Welcome Madridistas, friends of football, and even haters alike. I am Bobby, also known as Bobinho. I am the author of Blanco Bonito. I'm back for another season with an all new look, a greater and more anxious desire for Real Madrid success, and a craving for seeing trophies back where they belong! This is where I voice my opinions, discuss tactics, and analyze Real Madrid related topics. I love interaction. Feel encouraged to let yourself be heard. If you have any questions or would like to see a topic or point of interest on the blog, shoot me an email at rmohr5@hotmail.com This blog is a tribute to the greatest club in the world, Real Madrid. My blog is your blog, like Real Madrid is our club. Make yourself at home. Hala Madrid!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Preseason Talking Points

Hola Madridistas! I have just returned from a north east coast road trip of NYC and Ocean City New Jersey. I should feel refreshed after a vacation but I'm exhausted; it was truly a fun event though. Unfortunately, when I was enjoying myself, my access to the Internet or service for a cell phone was remote at the very best. When I got back Pedro Leon was on board and we had just started training. It felt like I had missed eons of news. However, I have debriefed myself on all the latest news as soon as I arrived back in my humble abode. I have endless things to talk about but I'm going to try and condense it into a few points that can be discussed. Who should go? Who Should stay? We're about to embark on another 10 month adventure of Real Madrid football and I plan to be by your side the entire trip! Let's start it off shall we?

I've been pleased with the way we have gone about summer signings. Usually during a World Cup summer, teams rush to the transfer market to buy or sell players based off their performances in the tournament. Real Madrid have not. Our signings consist of Di Maria, Pedro Leon, and we brought Canales to preseason. Di Maria competed for Argentina in the World Cup but was in the club plans long before the tournament kicked off. Pedro Leon, though Spanish, was not on the squad that lifted the World Cup trophy. Canales, also Spanish, was confirmed a Real Madrid player in the latter half of the last season. Perez's idea to "Spanisify" the squad that he developed at the beginning of last season starts to become more clear as 2/3 mentioned are Spanish. Another note is if Mourinho does have a flaw, it is his ability to sign wingers. It's scary to think that both Pedro Leon and Di Maria are in fact wingers. Every one remember Quaresma? Mancini? Both failed at Inter.

Linked with Germany's Khedira? We don't need him. We have plenty of midfielders. I am under the impression that he does a box-to-box job for Stuttgart. We have an excellent box to box player. His name is Xabi Alonso. Did you see him with Busquets behind him in the Spain team? He was a driving force. It sucks the menacing ref's took his penalty away. Sure, those guys were in encroaching but does it really matter? Bogus... But who plays behind him? I'm done with Lass, sorry Lass fans. His form is at an all time downfall. We need some one solid that does a job, preferably taller than Lass and can win headers. Big Diarra would work, but his future has been in question and Mosquera is gone (sadface). The Maicon saga seems to be never ending. Am I for or against his signing? Good question. I would be for it if we got him for a reasonable price (doubtful) and Sergio Ramos played center back seeing as he is very good there as well as right back. However, I think Ramos does just as good a job as Maicon and if we need to make a signing for the back line, let's get a center back. It has been said that Real Madrid's Achilles heal has always been their back line. However, with a defensive minded coach such as Mourinho, that could all change. RMCF2.0? Maybe.

Time to address the left back situation. It gets a paragraph of it's own. Ashley Cole has been heavily linked with Real Madrid and former coach Mou. Do I want Ashley Cole? No. He's a prick, too old, too expensive. If he ends up wearing a Real Madrid shirt, i will support him as I do every player to wear a Madrid shirt but I don't want him. I've been preaching it all summer. Marcelo for attack minded games, Arbeloa for a more cautious approach and Marcos Alonso from time to time (even though tons of clubs would love to put their grubby mits on him). Loan out Drenthe he needs playing time and has nasty potential.

The Kaka situation worries me. I don't want him to go because he is a class player and individual but we don't have room for a half fit class player and individual. However, if he can regain top form, Canales couldn't ask for a better mentor. The midfield is becoming more and more dense. For the time being we have plenty of midfielders. It's sad for me to see Guti most likely on his way out, though nothing has been confirmed. He is a dying breed of player that is very difficult to find. He brings something to the pitch that no one else can. He will be missed.

