Posts Tagged ‘Kaka’

Always Humble.

With each passing game, Real Madrid’s new looking team looks better and better. After a disappointing draw in their opening La Liga game against Mallorca and an under-performing home victory over Osasuna over the weekend, Los Blancos are finally starting to pull the strings together after completely dismantling Ajax in their opening Champions League group stage game.

For the first time in years we witnessed watching Real Madrid play the brand of football that we’ve come to expect from them. Madrid were able to create chance after chance without being bothered the least bit at the back.

The signing of Mesut Özil could prove to be one of Perez’s best signings ever if he continues his magnificent run of form. Ozil has been Real Madrid’s best player this season and has adapted impressively and instantly to his surroundings. His elegance with the ball reminds us of a younger version of Kaka, and his unselfish play makes him click easily with other team-mates.

Had Real Madrid had their finishing boots on, this game would’ve ended up much more lob-sided on the score sheet. Out of all people who missed the net so frequently, it was the main galactico Cristiano Ronaldo who wasted the most chances. It was a frustrating match for Cristiano. And as Cristiano tends to do, his desire to grab a goal became more desperate, and only seemed to make things worse.

Another player who didn’t have his finishing boots on tonight was Di Maria who missed a couple criminal chances. He started off sluggish but grew confident as the match went on and was a key contributor to Madrid’s second goal with a flick over the Ajax defence to set-up Ozil, who eventually set up Higuain who finally got over his Champions League slump.

The most impressive aspect of Real Madrid 2010/2011 under Mourinho though is the organization within the team. In three games, Real Madrid has hardly looked threatened at the back. They’ve been able to defend masterfully without parking the bus. They do so by attacking teams, keeping possession, and being tactically very organized. The combination of Khedira and Alonso in the middle has looked very harmonized so far. They both move without the ball tremendously, close down spaces quickly, and retain and maintain possession masterfully. The addition of Ricardo Carvalho has also been immense. Carvalho and Pepe form a great parternship at the heart of Real Madrid’s defence.

It will be interesting to see what happens when Kaka comes back. If he can return to the Kaka of old – which remains unlikely – then we could see an incredible quartet of Cristiano-Ozil-Kaka-Higuain. The depth that Real Madrid has in attack is truely one of the best in football today with Pedro Leon, Canales, Benzema and Kaka/Di Maria off the bench.

Having said all that, the season is young and it’s still pre-mature to judge if this team really has what it takes to take hold of ‘La Decima’. We’ve seen Real Madrid beat teams 5-0 in September for the past couple years only to see them fade away as the season went on. However with all the young talent they have and Mourinho as a motivator; this is a very promising season for Real Madrid.

Time to say Good-Bye to a legend.

I said my farewell to Guti yesterday, shedding a few tears while I wrote my tribute to him. Today, I simply do not want to say good-bye. The feeling of emptiness subjugates any other emotion I could possibly have at this moment. I was never an advocate of worshiping other people; but if I had to, only Raul would come close. To have your childhood hero who’s served your club so loyally and so entrancingly leave is an indescribable feeling.

Not only was Raul one of the best footballers that ever lived, he was also an icon and symbol for Spanish Football – especially for Real Madrid. He is a class act both on and off the pitch and is literally one of the most globally respected footballers in the World:

Michel Salgado:
“Raul is the soul of Real Madrid.”

Zinedine Zidane:
“He is a role model for anyone who sets foot on the field of play.”

Ronaldo:
“It is an honor to play alongside someone like Raul.”

Alfredo di Stefano:
“Raul does something that few players dare to try: he walks into a stadium with 100,000 people watching him and he plays as if he was in his neighborhood.”

Pele:
“He has the same talent that Brazilian players have.”

Maradona:
“Raul is a genius who has managed to maintain the same level of play for so many years.”

Guus Hiddink:
“He is the kind of player that every coach wants on his team.”

Fabio Capello:
“He is my favorite forward. He has the instinct of an assassin.”

Iker Casillas:
“Raul is a symbol of Real Madrid. A great captain is defined by ups and downs, knowing how to always make the best of any situation. Raul is an example of professionalism and he helped me grow as a player and person. The incredible histories of clubs are written by great footballers, and Raul is one of them.”

Cristiano Ronaldo:
“Playing by Raul’s side has been an honor. I always dreamed of doing so as a kid. It was an honor to share the same dressing room and I wish him all the best.”

Xabi Alonso:
“Raul represents the values of Real Madrid. He is a symbol and a part of this club’s history. It isn’t easy to play for Real Madrid for 15 years, but he did because is a magnificent player.”

Kaka:
“Raul is an amazing player and an important member of this club. Raul will forever be a part of Madridismo and his leaving is a sad day for fans and teammates.”

