Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lyon - Real Madrid Champions League Review, Florentino Perez, & The Riazor

Real Madrid visited the Stade de Gerland, in Lyon, on the 22nd of February, 2011, to begin the journey of ending our round of sixteen curse. Mourinho didn't make many changes to the line ups we're already used to, but he went for a more defensive approach by dropping Marcelo and inserting Arbeloa.

Real Madrid: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe, Alvaro Arbeloa, Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Lyon: Hugo Lloris, Lovren, Cris, Cissokho, Reveillere, Toulalan, Kallstrom, Cesar Delgado, Michel Bastos, Gomis and Gourcuff.

The first half was pretty lackluster, and somewhat disjointed on the path of Los Blancos. No real chances were created and no attempts made at Hugo Lloris until Angel Di Maria's long range shot in the 30th minute which was later followed by Ronaldo's freekick. Apart from those chances, the first half was all about Lyon. We had the possession, but they ran all over us each time they had the ball. They didn't have too many chances themselves, but that was partly due to the hard work of our back four. They were kept on their toes all night.

The second half saw a more lively performance from the away side. Quick passing and incisive runs that we had expected from them right from the first half; and very tight pressing each time they lost the ball. The second half also came with some gifts of pure bad luck. Cristiano Ronaldo's well taken direct free kick hit the post and narrowly missed Sergio Ramos' head, and just a few minutes after that, Serio Ramos' header went of the post, and missed the on rushing head of Ricardo Carvalho.

Mourinho then thought it necessary to make a change. He pulled off Adebayor, who happened to be having a forgettable night, and brought former Lyon striker, Karim Benzema. 40 seconds after he came in, he. along with Ozil, managed to wrestle the ball off a Lyon player (Delgado, I think) before the German controlled the ball perfectly to slot in a beautiful pass to Ronaldo who didn't need more than one touch to play in Benzema who had already made a dashing and intelligent run into the box. The French man controlled the ball like the star striker that Perez intended to buy, before slotting it home through Lloris' legs.

The crowd went wild......oh wait, no, the whole Stadium went silent, including the player who scored the goal. Benzema did not celebrate the goal out of respect for his former club (classy). The Frenchman's goal made for wonderful poetic justice because he is now the first Madrid Player to score a goal in Stade de Garland, after having called that same place his home, just over a year ago.

Another highlight of the game was Florentino Perez' reaction to the goal. The old man was obviously under a lot of pressure knowing what the fate of his team has been in that stadium in the past. After Benzema scored, he stood up with his hands in the air, then held his head (maybe he remembered where he was) then put his hands back up in the air.

I know this Sir Florentino has made a lot of mistakes in the past, but his reaction to the goal showed how much love he has for this club. In one of his interviews before the match, he admitted that he let his ego affect his judgment during his first stint as president, but that he is now a changed man. On a more unrelated not, he even hinted at the possible signing of Dani Parejo(Getafe), and Jose Callejon (Espanyol). Okay, I'm going off point.

Back to the game..... Real Madrid seemed to take their foot off the pedal after the goal(even though it was never really on the pedal in the first place), before Lyon striker, Gomis slotted home a deflected set piece play, that left him alone with Iker Casillas for the equalizer.

Before the equalizing goal for Lyon, Mourinho had taken off Mesut Ozil for Marcelo, and an injured Sami Khedira for Lassana Diarra. Apart from the play that led to Benzema's goal, Mesut Ozil did not have much more to take home from the game. He was sub par. After that goal, it was Lyon, Lyon, Lyon all the way to the final whistle.

All in all, it wasn't the kind of performance we would have expected from the team. A 1-1 draw away from home is never a bad result in the Champions league, but a win would have been much better to go home with.

Some stats revealed that the whole team ran for 110.6 kilometers with Alonso covering the most distance (11.5km). Di Maria came second with 11.13 km, Ramos third with 10.5km and Carvalho was fourth with 10.1 km.

A 0-0 scoreline in the Bernebeau will mean Real Madrid goes through; 1-1 will mean extra time/penalties, 2-2 and above will mean Lyon goes through, and of course any of the two that wins or loses will go through or go home respectively.

Ronaldo is one yellow card away from being suspended, including Raul Albiol.

Real Madrid has never been eliminated from Europe after having drawn 1-1 away from home, so there is hope, but after my pre clasico write up, about how playing on a Monday was in Real Madrid's favor, (historically speaking), and still going on to lose the way we did, I have now realised that records are meant to be broken. Whatever happened in the past does not affect what will happen against Lyon in the Bernebeau. All that matters is that we try our best to win.

The second leg will be played on the 16th of March at the Santiago Bernebeau stadium. You can only expect the stadium to be packed like it was against Sevilla in the Cope Del Rey semi final match (2nd leg), for the singular reason that it's our chance to break the curse of the round of sixteen.