However, I'm excited about the fresh young talent on the squad right now. Marcelo, Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuain, Pedro Leon, Drenthe, Di Maria, Lass, Canales, Marcos Alonso, and Garay are all of the age 25 or under. It would be good to keep the same core for a couple seasons and let them grow together. It's a shame to see some of our youth products are being sought after so heavily but other clubs. Sarabia and Marcos Alonso's Real Madrid future is in question and we've already lost Mosquera. The Academy is on the rise though after a stellar season. I just wish we could see more of them in the first team. Perhaps Mourinho can make it happen.

The lime green twinge to the training attire looks fresh, new. However I can see it getting almost nausiating come about March. The kit design is good. I plan on picking up a Ramos 4 when I get the chance. Some people don't like the font for the numbers and names. It's not my favorite but I'll survive. The away kit is adventurous. I don't mind it but I just always prefer to wear our whites. I'm eager to see what the third kit will look like. That's all I have for now with plenty more to come. With the transfer window slowly closing and preseason beginning to catch fire, there will be more to talk about.



Monday, June 28, 2010

Di Maria to Real Madrid, Bienvenido

Real Madrid have officially confirmed that Angel Di Maria will don the white shirt next season. The 22 year old Argentine international is the first capture for Real Madrid this summer. Di Maria is a sparkling young winger who has the capabilities to slice up defences. He joined Benfica in 2007 where he has shined bright enough to catch Madrid's eye. Real Madrid and the Portuguese club have agreed a fee of €25 million and a contract for six years. He was named the Portuguese Liga Player of the Year last season. His team accolades include one Portuguese Liga, two Portuguese Cups, a gold medel at the olympics, and a U-20 World Championship. Quite an impressive resume for a player of such a young age. There was talks of several current Madrid players to play a part in the swap for Di Maria like young Marcos Alonso and Garay but it appears that we have kept hold of them. Mourinho had admitted that it wouldn't be the best idea to pay an outragous amount of money for a star who is yet to prove himself as a world class player but commented that if the price was right, he would be an ideal signing. However, some think that the price is still a bit much.

I will be the first to admit that I'm not a Di Maria expert. I have seen some footage of the player and I understand his strengths very well but highlight tapes do not highlight flaws in a player's game. He is a remarkably crafty dribbler and speedy. He managed to do some interesting things that caught my eye in Europa League match vs Liverpool this past season but in this current World Cup, I haven't been blown away. I've seen every Argentina game and he has yet to convince me that he is what Real Madrid have been missing. I'm yet to decide if it's because I'm expecting everything I have seen in the youtube videos to reflect what I see in real time matches or I just haven't seen enough of his performances to make up a solid opinion on the player. He seems a little flustered on the ball. A lot of his flicks have broken down attacks and he seems easily bumped off the ball. But if there is a league in Europe where lacking physical stature and brute force can be over come by skill and technical ability, it is La Liga. I'm not even concerned that he hasn't scored in this summer's tournament. However, I do see great potential. I think La Liga can highlight his abilities and its a good next step up for a promising prospect. He is now a Real Madrid player, so I will back him and support him as long as he wears the crest over his heart. All the same, Di Maria, Welcome to Real Madrid!

Hala Madrid

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blanco Bonito is Back!

Ladies and Gentleman, I'm back! I write this to you on the day when my American dreams of World Cup glory have been shattered by Ghana once again; it's devastation at the very least. For the last few hours since the final whistle, there has been nothing to smile about until I was reminded that Pipita has 3 more goals than the much talked about Messi. As a Real Madrid supporter, I've learned to deal with defeat in recent seasons. I've become accustom to heart breaks, used to the pain, and the expectation of tragedy. The USA was an unlikely candidate to fill my desires for triumph this summer but I've been craving it even more with every trophy Real Madrid does not raise. However, with every new season instills a new hope. I have new adventures to embark on as supporter. Us Madridistas are proud of our tradition. A rich history of victory and prestige. We don't always agree with club policies, coaches, player decisions, tactics, or signings, but we support our colors through and through. We represent the royal capital, Chamartin, and all those who have worn the shirt, and served in the white army. I have a pride in this club as I have a pride in the American warriors who showed a display of character and heart this summer that is rarely matched. I will no longer stand for this Barcelona dynasty that is beginning to be spoken of. The home grown players, the sextuplet, the back to back La Ligas. It's time to put a stop to the nonsense, to the madness, and deliver silverware back to El Capital. It's time for a white Renaissance.