Drenthe:
“Raul is a genteman of football and a wonderful captain. He was always very nice to me and looked after me.”

Pepe:
“The 16 years that he played here speak words about his talent. He holds a special place in my heart because he always followed my progress when I was injured. He got off from the bench and accompanied me to the dressing room, which was an incredible gesture that I will never forget. He is a huge piece of Real Madrid history.”

Lass:
“I am very happy to have played with him. I remember watching him play when I was a little boy. He has helped me a lot since I came to Madrid. I will always say that I had the privilege to play with Raul at Real Madrid.”

Dudek:
“Raul is an incredible professional and an example for everyone on and off the pitch. He is a great person. It was a pleasure having played by his side.”

Benzema:
“Raul is a role model for all football players, especially the youngest ones. He is a great person and a symbol of Real Madrid and Spanish football. He is a fantastic forward and a very effective player.”

Adan:
“A piece of Real Madrid’s history is leaving. He is an icon and great captain. He is role model for all players who rose up through the academy. His is an example of excitement, hard work and professionalism. It was a pleasure to share a dressing room with Raul and I wish him all the best in the future.”

Marcelo:
“Raul won’t forget us and we won’t forget him. He is a symbol of everything Real Madrid.”

Gago:
“An emblem of Real Madrid is leaving; one of those players that all fans identify with. It was a pleasure to play with Raul and to share a dressing room with him. I wish him all the best on both a personal and sporting level.”

So what will we remember Raul for? I’ll remember him most for his intelligence and cleverness on the pitch. I believe that Fernando Hierro said it best when he said: “Raul is not a 10 in anything, but he is a 9 in everything”. I have never seen any footballer be able to chip the ball over the goalkeeper for a goal so effortlessly the way Raul has been known for doing. His natural position was a support striker right behind the ‘#9’. His unselfishness, clever through passes, and deadly finishing made him form a deadly and unforgettable combo. with his strike partners in 3 different eras – Morientes, Ronaldo, and Ruud Van Nistelrooy. I will also always remember all that he has done against the eternal enemy – Barca. He always managed to put a dagger in the hearts of Catalunya. Never to be forgotten is the moment where he put his finger to his lips to silence the Camp Nou.

Below I have posted his achievements, pictures, some of my favorite moments from him, and a ‘good-bye’ video. So farewell Raul. You were the reason I began watching the beautiful sport in the first place and will always have a place in my heart. Real Madrid will not be the same without your prodigious presence. Gracias Capitan. I will await your return as a coach.

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Goal-Scoring Records

Titles Won

Individual Accolades

Matches Played

Goal-Scoring Count

“Today is a very difficult day in my career as a footballer. I tried to give my very best in every play, every dribble, every shot and every gesture on the pitch. “I love almost everything about playing football and I want to hold on to the feeling of being a player. I’ve always done my utmost on the pitch. The word surrender doesn’t exist for me or Real Madrid.

“I’d like to thank everybody for their support throughout the years. The fans, my team-mates, coaches, presidents and the press. I want to say a special word of thanks to my family. I’d be nothing without them. I also want to wish Alfredo Di Stefano a speedy recovery.

“I will always be ready if Real Madrid need me. Hala Madrid!,”

You will see me here everyday for the next month. Make it your home too.

The players get into their new jersey for the first time. I wish I was a part of this photo shoot.

Never gets old. In my opinion, the smoothest player since Zinedine Zidane.

Pipita - All Smiles

Gonzalo Higuain has made a living off of tormenting La Liga teams. He was once an unkown, and rose to a player with lots of potential. And as he has finally broken in as a fixed starter for the greatest sports club on the planet, he has become a world class forward and easily one of, if not the best young player(s) in his position. This weekend again he showed his worth. Against Mallorca in the middle of a snow storm in Madrid, Higuain scored a golazo and assisted another.

Well Done Boss

I’m loving Pellegrini right now. I wasn’t too impressed with him at first  but it seems that he has finally found the right formula for this squad. His new system (4-2-3-1) has been worked to perfection. The two holding midfielders give freedom to Kaka, Ronaldo, and Van Der Vaart (who has been exceptional this year. His 2-3 week injury is unfortunate) to supply Higuain with goals. My only slight concern is that Benzema finds himfself on the bench. My hope and dream is that these two brilliant strikers can become a world class striking partnership for years to come. We desperately need Benzema to take advantage of his time off the bench.

The brilliant thing about Pelle’s sytem is that it has worked wonders for our defence. There was a time where Real Madrid’s best defence was their unbelievable offensive system. We had Zidane, Figo, Carlos, Raul and Ronaldo. It was a team that didn’t let the opposition get the ball or the chance for the opposition to even get out of their own half. We have won two CL trophies this decade with defenders like Hierro (old version), Helguera, Pavon, Ivan Campo and Karanka. And it was all due to an important offensive and possession oriented system. We are finally seeing glimpses of that again this season. The injury that was sustained to Pepe was devastating, but with all due respect to Pepe (one of the World’s best defenders), Garay and Albiol have done exceptionally well without him and the defence hasn’t lost a beat thanks to Pellegrini’s formula.