Moving on, Real Madrid will face Deportivo La Coruna in the Riazor this saturday 26/02/1011. Thanks to the beauty that was Guti's backheel, we were able to break the curse of the Riazor last season. Real Madrid had never beaten Depor in the Riazor since 1992 before last season. Obviously, the stadium is a tricky one to play in, so we must paly hard to get a good win.

That's all for now. We apologise for not posting stuff as frequently as possible. There's never much time to squeeze out from my day, to write anything, and I'm sure the same is the case for Deepak. We would also welcome any guest posts we can lay our hands on. Thank you.


Follow us on twitter @rmcanterano and @Muna_92

Hala Madrid!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Alex Fernandez's Interview To Real

As long as Real Madrid's official site do not start publishing the interviews of canteranos in English, you'll have to live off of poorly translated articles via Google Translate. And god forbid, if it's a video interview, you can forget about it completely.

But my wonderful friend on Twitter who runs RMCastillaLive there, has translated the interview of our young central midfield genius—Alex Fernandez and has allowed me to publish it on the blog, for everyone to read. So if you have a twitter follow RMCastillaLive and while you're there you can follow me(rmcanterano) too.

I hope to get more interviews of people related to La Fabrica soon. But for now, enjoy, feel the Madridismo and the passion.

Name: Álex Fernández
Team: Real Madrid Castilla Player
Age: 18 years
Position: Midfielder
Joined: Infantil A (2005/2006)

On Arrival To The Academy:

Good, especially had a lot of dreams, not all players can enter this club, it's very difficult. You have to work a lot; there are many sacrifices even for parents. And well, my best memory I think is my family's happiness, being able to enter the club that my brother was already in. And well with the hope of someday being able to play together, and in the end it's been for Real Madrid's second team.

The Best Moment:

I would say last year with the Juvenil A team, being champions with Alberto Toril and some teammates that are with me at Castilla now. I think it was the greatest year I have had as a footballer, and the truth is I will never forget it.

The Move To Castilla:

The step to Castilla has been a very big step. It was hard to adapt but I think it happened because I had a good year with Juvenil A and because of the everyday work, after all if you work hard at Real Madrid you are rewarded.

International With The U-19:

I'm lucky for being called up with the Spanish National Team, but I think it's because of the everyday work. It's hard to get in, but I think everything is going well for me at Real Madrid as well as the National Team, and I hope it stays that way.

A Year To Grow:

Having many minutes at this level gives you experience to, if you are lucky, someday play in upper levels and well, have a foundation. I think Segunda B is the beginning of the professional career.

His Brother Nacho:

He is a role model, at home, in the locker room, outside the locker room. I think he is my model to follow and the truth is I’m really happy to be able to achieve one my dreams that was to play with my brother at Real Madrid.

Álex As A Player:

I don't think I stand out neither a lot or in something in particular, rather I would say I'm a complete player; I have a little of everything. I attack and defend, but it's not like I'm a player of a specific thing.

Feeling ‘White’:

I'm a Madridista since I was little and I think that's a plus when playing for this team. And the truth is that for any boy that is a Real Madrid fan playing for Real Madrid, I think that is, footballistically speaking, having everything.

A Kiss To The Crest:

I think winning that final meant moving on, moving on as a footballer, moving on together as a team. The moment you score and you feel, I don't know, you feel plethoric, and many things come to your mind, your family, your teammates and especially the Madridista feeling. I think there were many Real Madrid fans there and all my teammates hugging me and I kiss the crest because I feel the colors, I felt the goal like I had never done it in my life. I think it meant the 2-1 for us, and it was very important for the team and for Real Madrid.

His Dream:

Win a Champions League trophy with Real Madrid.

Alberto Toril:

Well, I think it's how close he is to us. I see a team of people with some that play less, and others that play more and even then they are all happy. Alberto is a person that gets close to his players and I think it also influences the fact that he is a former player, he knows very well the world of football and having a coach that played at top level is the best that can happen to a footballer.

Castilla's Winning Streak:

Well, we were confident on the coach's work, on our work and we have been going one week at a time. We haven't been thinking in long terms, we have been going slow. The victories have been achieved and we hope to continue moving in that direction. We are very happy, Alberto has place a lot of trust in us, the team is happy which is what really matters, there are good vibes, and that is the dynamic, I’m sure we will keep on winning.

The Pre-Season With The First Team:

Well, I think it was an achieved dream, one of the several ones I have. Playing along with players like Cristiano, Kaká or such, it's the best that can happen to a footballer, especially like me, who has been a Madridista since he was little. And I'm very happy, thanks to José Mourinho and Aitor Karanka who trusted me. The truth is I tried my best in the pre-season and, hopefully, in the future they can count on me.

Hala Madrid!


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