Barcelona have already made the first move of the summer to improve what is already a force of a team. The purchase of the Spanish National Team's savior, David Villa, was a swift one, a player we practically already imagined to be wearing the white shirt last summer. The move for Cesc is inevitable and the media talk of more stars flooding to the Catalan club is emerging to be even greater as the summer grows older. I guess Real aren't the only Galacticos anymore. Madrid have made a bold move though. The Bernabeu gates said "Hola" and "Adios" to another coach in quick succession as Manuel Pellegrini was axed and the infamous "Special One," Jose Mourinho, was installed as new manager of Real Madrid. Known to be master tactician, and a tenacious, intriguing, and mysterious personality, Mourinho does things his way. He wouldn't have accepted the job unless he could be in complete control of his squad unlike his predecessor, Pellegrini, who admitted he was not the one behind the reins, but rather a puppet for those higher up the club hierarchy. On the positives, if you know football, you know Mourinho will not tolerate that. He packed his bags and quit his beloved Chelsea when owner Roman Abramovich couldn't keep his nose out of team strategy, tactics, and selection. It will be interesting to see what the tactical genious can create at Real Madrid. After all, Mou was the architect behind Inter Milan's 3-1 beating of Barcelona in Milan and the defensive stronghold that was set up at the Nou Camp during the second leg. Personally one of the greatest defensive displays I have ever seen. Barcelona needed two goals, managed one, but attacked like it was the 90th minute all match, only to be thwarted by a well organized and disciplined fortress set up in front of the Inter Milan penalty area. This poses a daunting question. Often criticized for his negative styles, will Mourinho's tactics be accepted at the Bernabeu? When fans arrive, they expect not only a win, but a show, a performance, a ballet, an opera, something graceful and beautiful. Just because you win trophies, doesn't mean the board will approve your methods, right Mr. Capello? However, I think even Mourinho would have a hard time being defensive with Ronaldo, Kaka, Higuain ect...

No new player names have been written on roster of Los Blancos this summer except for the inclusion of young Sergio Canales in preseason, but players such as Inter's Maicon, Sevilla's Jesus Navas, Benfica's Di Maria, Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic, the return of Wesley Sneijder, and a handful of left backs and Portuguese players of all sorts have been in press rumours. However, it's only natural that the majority of transfers won't take place until after the World Cup has met its end.

As Nike would put it, "Write the Future." The pages of La Liga, the Champions League, and Copa del Rey are blank. So let's paint them white. I'm ecstatic to be back and excited to begin reconnecting with old friends, and meeting many others through the blog. If everything goes according to plan, I will hopefully be studying abroad in Madrid during the spring 2011 semester. I guess that means I'll have plenty to write home about. It's a pleasure to say, welcome back to Blanco Bonito!

Hala Madrid!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Good vs Evil, Capital vs Rebellion, Audacity vs Philosophy, Real vs Barca, The Clash of Titans

Barcelona Football Club have become obsessed over their club motto, "Mes que un Club" which translates to "More than a Club" in the English language which ultimately traces to an ethnocentrism that lingers around the Northeastern Spanish city. But El Clasico is really something more than it seems. It's greater than a your every day derby or rivalry adventure. Nearly every match in Spain is kindled by a behind the scenes blaze, fueled by political and nationalist separations that all but breech certain regions of a beautiful country. However, no match can to top El Clasico and all the luggage it carries. There is a long, twisting, history of hatred and boiling blood between the capital of the country and the capital of Catalonia. Battles of the two date back to the Spanish Civil War and beyond. Those who play for the Clubs endorse the teachings of what it means to bare the shirt they will make their trade in. The message has been burned into the hearts of the players who rise from the depths of the Clubs' academies but those transferred in quickly adapt the meaning and the club's sense of pride which comes with a hefty side of disgust for the El Clasico counterpart. Real Madrid represent the Capital, the gem, the pride of Spanish football, dubbed the most successful club of the 20th century by FIFA. Barcelona depict a much different image. They are the reformation, the rebellion. Often times consider themselves and Catalonia as a whole, as a separate nation with a different culture, language, and history, living in the great shadow cast by the Royal Club of Madrid. The feud is never ending and the personas of protagonist and antagonists have never been officially assigned. Though the roles do tend to change with time.

