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The Basque boys honored

Xabi Alonso, Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez were honored in Vitoria by the Basque Parliament for their achievements with the Spanish national team last summer. The three world champions received the symbol of the Basque Parliament, the “Izaro” and they signed the guest book of the House and thanked the government for the emotional tribute.

watch the video of the tribute here.

Filed under Xabi Alonso Fernando Llorente Javi Martinez Real Madrid Athletic Bilbao sp Spain NT La Furia Roja

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UEFA takes disciplinary action against Real Madrid

UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has issued several fines and suspensions for Real Madrid coach Mourinho and players involved in the staging and deliberately receiving red cards during the Champions League game against Ajax.

Real Madrid will be fined €120,000.

Mourinho has been suspended from coaching activities for two UEFA matches, (the second is deferred for a probationary period of three years) he is also fined €40,000.

Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos were fined €20,000 and suspended for one UEFA match

Iker Casillas was fined €10,000

Jerzy Dudek was fined €5,000.

(Source: uefa.com)

Filed under Real Madrid Sergio Ramos Jose Mourinho Iker Casillas Xabi Alonso

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El Clásico: Post-match musings

PepHow we did it - that makes us proud. Now just let us sit back and enjoy that win - we’ll reflect and look at the whole game, but now it would be wrong not to revel in the win. Games like that happen very rarely indeed. There are still a lot of games left to play in this league. We were the better team tonight, but both teams are at a very high level. We are only two points ahead and Real Madrid remain an impressive team”. 

Puyol: “I wanted to defend my teammate because I think it’s a very hard tackle. We have many friends in the Real Madrid dressing room, and we do not have problems with it. Whatever happens on the field let’s finish it in the field. I have a good relationship with Ramos, and the incident had been forgotten. There’s other important things I should think. This victory gave us a confidence. The team played well and we want to defend it.”

Iniesta: "We have played a great game. We had to play with great intensity and the team has put on a great performance. It was a very big margin, as they almost had no attacking options. We know that this is not winning the league, but just a small step. We have been spectacular and put on a show for both the players and public.”

David Villa: “It was very important to win. We looked for the victory and we succeeded. We wanted to get ahead and secure a lead. And what better way than the way we have done it. We could not have asked for more. We must now continue to work hard as we are only in November. The title wasn’t lost prior to the match, and neither is it won. We have an advantage, but we now have to keep on winning.”

Dani Alves: "This team is capable of anything. The League doesn’t end here and we must continue with the same modesty.

Mourinho: “I am not humiliated at all. This is the biggest defeat I have ever suffered in league play. It is hard to swallow because we never had a chance of winning. It wasn’t one of those defeats that leave a bad taste in your mouth because we didn’t deserve to lose or because the referee performed badly or because the ball hit the post. One team played as well as it could and the other played badly. It is a deserving win and a deserving defeat, which makes it easy to swallow.”

Xabi Alonso: “Barcelona were the better team  in all facets and we must look back to understand the mistakes we made. Their two early goals made things a lot easier for them and much more complicated for us. We did not expect thins, but there is still a lot of season left and nothing has finished. We are not happy, but we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. We must only look towards the future.”

Filed under FC Barcelona Real Madrid el clasico pep guardiola Jose Mourinho xabi alonso Carles Puyol David Villa Andres Iniesta Dani Alves

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El Clásico round-up

Four days to go and what they have to say…

Xabi Alonso

“This Barca team is very good, and are still very good. In recent years they have won many titles, and we will fight hard to beat us because it will be crucial. The two matches, both at the Camp Nou and the return will be very important.

“However, there are many more points also to be played for, so the match will not be decisive, but the result will still be important for those with aspirations of the title. This team has great potential in attack, with great scoring ability. If we play well as a team, and are strong in attack and defence, that is the recipe to win at the Camp Nou.”

Sergio Ramos

“Barcelona are a team full of good players, such as Iniesta and Xavi, but if I could remove anyone, it would Lionel Messi.”

“The match at the Camp Nou will be very difficult. Both teams arrive here in great form and mood, and although this match seems like just three points, it is a very special match and I think this year we will win.”

Alvaro Arbeloa

 "It will be a clash between two of the best teams in the world, each with its own style and characteristics. Each has its own weapons and options. It’s hard to say which team is better. I side with mine, naturally, but things are very even as of today."

"We have no anti-Messi or anti-missile plans. I’d rather none of their 18 men played (laughs). They are a great team. Messi, Xavi, Pedro was phenomenal the other day… Barcelona are an enormously competitive team. They have quality players that make a difference. Seriously, I want all of their best men on the pitch on Monday. I am confident we can defeat the best Barcelona."

"Cristiano and Messi are currently the two most decisive men on either side, but it would be unfair on others to focus solely on them. There will be 20 more players on the pitch and all should be followed closely."

Xavi

"It’s an important game and we’re favourites because we’re playing at home. We are in form and playing well. We respect Madrid a lot and will try to win the game.”

Pedro

“We are all excited by el clasico. We come with confidence, we are playing well and hopefully we are able to take all the points at Camp Nou.

Gerard Pique

"These games are at 50%, no matter the form the teams arrive in. I think we are at a good level. The team has a lot of confidence and we are going to be at home. The conditions are optimal.” 

Filed under Alvaro Arbeloa Real Madrid Sergio Ramos Xabi Alonso xavi hernández Pedro Rodriguez Gerard Pique FC Barcelona el clásico

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Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos deliberate red cards

During Real Madrid’s 0-4 win against Ajax both Xabi and Sergio received red cards for time wasting. However the red cards clearly seem deliberate. [Watch the “staging” of the red cards here] 

Why deliberately get red cards? Well the red cards mean they can begin the knock out stage with a clean slate, if UEFA hand them only the mandatory one-match ban. But under article 5.1 of UEFA’s regulations dealing with loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship both players could be charged and have their suspensions extended.

However Del Bosque defended the two players: “I think the players did the right thing, as they had to think about future games. Perhaps the ‘staging’ was not ideal, and I do not know if it is unsportsmanlike, but they have to think about their future, and I think they acted correctly.”

What do you think of Mourinho’s strategy: Genius? Or just making a mockery of the beautiful game?

Filed under Xabi Alonso Sergio Ramos Real Madrid Vicente del Bosque