batter up!

The two training sessions that took place on Monday were the least interesting events of the day (although they did allow us to get glimpses of our beautiful, and for the most part very tan, footballers.  The team once again trained during both the morning and afternoon.

Ángel di María and Rafa Varane spent the morning session working apart from their teammates, with Carlos Lalín.  Ángel was able to join his teammates for the afternoon session, while Rafa continued working with Carlos.

The team also received several visits.  For the third straight year, Jorge Campos – the Mexican former goalkeeper – watched Madrid train at UCLA, and he told Real Madrid’s press people that “Casillas is the best goalkeeper in the world.  His reflexes and the reaction he has make him unique.  He’s a leader both on and off the field and he always appears in the most important moment of the game… he’s a humble and excellent person, in spite of everything he has won.  Young goalkeepers can learn a lot from him.”  I’d love to see Iker in some of the outfits that Jorge has sported over the years!

After the conclusion of the first training session, two Arizona Diamondbacks players visited the team, and helped the boys set up an impromptu baseball game, with the likes of Kaká, Pipita, Callejón, Xabi Alonso trying out their luck as pitchers and batters.  Gerard Parra said he was happy to have the opportunity to watch the best team in the world train, while Miguel Montero said he loves Spanish football and Real Madrid.  The two of them were playing in Los Angeles (the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 7-2 later that day) and so they decided to check out the training session.

Love their batting faces!

Parra and Montero left the game impressed with Xabi Alonso’s baseball skills: “we were speaking with him and he told us that he has watched baseball games and liked them.  He also said he’s practiced the sport with pitching machines and that’s why he’s so good with a bat.”

There was also time on Monday for the coaching seminar “Tactical Thinking with José Mourinho,” organized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as part of a three-day tactical course for future coaches.  Mou and his coaching staff – Rui, Aitor, Silvino, José Morais, Luis Campos, Santi Lozano and Carlos Lalín – all spoke during the seminar, which lasted for two hours.

Other activities during the course included watching Madrid train twice, and all the participants – Jorge Campos was one of them – received a copy of the pro version of the Mourinho Tactical Board software.

And here’s an update on six-year-old Zión Torres, who invited Iker Casillas to his birthday party last year while the team was in Los Angeles.  Iker had to decline, but posed for a photo with the kid.  This year, Zión wanted to get “el mejor goalie del mundo” to sign a blown up copy of the photo.  Did he succeed?  I love Zión’s glasses and his dad’s Manu Ginóbili jersey!

Today’s Pipita quote, courtesy of Álvaro Arbeloa: “tenes menos onda que pelo de japonés!” [sic].  It’s a bit hard to explain, since there is a pun involved.  “Tener onda” means to be cool, and “onda” also means wave.  Translated literally, it means “you have less wave than the hair of a Japanese person.”  In the context of the expression, however, it means something akin to “you’re so uncool.”  Does the explanation make sense?  I’m reading it over and I’m not sure it does… and it was all so clear in my head.  Álvaro also posted this photo of him and Jesé!

And the club also announced that Zinedine Zidane will start working with the cantera as he seeks to become more immersed in coaching.  In addition, this year he will complete the technical director course he is taking, so soon he’ll become a jack of all trades for Real Madrid!  I wonder if he’ll end up coaching any of his sons?

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