This weekend's match could be the very pinnacle of the El Clasico history. The rivalry continues to grow and after Barcelona went on to win all three of the available contests last year, which eventually lead to a sextuplet in completion births that the first three privileged. The Blaugrana are the only team to ever achieve this feat. Barcelona also stormed into the Bernabeu last season and humiliated los blancos 6-2 in front of their own extremely hard to impress fans. In reaction Real Madrid were in search of a renaissance. The re-emergence of former club president Florentino Perez, who signed big names such as the first Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo, and David Beckham, had returned for round two. The inclusion of these stars started what is known as the Galactico Era. Now, Florentino, back for a second term, has a new set of super stars to grace Chamartin. Their names are Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, and Xabi Alonso. Spending close to 250 million in the summer has rejuvinated the squad, now labled the Neo-Galacticos. The two rivals are level on 77 points, one less point than Real Madrid managed in the entirety of last season. Also, in La Liga history, the top two teams have never been even on such a lofty plateau. Ray Parlour, GolTV commentator seems to think that it isn't good for La Liga because other teams cannot compete, but even if that is true, it proves to make some of the most exhilarating title races and El Clasico's between Real and Barca. A friend of mine who supports Barcelona brought to my attention that in my 20 year life, Los Blancos and the Blaugrana each have 3 European Cups, but Barcelona has 9 La Liga's compared to our 8. So in order for Real to tie them in that respect would be to win the La Liga this year. As a whole, the overall record between the sides in 159 matches played is Real Madrid wins 68, Barcelona wins 61, and draws 30. Real Madrid has won 31 La Liga titles whereas Barcelona remain 12 astray with a mere 19. Real Madrid have won 9 European Cups and Barcelona six behind with 3. Real Madrid lack in the category of the Copa del Rey. The Blaugrana have won 25 and the Royal Capital only 17.

Barcelona have become the globe's new obsession. The world wide bandwagon has begun after their sextuplet and housing the World player of the year, Messi, isn't a bad attribute to have. They are seen as the good guy going into El Clasico this time around. Commonly seen as protagonist this season. Home-bread talent, their obsessive passing style of play, Messi in general, and to top it all off the Unicef logo on their shirt to support the organization. Real are easily seen as the antagonist. Spent a quarter of a billion on players this summer, a more counter attack based team with lots of strong personalities, Ronaldo who is commonly referred to as a cry baby and prima dona, and the gambling company of Bwin.com on their shirt. Barcelona have boasted about their home grown team but it's not as much of a tradition as newcomers may begin to think. It wasn't until the installation of Guardiola that this project really began to take full flight. As for "new products" Messi was a product and Bojan had received time. Pique was brought back to Barcelona by Guardiola from Manchester United. Pedro didn't receive any time to speak of the year before Pep's arrival. That leaves just Valdes, Messi, Puyol, Xavi, and Bojan if you can count him as a significant enough factor, five names. Madrid just had Iker Casillas, Raul, Guti and Miguel Torres who has been transferred to Getafe. So we're talking home grown 3 or 4 against 5? Is this really even a stat? Madrid are thrown into the fire for buying players but Barcelona have bought Thierry Henry, Ibrahimovic, Dani Alves, Keita, Hleb (who has since moved on) and Maxwell. That's not exactly home grown either. I mean there was a time when Barcelona was a very much a Dutch team. Is this home grown thing a philosophy or a new trend? Nonetheless, Guardiola made it to the peak of success using it.