Real Madrid 2-0 Mallorca: Highlights

A few upsets today in general, but none as massive as the game I watched today in Barcelona. I sat down on the couch with my plate of spaghetti and meatballs, expecting to flip through between the Liverpool-Lyon and Barca-Rubin Kazan games.

Just like any other person, I was expecting Barca to absolutely slaughter Kazan. The game started very interesting, Kazan scored a golazo in the 2nd minute and I was glued to the game after that. It wasn’t particularly entertaining, but I was amazed that Rubin Kazan played such a perfect game against the European Champions. They had cut off all the defensive angles perfectly. They made defending look like an art, as opposed to other teams who simply put 11 men behind the ball without a plan and then hoof the ball away. Kazan actually passed their way up the field out of the back; they played a very commendable game and eventually went on to win the game 2-1:

In the other game in the group, Inter were held to a draw at home against Dynamo Kiev (2-2). Inter now only have 3 points from 3 games, this group has absolutely turned inside out and upside down due to Inter underperforming and Rubin Kazan over-performing.

Group F Pld Pts
Barcelona 3 4
Dynamo 3 4
Rubin 3 4
Internazionale 3 3

Results of other CL games today

The big one is tomorrow:

The Champions League has finally arrived. It was a long summer without meaningful football but that wait is over now. All 32 teams have finished playing their first match, and what an interesting matchday it was. Let’s get started.

Everyone knows Manchester Unitedare severely weakened since Ronaldo’s departure, but they did manage to hold off Besiktas in Turkey last night for a 0-1 win. Turkish fans are known to be some of the craziest in the world; and instead of highlights, I would rather post this clip of a high quality amateur video of the Besiktas fans during kick-off:

Ac Milan proved that they should always be a contender for the Champions League, no matter how much of a crisis they’re in. After all, they are the second best team of all team after Real Madrid. Milan put together an impressive display in Marseille and pulled off a 1-2. This is not AC’s best year by any means. First they lost Kaka, then got hammered by Inter in the derby 4-0. They also have a completely washed up Ronaldinho who doesn’t even start anymore, and an ageing team of Nesta, Gattusso, Pirlo, Inzaghi, Seedorf and co. It’s no secret that they will be fighting with Marseille for second place in this group, and they most definitely took a big leap towards that goal with their win last night. Inzaghi adding to his European tally with 2 goals while ex-Real Madrid defender Heinze got Marseille’s lone goal. Great atmosphere:

Real Madrid make it look easy. Well, they had a 5 minute scare against FC Zurich, but other than that, they just put it on cruise control and ate the Swiss team apart. The game was in Zurich, but it seemed like quite a few Madridista’s were in the stadium, and they overshadowed the Zurich fans for large parts of the game. 3-0 at half-time, and 5-2 the final score. Watch these highlights in full; because this Real Madrid team is unbelievably fun to watch. Oh, and look for the sexy black jerseys with no sponsors:

Atletico Madrid continue to struggle. Their trend as of late has been much of the same: lots of clear cut chances but no win to show for. Their lack of finishing has really been hurting them. A shocking 0-0 draw at home today to tiny Apoel. Check out all of the chances they had. It’s unbelievable:

Undoubtedly the most intriguing game of matchday 1 was Inter – Barcatonight. Zlatan returned to Milan while Eto’o went up against his old team mates in this clash of two giants of European football. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a snooze fest for the neutral eye as the game ended 0-0. Barca had the ball all day passing it around with plenty of possession, while Inter were forced to sit back. But at least they defended well, and Samuel and Lucio were phenomenal at the back.

Arsenal left it late tonight after a shocking start against Standard Liege:

The other scores from matchday1:

Group A
Juventus 1-1 Gir. Bordeaux
(Iaquinta 63′; Plasil 75′)
Maccabi Haifa 0-3 Bayern Munich
(Van Buyten 64′, Mueller 85′, 88′)

Group B
Besiktas 0-1 Manchester United
(Scholes 77′)
Wolfsburg 3-1 CSKA Moscow
(Grafite 36′, 41′ pen., 87′; Dzagoev 77′)

Group C
Ol. Marseille 1-2 AC Milan
(Heinze 49′; Inzaghi 28′, 75′)
FC Zürich 2-5 Real Madrid
(Margairaz 64′ pen., Aegerter 65′; C. Ronaldo 27′, 89′, Raúl 34′, Higuain 45′, Guti 90′)

