Real Madrid vs Levante (March 9, 2014) | Marcelo 49’
Training [+] | March 7-8, 2014
The majority of the internationals were present for the third practice of the week. Alonso trained indoors with Pepe (stomach flu), who also split his time on the training pitch. Khedira still continues his recovery.
Both Illarra and club president Pérez share a birthday and were greeted by the team before Saturday’s training began. Alonso and Pepe were able to train at the same rate as their teammates, but Arbeloa was unable to train because of a knee injury.
Absences: Arbeloa, Khedira (injury)
Yellow card alert: Ramos (9)
- Pepe (stomach bug) was called up for Levante but may not play.
- Arbeloa’s injury is unlucky; he will rest for a few days before attempting to train.
- Isco has shown recently that he can play in the team’s preferred formation and is closer to starting because of that. Ancelotti even compared him to Seedorf, who was in a similar situation at AC Milan.
- Zidane to El Confidencial: “I enjoy [being a coach]. It’s what I want to do. When I stopped playing football I went on to do a lot of different things. But in the end you have to come back to the thing that gives you energy and that gives you life. If possible, you should do what you want and, for me, that’s football. I think it’s the place in which I can contribute something, transmit what I feel and what I know.”
- Varane’s surgeon reportedly says the player is fully recovered and can resume playing twice a week.
- Florentino Pérez was a guest on La Sexta’s Salvados, which will air Sunday. When asked by the host if he had any involvement in the Neymar transfer saga he replied with a smile, “You know perfectly that I did not. And it seems ridiculous to me to answer that.”
- The team had dinner at El Espigón around 8:30 Thursday night. Ancelotti told the press he was invited and that Zizou paid. Ramos made the reservation, and only four players were absent: Alonso, Arbeloa, Khedira and Pepe. The technical staff was there as well, and the restaurant owner commented on the good atmosphere at the dinner. Jesé and Isco left together, as did Ronaldo and Ramos. A partial seating chart is here. [+ ∙+]
The Atleti ball boy who pranked Cristiano Ronaldo in Sunday’s derby was stripped of his first team duties. As Ronaldo was running over to get a ball for a throw-in, Iván cheekily threw it away. He later boasted about it on Twitter but has since deleted the tweets and apologized for his actions.
Atlético Madrid has maintained that it was a regrettable incident but has taken up for the kid after insults were directed to him in the media. However, the Rojiblancos praised Cristiano for taking it all in stride, according to Marca.
Training | March 5-6, 2014
Ancelotti had a small group of players available for the first session of the week. Jesé, who played with La Rojita the day before, was the only U-21 international to join the group. The others remained indoors.
- The three players with the most minutes under Ancelotti: Pepe (3167), Ronaldo (2966), Ramos (2944)
- Only 12 matchdays left in La Liga (7 home, 5 away)
- RM with most wins in 2014 than in any other top league (14 of 16)
- Casillas at BBVA event: “What we’ve done until now is the minimum asked of us. To be in and to fight for the three competitions. Right now our position is privileged.”
- Alonso to France Football: “Ancelotti is much more than the image of him as a calm man. I can assure you that whoever doesn’t give 100 percent is punished by the coach. However, with him, the atmosphere is pleasant. The footballer is conscious of his responsibilities, but, at the same time, feels the confidence of the coach.”
- Pepe spoke to Record about La Décima and Ronaldo: “As his friend and being Portuguese, I’m proud he’s won his second Ballon d’Or. I was very happy, he deserved it - it had been a long time coming. I don’t think there’s any way to describe what CR7 is doing at Real Madrid, his statistics. I would find it hard to believe if I didn’t see him play every day.”
- Jesé allegedly has a buyout clause somewhere near €50 million.
- According to El Confidencial, Raúl will retire at the end of the season so he can pursue a career in coaching.
- Ronaldo makes history as Portugal’s top scorer (49) and is the country’s second most-capped player with 110 appearances.
What has made you laugh recently? [+]
The questions you’re asking me without any kind of preparation make me laugh. No, I’m only joking.
What makes me laugh? Being with the people I like the most, with my friends, my family and my son, and having the chance to relax like someone normal and trying to enjoy life to the fullest.
Obviously, I’m always thinking about being at my best so I can perform at the maximum in matches and in training. But you have to live a bit too, have fun and know when to do it best.
Tell us about the trip back to Madrid in the jet… [+]
It was low-key but great fun! I was surrounded by my whole family, my closest friends, people who work with me. All that made it extra special and an extraordinary night of relief and relaxation. I loved it. It was one of the best nights of my life.
The flight home from the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony (from CR7 eMag) - no sound
Atlético Madrid 2-2 Real Madrid (March 2, 2014) | La Liga, MD 26
- Benzema scored the fastest goal in the Madrid derby (134 seconds) since Nistelrooy in 2008.
- Bale/Benzema/Ronaldo = 72 goals ; 11/12 Benzema/Higuaín/Ronaldo (118 goals) = 78 at this point in the season
Next training: Wednesday
Next match: Levante (H) Sunday, 7 PM CET | 2 PM EST