Injury fears amongst both camps in the week approaching the massive occasion this weekend. Ibrahimovic missed out on Barcelona's Champions League quarter final second leg against Arsenal where Lionel Messi got messy against the Gunners, unwinding the North London club with four goals of his own including a first half hat trick that quickly eclipsed Bentdner's opening goal at the Camp Nou. Some might think the Barclona's midweek Champions League duty would be a Real Madrid advantage because of player fatigue but that isn't entirely true for the blaugrana back line. Barca's primary pair at center back is Pique and Puyol, two former Masia products, one old, one young. However, both missed the Arsenal match due to suspension, Pique for yellow card build up and Puyol for the red card he recieved in the tackle that was said to break former Barcelona youth team member, Cesc Fabregas's right leg in the first match at the Emirates Stadium last week. So the two Catalans will be rested. Eric Abidal has missed the last several weeks with an injury but summer signing Maxwell from Inter Milan has done a successful job taking his place at left back. The two split time against Arsenal.

Madrid have concerns or concern of their own. The critics have fallowed Kaka around like lost puppies this season. In my opinion, we haven't seen his very best but it is certainly not as bad as critics have made it out to be. For the amount of matches Ricky has played injured and games he played in all together, his numbers aren't aweful. That begin said, I know he can do better. But if Kaka wants to impress this weekend, he's got a mountain of not only critics but fitness to climb. He's missed the past couple Madrid La Liga matches and is in a fitness race for El Clasico. Much like fellow massive signing Ronaldo was for the first El Clasico. As of Wednesday he was doing his own exercises but is intent on joining the squad as soon as he can. Although, if his appearance is not made this weekend, we have no reason to worry because Van der Vaart has been exquisite. Xabi Alonso, the glue of the Real Madrid midfield, received a knock in training on Wednesday and missed Thursday's session. He would be a great loss for the team. Alonso has not played since El Derbi Madrileno where he picked up a yellow card (on purpose) to miss the Santander match instead of missing El Clasico is he were to be cautioned in Santander.

So you have to think at this point who plays? What's your line up for such a massive match? Who is on form? Who isn't? How do you deal with a player like Messi? Will it be Arbeloa? You're at home, how to you approach the match? The questions are never ending. Let me throw down a line up and I'll explain my decisions after wards.

It took me a long time to come up with this line up because obviously against a team like Barcelona, the margain for error is practically invisible. Let me start with my back line. With Barcelona's attack rarely stopped by anyone, this was the most difficult of the three sectors to plan. It doesn't look uncommon from many other Real Madrid line ups. The reason I have Arbeloa at left back because Messi spends a lot of time on the right side (his right side) . The only other options to put on that left hand side would be Marcelo, and I know we don't want him defending Messi, despite his improvement in defensive performences for the most part lately, or Drenthe who is still a questionably fit or not even though he's been steadily making his way back to the training ground. Ramos was held responsible for marking the Argentine on a prior El Clasico but it resulted in mostly fouls. Arbeloa is the best option. He's been playing there for a great portion of the season and has even played their for the national team. Plus our tactic should be to play our own game. It shouldn't be what we have to change to cope with them. We should let them cope with us. We're no slouches ourselves. In the midfield I have Xabi Alonso, given the fact that he is fit, and Guti because we need to test Barcelona's back line. They're not as solid as they appear. Barcelona keep so much possession that they hardly have to defend yet they still leak the occasional goal. Other teams don't have someone of Xavi's ability to see and pass. We do, Guti. I think he may be the clue to unlock Barcelona. I don't think Kaka will be able to rekindle fitness in time. By Thursday, he is still in the gym and the match is Saturday. If he does make the squad list, its Van der Vaart to start for me. The Dutch captain has been outstanding and nothing short of a work horse. He is on form and has had a knack lately for getting crucial goals. To think we almost let another Dutch gem slip away (Adios Robben and Sneijder. Glad to see you are both doing well). I put Marcelo out on the left because he is sprightly and lively. He's creative. I think w could use that on that flank. I recall last year's Champions League semi final Chelsea vs Barcelona at the Bridge. Dani Alves had so much trouble handing Moulouda, he cried his way into yellow card suspension for the Final (idiot). Marcelo is a similar kind of player. Also when I watch Barcelona, Alves goes forward so often that eventually he gets caught out. As professional center backs should do, Barca's pair slid over to cover when he ventures. Abidal or Maxwell fallow. But defending with three against Higuain, Marcelo, Ronaldo, and Van der Vaart could prove fatal for the Blaugrana.

