to Los Angeles we go!

The boys are already on their way to the United States!  It was a busy morning at Valdebebas.  The first order of business was the medical tests for the returning players – Iker, Sergio, the A-team, Cris and Pepe.  As for Sami and Mesut, they’ll be joining the team in Los Angeles.  And once that happens, the team will be (almost) complete – we’ll just be missing our little sunshine, Marcelo.

Álvaro Arbeloa also informed us that José Callejón will be joining twitter soon!  If that doesn’t get you excited about the upcoming season, I don’t know what will!

As stated above, the medical tests were the first item on the agenda.  It’s a good thing that Iker changed into his team outfit first, because I don’t even want to think about what he wore to Valdebebas (I imagine it’s something as summery as the outfit of Karim Benzema, whom you can glimpse behind Mr. Elegance).

Xabi was very manly when it came to the blood test, while Sergio tried to grin and bear it, I guess.

After that was completed, the team boarded the bus that would take them to the airport.  As we can see, there were reunions right outside the bus.  And El Pirata was looking his usual cool self.

Ricardo Carvalho has been excused from the trip (he’s certainly being treated much, much better than other players that didn’t figure into Mou’s plans, isn’t he?), while canteranos Nacho, Álex, Jesé, MFC ABMM and Jesús were called up to do the pre-season with the first team.  Here we have the oldest canterano and the newest one!

FP joined the delegation for the flight to Los Angeles.  He walked around greeting the players, including the apple of his eye, Karim.  Speaking of eyes, look at MFC ABMM’s huge doe eyes in the photo with Pérez and Pipita!

Iker shared this photo of him with Mou and Sergio, saying, “I was really looking forward to seeing these two guys.”  And dios mio, is that Iker looking a bit tan?

Some more photos from the plane ride… Pepe was all set to watch Entourage!

As a reminder, the first training session will take place on Sunday at UCLA, at 19h Spain time (10h local time).   Madrid will be playing four friendlies in the United States: against the Galaxy on Aug. 2 in LA, against Santos Laguna on Aug. 5 in Las Vegas, against Milan on Aug. 8 in NYC and the tour will conclude with the game against Celtic on Aug. 11 in Philly.

The game.

Well, the only good things I can say about the game are that Denis was a superstar and tweeted some photos before the game (I see that no one has told Karim that his poses are often ridiculous, and the positioning of his headphones doesn’t help matters…)…

… that I adored the all white jerseys, that I loved seeing José Callejón point to the escudo (the all white shirts made it all the more lovely), and that Victoria the eagle is quite impressive (here’s the story of the first Victoria).

Prior to the game, José Mourinho, Ángel di María and Fábio Coentrão received a tribute from Benfica.  Eusébio gave them each a commemorative trophy, and in return, he got a silver replica of the Bernabéu from Emilio Butragueño and Eduardo Fernández de Blas.

As for Mou, he had a lot to say in his press conference after the game.

on the loss: if it was a disaster for all of you Spaniards to lose 5-2, and for the Portuguese it was a party, then it’s your problem.  Out of the 19 titles I’ve won, none were during the pre-season.  I’m not worried about what happened.  We came here because we had a contract to hold up and we would be penalized if we didn’t play.  It had something to do with the signing of Coentrão or Di María, I don’t remember.

on the cantera: this game was also important to show all of those “iluminados” who think that the canteranos are prepared to play on the first team that there is a long road and you have to go bit by bit, you have to be patient.

Prior to the game, he had spoken about Fábio Coentrão: “I don’t think I would bring Portuguese players to Real, because it’s a very, very difficult life for them.  They have to be a Cristiano, a Pepe, a man, with a special mentality to overcome a situation that is not easy… they have to show in each game, each minute that they’re not only the best, but much better than the rest… Coentrão will play, at least so that he can regain some self-esteem and be applauded, because in Real Madrid he’s not very much.”

I have some problems with what Mou said here.  First, the canteranos are never going to be prepared to play on the first team if they’re not given chances, and under Mou, they don’t have opportunities.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Dani Carvajal was probably the player who was the most prepared to be promoted, yet he ended up leaving because he wasn’t given opportunities.  In addition, some of the players that Mou got the club to sign were also woefully unprepared to play on the first team of Real Madrid.  At least with the canteranos, there’s no adaptation period, there’s no language problem, they know and respect the history of the club…

With regards to his remarks on Coentrão (and the way that Carvalho has been treated), it appears that Mou gives preferential treatment to the Portuguese players (especially those represented by Jorge Mendes).  He makes it sound like madridistas do not like Portuguese players simply for the fact that they are Portuguese, and that is not true.  If we haven’t warmed to Coentrão yet, that’s because he hasn’t done anything yet to show us that he belongs here and deserves to be here (that smoking incident did not help).  He has to earn his place here, it’s not going to just be handed to him like Mou wants.  And it’s not just like this with the Portuguese players, it’s like that with everyone.  EVERYONE has to prove themselves in each game, not just the Portuguese.

Okay rant over.  To avoid ending on a negative note, here is sweaty El Pirata looking every inch the captain.

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