Posts Tagged ‘Pepe’

The ‘Pepe’ of the NBA.

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.

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

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

Although many neutrals might not have enjoyed what was supposed to be the biggest spectacle in World football, I can assure you that Cules and Madridistas around the World were experiencing near heart attacks. For weeks up to the build up to El Clasico, friends had been talking trash to me, emphasizing the point that Barcelona would not only win this game, but absolutely dominate it and predictions like 3-0 were constantly thrown at me. I simply laughed it off. I knew that Barcelona are not the same team they were a year ago, and I also had faith that Madrid would elevate their game. Real Madrid are not Inter Milan. They were not going to bend over pathetically so Barca could.. Well you know.

From the opening kick-off my heart was in my stomach. I was happy with Pellegrini’s starting eleven. I felt the decision to drop Benzema to stick in Marcelo was wise to keep Dani Alves in check. Madrid started off fantastically and had several chances to take the lead. The most notable chance came when Kaka left two defenders for dead, and served it on a platter for Cristiano Ronaldo who missed a criminal chance. But the start was encouraging. The game continued with Madrid having several great chances going astray and most of them due to brilliant individual defending from Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes. Of course, both teams had chances in the second half too, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic came on as a sub to score one of Barca’s few chances. The intentions of this post was  not to recap the game itself so much, but to take a look at the long-term implications of this match.

The Cons:

Although Pellegrini’s starting line-ups have been sound and reasonable this season, it’s his decisions after half-time which have been highly questionable. I won’t touch on his past decisions, but today there were some choices that did not make much sense. Marcelo has been playing fantastic ever since Pellegrini rightfully converted him to a left winger. But today he was our weakest link. Instead of taking off Arbeloa (who played well on the defensive end) for Raul and pushing Marcelo back to LB, I feel that Marcelo should have been subbed for Drenthe who has an incredible amount of pace and flair and would have caused the Barca defence even more problems. We all love the captain and his records, but we already had two strikers with Pipita and Benzema. There was no need for a third.

My other main concern is the lack of quality in the set pieces that are taken. We have players like Pepe, Cristiano and Ramos who are monsters in the air; but Xabi Alonso’s set-pieces have been woeful this season. We haven’t had a consistent set piece specialist since David Beckham and I am worried. Esteban Granero has proven he’s a good dead ball player, but he hasn’t had significant minutes this season.

— But fear not my Madridista brothers. The positives far outweigh the negatives. —

The Pros:

Real Madrid can hold their heads up high. The long-term implications of this game are vast and fruitful. A game that Barca was supposed to dominate, ended up being a game where Real Madrid were the better team and were unlucky to lose. Real Madrid still has the season in their hands. They are finally hitting their stride and will only get better. Although the result of this game could’ve been better, I am positive that as a club, we will gain confidence from this match. Two players really stood out for me today: Kaka and Sergio Ramos. Both players had their best games of the season thus far. Sergio Ramos was a rock at the back, and fantastic going forward. While Kaka tormented the Barca defence on several occasions and looked like he always wanted to be involved. I absolutely can’t wait until Cristiano, Kaka, Benzema, and Higuain hit their stride. It’s going to be orgasmic to watch.

Barcelona have been a shadow of their former selves this season. They’ve only had a couple of truly impressive games, and their last game against Inter really had much to do with Inter’s awful organization and tactics. I don’t like knocking on champions, but the fact that a woeful team like Inter can be champions of Italy is a shame for football. I am confident that Madrid will keep improving and hitting their stride while Barca still have work to do. The league is still in our hands. One more Clasico in the Bernabeu.

iiiiiiii HALA MADRID !!!!!!!

I’m not in much of a mood to comment on the Sevilla – Real Madrid game today (mind you, I have lots to say). I just wanted to share with you why Iker Casillas is the best keeper in the World; and one of (if not) the best ever.