There is hardly anything I can tell you about Barcelona that the world already doesn't know. They won't stray away from their style. The sad part about the last El Clasico is that we dominated, deserved a draw at the very least but were faulted by an offside Ibrahimovic goal. I'm not even going to start the Villarato debate. That's a squawk for another day. I will be most regretably missing the match (tears in my eyes). I have a spring season tournament of my own to play in at Bucknell University. It may save me the anxiety I suppose but I've come to terms with missing it. For all of you that took time to read this lengthy post I thank you. I've been so caught up with school and personal affairs lately that I hardly have had time to write. Also our internet has crashed at my house. I will continue to write the best I can. Thanks everyone.



Sunday, March 28, 2010

City Bragging Rights

Real Madrid broke down their city rivals, Atletico Madrid, who took an early lead and fortress Bernabeu on Sunday. Los blancos battled back from a one goal deficit in another El Derbi Madrileno which ended in a victory for Real Madrid, 3-2. It wasn't as glamorous as it may seem as Real add another choppy win to their resume. Three points is three points but the room for improvement is notable at very least. It seemed to be another case of us scoring enough goals in one half to create a big enough insurance bubble to last us the match. Our chances out-weighed Atleti's remarkably but the fact they they were still able to score 2 goals isn't too reassuring. Let's take a look at this edition of the Derby. But before I get started to anyone else notice how slick the pitch was? It was like they were skating out there.

We let up the first goal 10 minutes in to a 20 minute period where we just hadn't shown up yet. A lot of people will love to point the finger at Marcelo. He was the one responsible for Reyes but was pulled out of position when Albiol recklessly few into a tackle that he didn't win against Thiago. The Portuguese international evaded the challenge leaving us stretched. Ramos had to leave his mark, Aguero to cover for his other center back and Marcelo had to slide in to try and get to Aguero in time. The Brazilian did manage to to stand up the Argentine but Aguero's clever flick to former Madrid player Reyes was too crafty. Reyes settled and curled it in to the back post. Nothing Casillas could do.

I wanna discuss Xabi Alonso this match. He was a major part of the rise and fall at times. First half, abysmal. Second half, just brilliant until he gave a way the second half penalty that made things 3-2 and made the last 25 minutes a bit uncomfortable. I've hardly ever seen a performance so bad out our number 22 as I seen in this first half. Given away sooo many times in midfield and miss hit balls over top. Usually when you're having a bad day you just wanna go back to basics and keep things simple but he couldn't even done that. Pellegrini must have dug deep into him during the interval because he started our comeback in the second half. I have to credit Pellegrini for his tactics on corners because Xabi Alonso has scored two goals from that exact situation on corners. It was Albiol who got up to win the initial header. Though heading wide of the far post, Alonso cleaned it up by thumping the ball into the roof of the net and from there we built, and so did Xabi Alonso. The Basque-born midfielder was turned toward our own net at midfield and hit an absolutely unhuman ball over the top of Atletico's back line to a streaking Arbeloa. Quality and vision like none other found the right back in stride. He juked one defender and then De Gea before slotting the ball far post. An unlikely goal from an unlikely source. 2-1. I'll get to a third goal in a minute but the second goal against should have never happened. Yes, we're up 3-1 at the point but unnecissary with the handball of Atletico's corner. If you're not going to win it, don't handle it. Giving them a penalty, that Forlan eventually scored, is a more sure chance of a goal than letting them trying direct it in off their heads yeah? He didn't even get booked from it. However he did pick up a booking for thumping Salvio (maybe?) on the sideline. Must have been on purpose because he will be suspended for the next match rather than El Clasico the fallowing weekend. Sergio Ramos did the same but did his a little more subtly but wasting time rather than inflicting pain. However, I don't mind causing Pathetico pain.

Thiago picked up an assist on our third goal. By tackling Granero, he played Pipita in who casually slotted the ball with his unfavored left foot past De Gea who had his young hands full all match. I want to give credit to Marcelo who I thought played one of his most collectively solid game, meaning offensively and defensively, of the season. He did try to sombraro Simao in our own corner, which was stupid, but other than that, let's not slay him this match okay? Ronaldo will be disgusted with himself as always when he doesn't score but probably in tears that he missed that header at the end of the first half and three opportunities to score from a free kick. Not his best performance. He had to change boots at half time I noticed. I don't know if it was him changing up his fashion for the night or to prevent himself from slipping, but either way it didn't improve his performance. The subs didn't do anything after arriving on the field. Raul, Guti, Diarra, did nothing for me. One thing that did scare me though, was I felt like I saw dashes of the old Gago, charging around meaninglessly diving into challenges and pulling himself out of position. Pellegrini, slap him on the wrist before it starts up again.

