Quick News BitsBy: Corey | October 7th, 2010
As it is an international break, there is not a whole lot going on. Luckily the past few days I have not had a whole lot going on, so I got caught up on some grunt work. And I had time to collect a few stories from the week that were worth highlighting regarding Real Madrid. And some picture of Cristiano Ronaldo’s lady friend….
- With something like fifteen internationals away on international duty, Mourinho only had a handful of players for training this week, but he was able to put together a friendly against the Castilla side. It ended 1-1, with both sides scoring penalties. It is very encouraging to see Mourinho using these little breaks as a way to look at canteranos while also keeping his available players match ready. Why Pellegrini never did this, or Juande Ramos, or Schuster (he may have once or twice, but never consistently) is beyond me. Your B team is there for a reason, might as well get some use out of it right?!?
First Team: Dudek; Velayos, Albiol, Mateos, Marcelo; Pedro Leon, Gago, Granero, Denis; Merchan and Cristian.
Castilla: Adan; Carvajal, Goni, Nacho, Casado; Mandi, Alex, Juanfran, Juan Carlos; Sarabia and Joselu.
Javi Hernandez scored the penalty for Castilla, Granero for the first team. The match was 70 minutes long (two 35 minute halves) and in the second half, Castilla coach Menendez used Morata, Ruben Ramos, Javi H., Luis Hernandez, Raul Ruiz and Pablo Gil. I am a bit surprised that Morata did not play for the first team instead of Cristian, but its not really an indicator of anything. Juan Carlos, a recent debutee, played for the Castilla side which I also found odd, since Denis played for the first team. Surely Juan Carlos of Juanfran are higher in the pecking order then the very young Denis, good player the is, but I suppose its just filling in the numbers more then making a statement of intent.
- Speaking of the Castilla, they recorded a 3-0 win over Cerro Reyes Atletico in the Segunda B this past weekend. They have been fairly inconsistent this year, with a 3-2 loss to Deportivo B the previous weekend and a 1-0 win over Pontevedra before that. Currently they sit on six points from six games, near the bottom of the table. Not the start anyone was expecting this year. Being in the relegation places means Menendez’s job is surely on the line, but also the future of the cantera is dangling by a thread now. We are producing good players still, but the team has never performed to its abilities since the days in the Segunda. Its not as is being a B team in this league is a disadvantage, as Celta Vigo B, Rayo B and Getafe B are all at the top of the table.
You can see some of the highlights of the match as well as the lineups at the official site. Very nice shots from Sarabia and Alex, and Joselu using his height well on the second goal for Mandi. Defense seems to be the consistent problem, with Menendez constantly switching his back four up. Not sure if he is rotating or still trying to find a suitable lineup, but 12 conceded from six games is very poor, especially with what should be a high powered attack only scoring six, all of them coming the past three weeks….which is interesting because Menendez finally figured out Sarabia is best in the hole, with Juan Carlos and Juanfran flanking him and either Joselu or Morata up front. Sounds like a dreamy attack, but like I said, the defense has been weak, and the center midfield has only gotten stronger with the introduction of Alex Fernandez and the injury to Fran Rico. Swear to god I could do a better job!
- Juan Carlos made his debut against Deportivo La Coruna this past weekend, and looked very calm on the ball. Id like to see more of him in the coming weeks, but with competition for places so fierce, and rumors of Pedro Leon being recalled to the first team surfacing, that may not happen. Still, I have a nice interview he did with AS, which also appears on the official site. I provide you with the official site interview, rather then my poorly translated AS attempt:
“Mateos told me I was going to play, but I couldn’t believe it. We bet a meal and I lost!”
“I was at home with my family. I told them that my coach called me to train with the first team and that I would tell them everything after the session.”
“I was tremendously happy. I didn’t expect to play so I didn’t bring any clothes with me! They had to lend me all the gear.”
“The dressing room is incredible. The best players of all time have been there because Real Madrid is the best club in the world. It is an honour to be able to suit up there with so many talented players. Mateos lent me his locker. We were team-mates last year and it was a pleasure to borrow his locker. I waited for Mourinho to come and tell me if I had to get changed or if I had to watch the game from the stands. I was very happy when I knew I was going to stay on the bench. The players told me that if I had the opportunity to debut I should be calm and try to play well.”
“It was incredible to go up the stairs thinking about what was expected of me out there. I was speechless when I went on the pitch. I didn’t even know where to look. It was incredible. What I liked the most was seeing the stadium full of people supporting us.”
“While I was warming up, fans were supporting me and shouting my name. I must say thank you. I really appreciate it. I watched the game next to Lass, Adan, Arbeloa and Granero and they know better than anyone what I was feeling. Mourinho then asked me if I wanted to play and if I was nervous. I said I wasn’t nervous and he sent me to warm up. Mourinho told me to stay calm and to play with ambition because everything was going to go well.”
“When I was brought in, Di Maria gave me a hug and wished me luck. The feeling of hearing the crowd cheering was amazing. It was an opportunity not many people have so I decided to stay calm and do things right without rushing.”
“I know I have to keep working as if nothing has happened. The squad congratulated me and said that I deserved it, that I play very well and that I should continue working as I have been. I have to work with Castilla, my team, without thinking about what happened last Sunday.”
“Since Mourinho joined Real Madrid he has been relying on academy players. That is what Real Madrid need. They are performing brilliantly this season both in La Liga and in the Champions League. Hopefully they will win many titles. Everyone wants to be successful with this club and at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.”
I bolded the Mourinho question to Juan Carlos because I have never heard of such a question from a coach to a player on the bench? But if you think about it, its a proper way to discuss a debut for a youngster, who no doubt is nervous. Mourinho seems to be handling the kids pretty well so far, lets hope it continues.
- Lady Gago, who just returned from injury, picked up a suspected ligament sprain in training today against the Castilla team. Right now there is heavy bruising but in the next 24 hours tests will be done to determine the extent of the injury. Thats hard of Gago, lets hope it is nothing to serious.
- The Spain u-19 call up list was announced today, and Real will be sending five players, the most on the team. The u-19 coach is former cantera coach Julen Lopetegui, a former keeper for Real in his playing days. The five lads summoned are Alex Fernandez, Pablo Sarabia, Alvaro Morata, Dani Carvajal and Jese Rodriguez. Jese is a lesser known but equally exciting player for the C team, who had a great tournament with the u-18s at the Euro Championship this summer. He is joined by Rafa Alcantara, Paco Alcacer and Juanmi (from Malaga) in moving up from that team. There are also some well known prospect like Marc Muniesa, Koke, Isco, Jordi Amat and Yeray Gomez in the team. A very talented team, and the future continues to look bright for Spanish football, who have found a winning formula in youth football.
- Cristiano Ronaldo had some time in-between matches to take his girlfriend, super model Irina Sheik, out to lunch in Madrid. Which means I got to stare at his girlfriend thanks to the Madrid paparazzi. Enjoy!