a full first day in Los Angeles

It wouldn’t be the pre-season without some cheesy yet somehow adorable self portraits!

In Los Angeles.

The plane carrying our team touched down in Los Angeles at around 15:30h local time on Saturday afternoon, after a 12-hour flight from Madrid.  The team was then ferried by bus to their hotel during their stay in LA, the Beverly Hills Hotel.

On Sunday, they had a double training session, with a press conference given by Iker Casillas sandwiched in between.  The morning session was notable for the fact that it was the first time that the 10 players who had reached the semifinals of the Eurocopa and had been on vacation until July 28 (with the exception of Coentrão) trained with their teammates.

Oh to be able to do this to Iker and not get arrested!!!!

FP watched over the training session, alongside members of his Real Madrid board, José Ángel Sánchez, Emilio Butragueño and Miguel Pardeza.  He was also very much in demand with autograph seekers.  It’s great to see FP smiling again!

With Cristiano seemingly intent on showing every inch of his legs possible, I hope this year MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín will be able to concentrate on the ball, and not Cris’ legs.  By the way, I loved that ABMM stood up to shake FP’s hand when he came to greet him on the plane (Rafa Varane, to his left, remained seated; video here).  This shows that ABMM’s parents raised him right.

Pepe was in a great mood… it’s Superpepe!

The second session was held on Sunday afternoon, with all 25 players participating.

With the boys doing great on their high kicks, can “Real Madrid: The Musical” be far behind?

It was great to see that fans were able to line the passageway leading to the training field, and that many of the boys stopped to sign autographs and pose for pictures, especially since they never do this type of thing in Madrid.  In general, training sessions are closed to the public, and the team also does not hold autograph sessions like they do when they visit other cities in Spain for games.  So, most of the time, the only chance people in Madrid have of meeting players are if you run into them in a shop or a restaurant, which is always awkward because you don’t want to interrupt whatever they’re doing.  It’s ironic, no?  The fans in the city which gives the team its name don’t have the same opportunities.  Although I can’t complain that much, because some of us get to watch many more games than everyone else.

The press conference.

At the press conference, Iker had the following to say.

on the team under José Mourinho: he’s a committed person, he’s not at all what he appears to be on television when you get to know him.  He has turned the team around completely and he’s brought out the best in us.  He helped the players to banish those fears we had when we weren’t winning anything.  It was a great decision [to bring him in as coach], he has a project for many years and he’s very happy here.  We hope it’s a turning point.

on the Ballon d’Or: it’s important for your name to be there.  As Víctor [Valdés] and Pepe [Reina] said, the goalkeeper is part of the game, and I don’t like it when it’s said that football is played with the feet.  The defender who gives the pass is as important as the one who scores the goal.

on objectives for this year: they’re similar to those of last year.  We aspire to take one more step forward like we did in the last two seasons with Mourinho.  We want to consolidate the team, and we want to win all the titles: the Supercopa, the Copa, we want to defend the Liga, and we hope for the Champions after years without winning it.  My team and my players [spoken like a true captain!] are the best for me.

on Castilla and RMC: I’m happy because Castilla has been promoted to the Liga Adelante and also for RMC, which will play in the Segunda B division.  It will be important for them and it will help them to mature.  For the first team, this is a priority because it helps them grow as players.  For us, the cantera is important.

Other things.

And over on twitter, we found out that Sergio Ramos and Fábio Coentrão decided to race each other in a 25-meter freestyle competition.  It looks like the decision was a spur of the moment thing, because… are both the boys in their underwear?  So they just stripped off their clothes and decided to go for it?  Lovely!

Sergio was the big winner – even though Fábio made it into the pool first – and made sure everyone knew it.  He tweeted, “I have to say, he didn’t measure up to El Churu…” and also made sure there was visual evidence.  He’s quite the competitor, isn’t he?  I also love how Pepe and Antonio, as well as Silvino, Rui and José, were there to be the judges and yell encouragement and other things, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, both Raúl Albiol and Álvaro Arbeloa tweeted amusing things that Pipa said.  El Chori’s contribution was “Que desayunaste con Piñon Fijo?? [sic].” Piñon Fijo is an Argentine clown, and the phrase translates to “did you eat a clown for breakfast?” meaning that someone is in a good mood and laughing.  As for Álvaro, he said, “we have to create a section with Gonzalo’s phrases.  Here is an example: ‘a crocodile that sleeps becomes a wallet.’”

And I hope José Callejón’s future tweets will be as great as the photos he’s been sharing!

Castilla news.

In Castilla news, our second team beat Getafe B 2-0 in a pre-season friendly behind two goals from Pedro Mosquera.  Speaking of Pedro, he’s now on twitter, and among the players to say “welcome” was one of his best friends, PF Juan Mata.  Juanín called Pedro the “best left foot” in Spain, and Pedro responded, “thanks brother!  I love you!!”  Denis also welcomed his teammate to twitter, and Pedro told him, “now you have to teach me about twitter!”  Meanwhile, Joselu also welcomed Pedro, but the latter didn’t respond like he had with Denis, so Joselu tweeted, “Pedro is not writing me, thanks Pedro Mosquera for being such a nice guy, jajaja.”  That caught Pedro’s attention, and he responded, “cabrón, my phone is going crazy, it blocked me!  I was looking for you, I would never forget you.  Thanks Selu, grande.”  I love the banter!

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