Athletico haven't beat us in 11 years now. Goltv said something like out of Raul's 27 matches against them, he's only lost twice. Whatever the case may be, our city bragging rights are more than off the charts right with all the latest clashes against the Mattress Makers. We equaled Barcelona on points and made up the goal differential they put up against Mallorca this weekend with the loan Zlatan goal. I thought that Mallorca were unlucky not to score. They rang the frame twice in the first half and a couple nmore efforts went unpayed. I couldn't tell if it was Barcelona or Villarreal with the aweful yellow shots. top of the league for now and 9 finals to go.



Friday, March 26, 2010

El Derbi Madrileno

With the title race in so close contention, all eyes are on the April 11th mega clash between Spain's largest titans, Real Madrid and Barcelona. The match will surely be the most decisive factor in a title race that is tighter than a fish's asshole, and that's water tight people (stole that off my coach). However, there is another derby among us. Last season, when Real Madrid was going into the Christmas break, we were 5th place in La Liga, below one of our most hated foes, city rivals, Atletico Madrid. One of my Barcelona friends took a shot at me and told me "How could you ever say you're the best team in Spain when you're not even the best team in Madrid." Personally, I've been so insulted in my life. Pathetico Madrid? Please. They haven't beat us in a decade and there are those who are say this Derbi isn't only about who gets the bragging rights in city for weeks to come after the match but a lot more to it. It's been said that Real is the Royal club, the club of the crown, the middle class and up ward. It provides a demographic of a wealthy and proud people in the North of Madrid, Chamartin. Whereas Atletico have been seen as more of the working class of people in the city. My friend provided me with a video I thought all of you might enjoy. To give you some more insight to the match. It's more than a match. It's what separates mediocrity from greatness. Guess which one we are?


How'd ya like it? Just a little background and insight to this massive match. We call them Pathetico but they are the only Spanish club still competing in all three competitions this season. I guess you can't really call that an accomplishment to still be in La Liga because you can't get knocked out but they're in the final of the Copa del Rey, and still bumping heads in the Europa League where they are too face Valencia in the next round in an all Spanish affair. After a slow start to the season, the Colchoneros have clawed their way up the table and currently hold the position of 8th on the table, still scraping to get back to a European competition for next season. Like Casillas said, Atletico are unpredictable. They tied Chelsea earlier this season 2-2 in the Champions League and then go and flush out a result like 1-1 vs Tenerife and a 2-0 loss to Malaga but hand Barcelona their only defeat of the season. You never know what you are going to get. When we went up 3-0 at the Calderon this season I thought it was game over but they pulled two late ones back and Casillas bailed us out of a draw if not a travesty called a loss.

Kaka proved his worth in his first Capital derby with that magic shot that broke the deadlock only 4 minutes into the game but won't feature in this edition of El Derbi Madrileno because he is struggling to get over an injury. His misfortune has almost come as a blessing in disguise for Van der Vaart who has found some hot form in the Brazilians absence. Ronaldo will get to play in his first city derby. Let's hope he is more well behaved in this city derby than in the Manchester derby. I think he was sent off at least twice against Manchester City. So behave yourself Ron. Lassana Diarra was not fit enough to make the squad list so maybe he can sit on the bench and reflect on his poor performances because he's been nothing short of not good enough. I hope Gago can hold the rebirth of form he's been gifted by the good lord. He just has to remember to keep it simple. Garay is a bit of a glass man for me. I'm beginning to realize that. He'll be missing the match due to a new injury (sigh). Ultimately that means Ramos will play center back along side Albiol, Arbeloa on the right and Marcelo can put his defending to the test. Drenthe and Benzema are sill injured. Will we ever see Benzema again? Here's the line up I picked out for the match.