Unbelievable saves against Sevilla today:

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:

The biggest rivalry in all of sports history is here for the second and final time this season. This is easily the biggest Clasico in years. There is so much at stake and so much pressure on both teams. This Saturday is going to be a war, and will decide the championship. Barcelona is playing its best football in years, but make no mistake; Real Madrid is in top form and will have almost their whole team available unlike the first Clasico in Camp Nou which ended 2-0 to the Catalan side.

Squad lists:

REAL MADRID C.F.

GK:Iker Casillas, Jerzy Dudek
DF:Sergio Ramos, Miguel Torres, Fabio Cannavaro, Christoph Metzelder, Gabriel Heinze, Marcelo
MF:Arjen Robben, Dani Parejo, Fernando Gago, Lassana Diarra, Javi Garcia, Rafael Van der Vaart, Julien Faubert, Royston Drenthe
FW:Raul, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Gonzalo Higuain

Not Called:

Injured:Ruud, Mahamadou, Guti, Sneijder, De la Red
Technical decision:Salgado, Saviola, Codina
Suspended: Pepe

F.C. BARCELONA

Valdes, Jorquera, Henry, Xavi, Piqué, Iniesta, Puyol, Cáceres, Sylvinho, Bojan, Eto’o, Messi, Hleb, Alves, Abidal, Keita, Gudjohnsen, Touré and Sergio Busquets.

Not Called:

Injured: Marquez, Milito

Technical Decisions: Pinto, Pedro, Victor Sanchez.

Pepe will not be there to to keep Messi and co. in check.

 Probable line-ups:

REAL MADRID C.F. (4-4-2)

_____________Casillas

S. Ramos_Cannavaro_Metzelder_Heinze

___________Gago___Lass

Robben___________________Marcelo

________Higuain_____Raul

F.C BARCELONA (4-3-3)

________Valdes

Alves_Puyol_Pique_Abidal

__Xavi___Yaya__Keita

__Messi__Etoo_Iniesta

The Cules will want revenge from last year’s pasillo

 Madrid will be hoping that the draw against Chelsea midweek will have somewhat slowed Barca down. If we are to win this game, we have to make sure we don’t let Barca settle down into their passing game (easier said then done). I’m sure this Madrid team with the Bernabeu behind them is capable of stopping this record breaking Barcelona team. Oh how sweet it would be to beat Barca now and go on to win the league.. How sweet indeed.

Video preview:
VAMUNOS MUCHACHOS!! HALA MADRID!
VAMUNOS MUCHACHOS!! HALA MADRID!

 

 

 

 

Pipita - FTW!
Pipita – FTW!

 You can’t say enough about Gonzalo Higuain. His passion and determination has won the hearts of Madridista’s all around the World. Once again, in the midst of a horrible Real Madrid performance today, he took the team into his own hands and scored two goals (one of them in injury time to win the game).

It’s very strange being a Real Madrid fan; week in and week out I experience an emotional rollercoaster. This is easily an era of one of the worst Real Madrid teams I have ever seen. Yet, we are still back to back champions and sit second behind a record breaking Barcelona team. Despite how bad Real Madrid have been, they’ve been winning non stop. Today’s game summed up the season pretty well: Bad performance, heroics from Casillas, individual brilliance, game won. I must say, this was easily the most exciting game of the season that Real Madrid has played in. The game was pretty much lost when Albin put Getafe 2-1 up (horrible defending) with 6 minutes to go. Guti’s brilliant free-kick in the 86th minute tied the game, but the celebrations were short lived when Pepe was given a straight red card for fouling a player in the box and kicking him while he was down. However, Casillas saved the penalty (awful panenka attempt from Casquero) which brought a massive roar around the Bernabeu. Higuain’s second goal in injury time was the icing on the cake to bury Getafe (and pr0bably alot of Barca hearts).

This pic pretty much sums up the game; Pepe running out of the locker room after being red carded to celebrate, Casillas running from his net to celebrate and Cannavaro off the bench. You can see how much this game meant to them:

Some more pics from the game:

Match Highlights (You won’t want to miss it):