You ever wonder how kids get to be team mascots? I mean these kids:
Well, apparently people pay upwards of $10,000 to let their kids walk out on the pitch with players. $10,000!
Anyway, a 10-year-old Las Vegas boy was awarded a mascot position when Real Madrid play Santos Laguna next month. He is being sponsored by a promoter for the friendly. Lucky kid.
Monday’s solo session marked Karim Benzema’s return to the fold. The French striker had approximately one month off since the end of his Euro 2012 run.
Monday’s session kicked off the second week of training & the last before heading to Oviedo for tomorrow’s friendly match. Twenty-one outfielders worked with Mourinho in a physical session, incorporating circuits where the pace & effort increased gradually. Louro supervised the three keepers. The next training is scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 pm CEST.
In other news. Earlier in the day, Kaká & Mourinho met at the Bernabéu, presumably to discuss the Brazilian’s status with the club.
On Friday Mourinho will receive an award from the Association of Sports Journalists of Portugual (CNID). The event will take place in Lisbon.
The €200 million Bernabéu remodeling project is moving forward. The city’s planning commission has given the OK to present the project at the next session. Architects have until September 17 to submit proposals for the complete revamping of the stadium.
The club returned to double training sessions Thursday. The same 23 men reported to Valdebebas at the 10 o’clock session. The keepers worked separately with coach Silvino Louro, while the others did their usual stretching routines. The final practice match featured notable stops by Fernando Pacheco & Antonio Adán.
The blue team took the victory thanks to a goal by Esteban Granero.
Smiles were on the faces of the players & coaches when they stepped back on the practice pitch.
The afternoon training focused more on ball movement, & the team separated into small groups practicing rondos (ball retention in tight spaces).
Another day of training begins again at 10 am tomorrow.
In other news. The club has finally confirmed all of the summer friendlies. The first will be against Real Oviedo just five days away.
Valencia & Real Madrid have come to a pre-agreement for Fernando Gago’s transfer. He will be presented at 6 o’clock Friday evening. It is reported that Gago agreed to a 50% pay cut in order to join Los Che for four years. Valencia will also finalize Sergio Canales’ move for an estimated €8m, which includes a buyback option after two seasons.
Iker’s reaction to being told he has a question from Carbonillas Fans
Mourinho & company returned to Valdebebas this morning to kick off the new campaign. Before the 10 am session, the players took their medical examinations.
Ángel di María & Álvaro Morata were the first to arrive, & La Sexta reports that Nuri Sahin was the last. Thirteen of Castilla’s men were on hand, including Morata, whose first team promotion has yet to be confirmed by the club.
David Mateos, Castilla’s recent signing, returned this summer from a loan spell at AEK Athens.
Notable absentees from today’s trainings were all of the Euro players & Marcelo, who’s preparing for the London Olympics. Ricardo Carvalho was given permission to skip, further supporting the rumor of a departure. After spending the previous season at AS Roma, Fernando Gago was back at Valdebebas. Various reports say that Gago is looking for a return to Boca Juniors, since he is not in Mourinho’s plans this season.
Silvino Louro worked with the keepers during the morning session, while Rui Faria led the others through stretching exercises & an obstacle course run. When the players returned for the 5:30 session, they participated in more intense ball work.
The club will resume training Tuesday at 10 o’clock. The first 15 minutes will be open to the press. A press conference will also be held but no confirmation on who will address the press.
In other news. UEFA published the shortlist for the 2012 Europe’s Best Player Award. The list of three finalists will be announced on uefa.com on August 14th, then a live vote will take place to reveal the winner.
Moving up three places from last year, Real Madrid earned the second spot in Forbes’ list of most valuable sports teams. Real Madrid was the world’s most profitable club in 2011 & held a value of $1.88 billion.
Can we please have a moment of silence for the loss of Xabi’s sobriety?
ESPN Magazine (June 25, 2012 ed.) names La Liga as best European soccer league
To answer this question, we enlisted the help of ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), an algorithm designed to forecast soccer results. Debates on Europe’s top league usually devolve into arguments over which country has the strongest overall team — comparing Spain’s Barcelona and Real Madrid with England’s Manchester clubs, for example. But the true test of a league’s strength is not at the top of the table but in its quality at the middle and bottom. So SPI grouped the top five, middle five and bottom five squads from England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga to create three fictitious 20-team leagues. SPI then simulated each of these leagues 10,000 times. In the top group, Barcelona and Real Madrid — arguably the two best teams in the world — predictably won a combined 91.2 percent of simulations. Meanwhile, although Liverpool dominated the middle league, La Liga sides Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Mallorca all averaged a top-five finish. Similarly, in the bottom group, the Premier League’s Aston Villa won most often, but Villarreal, Granada and Real Zaragoza were all among the best five. Overall, La Liga teams had an average finish of 8.8 across the three leagues, compared with the EPL’s 9.9. (Serie A finished at 11.26 and the Bundesliga last at 12.10.) — Albert Larcada
Euro 2012 SF: (Portugal vs Spain) - Sergio Ramos Awarded Man of the Match
On his chip penalty shot -
“I planned this. I’d been thinking about this in advance. It was a risk, of course, but I also had the confidence. I’ve seen how the goalkeeper moves so I was pretty sure he would go one way. I’m very happy my family and my future kids have something to remember.”
“After the experience with Real Madrid in the Champions League, it was said I wasn’t ready to take another one, but I was feeling very confident and now I’m proud.”
“My coach knows me very well and he trusted I could do this. He’s spent many years with me and he knows I’m a little crazy.”
This says the internationals meet up with the team on July 28, the same day they leave for the U.S.
But this is an unconfirmed itinerary posted on a forum, so…