Like I've said above, you never know what you are going to get from Atletico. They have players that do damage. Forlan was last season's Pichichi winner. Everyone hypes up Aguero who was spectacular when Atletico beat Barcelona but I think he is a little overrated. D Simao is always a dangerous face. It's not like I want to admit they have some pretty fine talents but to ignore some of their key players would be pure stupidity. don't get me wrong, Aguero is a very good player but If I had to pick him or Pipita, definitely Pipita. Atletico's awful defending is what has let them down time after time this season and with the way we've been scoring at home, we should be able to crack this. In their last 16 visits to the Bernabeu, our striped neighbors have only won once. Tragic for them, humorous for us. Messi didn't score on Wednesday so Higuain and Ronaldo have made up two goals a piece in the race for Pichichi. I would really love to see everyone talk about Messi all season only to have him be outscored by Pipa when it's all said and done.

We need the three points obviously with the title so tight. While our other Rivals will be squaring up against Mallorca who have won 12 of 13 matches at home, we still are to face the Islanders at their place but we'll take it a match at a time. It's always a better match when it's a derby. Three points, La Liga, and bragging rights are all on the line and I want them all!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Anything Barca Can Do...

Hey everyone. I apologize for not being quick with the pen as of late. My school work has engulfed me and spit me up time after time this week. I'm mentally drained. That being said I do what ever it takes to watch at least a little bit of every Real Madrid match if all possible. I started watching the match of a crappy online feed in my Cultural Studies of Media class. Quietly hiding behind my laptop, and swearing under my breathe whenever I was unsatisfied with what was going on or the feed froze. And even though my class ended 20 minutes into the first half, I raced home to shoot on the TV before I had to leave a training session of my own around 40 minutes. Miraculously, through the terrible feed and the gaps in which I missed, I managed to see all four Real Madrid goals! Real Madrid 4, Getafe 2. If someone were to tell me that Real Madrid would score four goals at the beginning of the day, I'd take it. Two goals from Pipita, two goals for CR9, a blunder from our wonder keeper, and another lucky deflection which lead to the Getafe goal based on the highlights.

I've been tuning into the footballing world as much as I can lately but I have been hiding under an academic rock all week. I did notice Kaka didn't make the squad list still (sigh) and Lass also had to pull out (yesss, sorry but he's been an absolute flop lately and it's starting to bug me). In light of little Diarra's absence, I think we've seen some what of a renaissance of Gago. He came on at the weekend against Gijon and was solid and also played fairly well today. Definitely moved way up the line on the pecking order for defensive center midfield on my list. I might even slide him into one of my sliding line up. I can't believe I'm actually saying that. But what's good for the club is good for the club. Also judging off the first half alone, I thought Van der Vaart was also great. He had the assist on both of Pipita's goals and has just been a driving spark behind the team in a past few games. It's truly impressive how two of our midfielders who have been a total selection question in two different parts of the season just burst back onto the scene. Van der Vaart and Gago have both been pretty much on their way out of Madrid. The Dutchman in the summer and Gago as recent as January. The Argentine probably would have left if City had not been total amateurs about the transfer. We put them in the same midfield today in the absence of players like Lass and Kaka, who are ranked as much better players in the footballing world, and VDV and Gago play just as good if not better than our big buys. Interesting.

Ronaldo broke the dead lock with a sublime free kick. With all the rain and choppy online screen no bigger than a game boy screen, I couldn't tell if the handball was in or outside the penalty area. However, it wasn't like I was concerned though with CR9 and VDV over the ball. Ronaldo simply sublime from about 19 yards out. It was fallowed by a loud whisper cheer. Attracted some attention but I don't care if anyone knows. It doesn't get much more top corner than that. The Getafe keeper must have just been exhausted first half. He faced an absolute onslaught first half. He definitely should have done better with Ronaldo's second goal but a cracker of a goal nonetheless. A couple step overs and a bullet from a sharp angle. It doesn't get any prettier than that. I flew out of my see with a "Wow!"

Casillas, common man. I love you to death but that was stupid. An to get mad at Parejo for scoring? I would have done the same thing. It's not like the tackle was dirty. It was solid and he capitalized on your mistake. Rolling around on the ground isn't going to make things any better. Ask Ronaldo.

I really can't tell you much else because I didn't see the whole match so comments will be extremely valued. It's a college Thursday night and I have a reason to celebrate now. I'm over the hump and ready to have some fun.

Hala Madrid!