Group D
Atlético Madrid 0-0 APOEL Nicosia
Chelsea 1-0 FC Porto

(Anelka 48′)

Group E
Liverpool 1-0 Debrecen
(Kuyt 45′)
Ol. Lyon 1-0 Fiorentina
(Pjanic 76′)

Group F
Dynamo Kiev 3-1 Rubin Kazan
(Yussuf 71′, Magrão 80′, Gusev 86′; Dominguez 26′)
Inter Milan 0-0 FC Barcelona

Group G
Sevilla 2-0 Unirea Urziceni
(Luís Fabiano 45′, Renato 70′)
Stuttgart 1-1 Glasgow Rangers
(Pogrebnyak 18′; Bougherra 77′)

Group H
Olympiacos 1-0 AZ Alkmaar
(Torosidis 79′)
Standard Liège 2-3 Arsenal
(Mangala 2′, Jovanovic 5′ pen.; Bendtner 45′, Vermaelen 77′, Eduardo 81′)

Emanuel Adebayorhas lost any respect that anyone has had left for him after his childish and juvenile antics against Arsenal on the weekend. First he kicked Van Persie in the face while VP was down on the ground, and then he scored a goal, and celebrated by running 90 yards across the pitch to the Arsenal section to provoke the fans of his former club:

An amateur records a better view of the Arsenal fans going nuts and throwing stuff at him:

Before his goal, where he kicks Van Persie while he’s down:

Meanwhile, Real Madrid continue to look unstoppable.

Real Madrid have started the season off 2-0. They have been playing without Ramos and Pepe. And they also started the game against Espanyol without Lassana, Raul and Ronaldo. On top of that, they are not even at 50% of the capabilities, this team has barely gelled yet – and despite of all this, they look absolutely scary going up front. Each time they have the ball it looks like they are about to score. One of my favorite things about Real Madrid right now is Esteban Granero. He came from the youth system, and was loaned out to Getafe for a couple years and bought back this year. He is an absolutely cracking player. He can attack, defend, hustles, pass, score and takes magnificent set-pieces. He just could be the next Andres Iniesta (you heard it here first). Kaka has also hit his stride and looks like he’s back to being one of the World’s best players. Real Madrid’s demolition in Catalunya against Espanyol in their new stadium:

David Silva

First of all, I am going to apologize to all my fans for not being around in the past couple of weeks. Believe it or not I have somewhat of a busy life. However, summer is over – which means school is starting – which means you will see more blog entries from me – which means I have excellent priorities.

Right on.

World Cup Qualifying

The World Cup and the finalists are finally taking shape. This week was host to some outrageous events. Starting in Tbilisi, Georgia hosted Italy looking for their first win. Pretty tough task when you have to play against the defending World Champions (admittedly though it’s a much weaker Italian side than before, but their consistent luck makes them a threat against anyone). Now we’ve all have heard about the calciopoli scandal, but is it too much to say that Kahka Kaladze was offered some kind of expensive automobile to purposely lose the game? Italy won the match 2-0 from two outrageous own goals by Kaladze:

Portugal – All but out.

For a team that was a favorite to win the World Cup, failure to qualify didn’t even cross anyone’s mind. That dream of even being considered a favorite is all but shattered now. Portugal now lies fourth place in their group behind Denmark, Hungary, and Sweden. Carlos Quieroz seems to have completely lost the plot. Portugal’s starting line-up against Denmark consisted of: Pepe, Raul Meireles, Tiago, Deco, Simao, and Cristiano Ronaldo. I know Portugal has lacked a good striker for years, but this team doesn’t even have one in the line-up! Add to the fact that Pepe most certainly should not be played as DM (as great as he is).

KAKA

I’ve always been one of his biggest fans even when he was in Milan; and now that he’s a Madridista I think I might just be in love him. For me, this guy is easily the smoothest and most elegant player in the World right now (I still believe Messi is the best player in the World.. But Kaka is just a joy to watch). Kaka has always been awesome for Brazil and fantastic against Argentina. The World Cup Qualifyer against Argentina this week showed that he hasn’t slowed down one bit, he was running past players and setting people up and completely overshadowed Mascherano and Messi. Maradona needs to get Argentina sorted out – and quick. Argentinians don’t like to lose 3-1 at home against their biggest rivals. Highlights (and check out Kaka’s incredible pass for Brazil’s last goal):

David Silva y La Furia Roja

David Silva is on fire right now and definitely one of the most in-form players in the World. The guy is so underrated it’s not even remotely funny. Silva and David Villa made up for 4 of Spain’s 5 goals against Belgium. I still can’t believe how much Valencia have struggled having those two in their team. Spain is a machine right now, they look absolutely unstoppable. The scary thing is that Iniesta and Ramos are still injured and did not play this game. Just sit back and enjoy the kings of Europe doin’ their thang: