I’m always positive. Now we are second and we have one game left to play, anything can happen. In football you never know what is going to happen. We have to give everything and keep going until the end and we will see what happens. We have a match which will not be easy. I never saw an end to the season as tight as this when I was a player. We will see what happens right up until the end, until the very last minute”.
“I am happy with the result and with the game. We joined together and won. I’m also happy with the game because the first half was great. There was however a bit of confusion in the second half, which can happen from time to time. It is part of the game. At the end we had a few difficulties against an opponent who played their game. However, we were able to get the three points, which was the most important thing”.
The final match day
“What we had to do was keep doing things our way, to keep together if we want to achieve something. Independent of the game in Granada, We will try to give our very best to win our game. We have achieved the aim that we had, which was the get into second place. We have one game left to try and get to first”.
“Granada have to play their game. Granada are safe, it is a game that must be played and they will have to give their all. The most important thing is what we do. We have won our last eleven games and we want to overcome and show that we want to win these two titles”.
Rotation at Riazor
“There will definitely be rotation, but only with the focus on that game. We have fifteen days afterwards to prepare for the final. There is time to think about Milan. We are all going to La Coruña because anything can happen until the end and until the final minute”.
“Benzema played today but he’s not been at 100% for a while. We’ve seen that it wasn’t easy for him physically. He coped with it well and without any problems. We’ve got two games left. He’s getting better every day and he’s not feeling any discomfort from his last injury”.
“I didn’t see the build up to Karim’s goal, I’ll have to watch it. I’ve never got involved with talking about referees. I think we deserved to win the game, even if we struggled a bit in the second half. The referee does his best for everyone”.
Casilla and Lucas Vázquez
“Casilla is our goalkeeper and he had quite a lot to do. He was decisive and he’s shown that he’s ready to step in for Keylor and that’s great for the team. We’ll check on Lucas tomorrow, he took a knock to the knee and so we’ll see how it looks tomorrow”.
Cristiano fighting for the Pichichi
“Knowing him, he’ll keep fighting until the end. Not for the Pichichi, but because he wants to score in every game, to score more and more. As always, it’s the team who feel the benefits of this”.
Casilla: “There is one game left and we will fight until the end”
by Elena Rodriguez“Our aim is to always win and we also have to do that in the final game”, explained Marcelo.
Casilla started the game against Valencia, in a game that saw him make some key saves. The goalkeeper had the following to say after the game: “Valencia is a great team, with good players and Parejo has a great command over the midfield. In the first half we countered well and scored two goals. We also noticed the fatigue after having played midweek but that is not an excuse”.
“I am very happy with the performance and with the victory. Now we are going to La Coruña with the best possible strength to win our game and then wait. there is one game left and we will fight until the end”.
“it is clear to the club that I came here knowing how hard it is to play as often as you want. The most important thing is to be with the group, help in any way you can and when there is an injury do the best you can. I wouldn’t imagine playing a game like that in my wildest dreams, and that’s why I worked hard during the week”.
Champions League final
“It will obviously be difficult. Atlético are a team that give away very few chances and we have to make them materialise. You also have to be careful of their counter-attacks. We are Real Madrid and we have to go out to win. I think that with the squad we have we can settle the tie”.
“I’ve known Arbeloa for many years, ever since we shared a residence at school. He’s an example of a madridista in how he fights for this badge. He’s a leader in the dressing room and when he speaks, you listen. He’ll be a great loss”.
Marcelo: “Our last two games are both finals”
“We’ve always believed it was possible. Our objective is always to win and we have to win the final game as well. We’ve got a chance, we have to take it game by game. We knew it would be tough to get those points back, and so we needed to win. With humility and patience, we’ve been able to close the gap”.
“It’s a privilege to play with Cristiano. We’re very happy with his goals and with how we played in the match. Now we’ve got a week to think about Deportivo. Our last two games are both finals”.
“I’ve learned a lot from Arbeloa. He’s an example of the desire to improve, hard work and humility. Many of the players here have learned from him. He’s got a youthful spirit and we see that in every training session. He deserved this final game”.
“Every second out on the pitch has been the best of my life”, he said.
Álvaro Arbeloa played the final minutes of the victory over Valencia and was given a fond farewell by the Santiago Bernabéu, where a video of his career in images was projected prior to kick-off. His name was chanted from the stands and a giant shirt displaying the number 17 was unveiled when he came on to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, while Sergio Ramos handed over the captain’s armband. At the final whistle he was mobbed by his team mates out on the field as the fans gave him a standing ovation.
The Madrid academy product thanked the fans for their support: “It’s all over, it’s been incredible, a dream. Thank so much to everyone. I don’t know how to express my gratitude for so many years. I’ve been proud to wear this shirt every single day. Being a part of this team is the best thing that can happen to a footballer. It’s a team with huge expectations, but one in which every second I’ve spent out on the pitch has been the best of my life”.
The situation in La Liga
“We’re going to believe until the final moment, just as we did in Lisbon and at other crucial moments. We’ll be there until the end. We’re very much aware we can’t make the same mistake as two years ago when we let the title slip away. If Barcelona don’t slip up, we’ll congratulate them as rightful winners”.
Playing outside Spain
“I want to keep playing football for as long as my body allows. I couldn’t wear a shirt other than Real Madrid’s here in Spain”.
He won it all
Arbeloa developed as a player in Madrid’s academy between 2001 and 2006. He has played 238 times for the first team over the last seven seasons, during which time he has won 1 Champions League, 1 Club World Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 1 La Liga title, 2 Copa Del Rey titles and 1 Spanish Super Cup. With the Spanish national team Arbeloa has won 1 World Cup and 2 European Cups.
Post-Match Social Media:
Awwww! Gareth was at the Bernabeu with his little woobins!
Keylor celebrated the win even though he wasn’t there.
Hasta el final, Karim!
Sergio celebrated the win and made a nice comment about his teammate, like a good captain should.
My favorite current Real Madrid basketball player, Sergio Llull (Marcus Slaughter is always number one but he’s no longer one of ours *cries*) tweeted his appreciation of Arbeloa as well.
And from Arbeloa himself, “I never dreamed of this. Impossible to return all the love. Every second with this shirt was worth it. Thank you.”:
“We have fought, suffered, and laughed together. Without doubt you are the best that football has given me. Thank you, friends”
“Thank you to the Grada de Animación for making this day unforgettable for me and mine. I don’t deserve as much. Thank you.”
He also thanked all the club employees and members for everything they’ve done for him over the years. He responded to a number of current and former players, players from other clubs, and other Real Madrid athletes as well. It was obviously an emotional day for him.
Bravo Alvaro. Gracias for your service to this club.
My most treasured birthday card (no seriously, it’s the only one I’ve ever saved) has a photo of a shirtless, bearded, hipster-tastic Arbelo on the front. It came from Lozil and I really do cherish it. Mostly for the pretty, but also because she knows me well enough to give me a photo of Arbeloa in all his hipster glory.
Back to football….
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid played at the exact same time we did. Barca won their match, but Atleti lost to Levante. It leaves Atleti out of contention for the Liga championship. It also means that La Liga comes down to the final match of the season. Which for us is away to Deportivo La Coruña on Saturday.
¡Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!