Cristiano "The Untouchable"

And in the 25th day ... Cristiano will not rest. The Portuguese will start against Deportivo and tonight will become the only player in the league who has played every minute of the championship. CR7 is now tied with Iraola, but the low due to suspension of the Bilbao defense leaves him as the only untouchable in the league.

Cristiano rests on the field
Crisitano will not rest tonight

The stroke he suffered in his left ankle against Lyon made alarm bells ringing in the Real Madrid expedition but Mourinho confirmed that Ronaldo will join the starting lineup and has no intention to give him rest: "He's fine and will play. It is useless I protect him ,because injuries can not be foreseen. Canales has been injured in a relaxed training, a sign that in the world of football is impossible to protect players".

In this way, Cristiano Ronaldo will reach the 2,363 minutes in the league, even ahead of Iker Casillas, that if he completes the whole game tonight, will reach 2,086. The third Real Madrid player with more minutes is Marcelo who tonight will be starter and will accumulate 1,994 minutes. These data include the minutes added by the referees.

Until now, Iraola and Cristiano are the ones who had played every possible minute, but the Basque ahead Portuguese by three minutes. Today, Iraola will stay in second position. The third player on the field (no goalkeeper) with more minutes in the league is Torrejón (Santander), who has played 23 complete games and has only been replaced in one match (2217 minutes).

Is a target of Cristiano to finish the season playing every minute of the championship?

Preview: Deportivo vs Real Madrid

Deportivo vs Real Madrid shields

There was nothing of "Superdepor" and still remained the curse of Real Madrid in Riazor; 19 years without a win. Since last seaso the spell does not resist. Deportivo, which is twenty seasons in the First Spanish Division, fight in the League with the purpose of avoiding relegation positions which is three points away. And it's not a bad year for Galician team, not at all: it is what it is. Subsistence economy and Miguel Angel Lotina acting as mother of large family, smiling in front of adversity.

Therefore, Real Madrid visit a team that gave up the money first and then the magic. Add the lows: Manuel Pablo, Saul, Valeron and Xisco (notice that nothing is superfluous). Join the statistics: one win in the last four home games (1-0 against Villarreal) and 21 goals scored (only Racing Santander has scored so few).

The outlook for Deportivo would be dark but there are signs of recovery, others would call green buds. Guardado appears recovered from a succession of muscular injuries that left him playing only half an hour in the last four months. Today he could play as starter. And apart from the muscles back together, what better sign that the goal of Aranzubía (Deportivo goalkeeper) in Almeria, the best episode to say that since it the novel changed.

While Deportivo lives calling good spirits, Real Madrid walks with giants tread. Only the closeness of the match against Olympique Lyon suggests a minimal risk. By exhaustion and concentration, or rather, by the relaxation that follows the maximum concentration. Mourinho is expected to oxygenate the team that played on Tuesday in the Champions League with Albiol, Marcelo and Lass, who will break Carvalho (presumably), Ramos and the injured Khedira. It would be logical that Benzema, impeccable in Gerland, keep the job, otherwise he will never know what to do to be a starter at Mourinho's Real Madrid.

The tone of the coachs words in the hours before, show the spirit of each. Lotina, skeptical and ironic joke with the possibility of fielding Aranzubía as striker and bragged of having beaten Mourinho, although it was a friendly match. Portuguese complained about the schedule, the privileges of others, rumors of signings. The soap opera had already said: "Rich also cry". A lot.


Riazor has an account to settle with Mourinho

Mourinho is not a beloved character in A Coruña. Real Madrid coach had a controversy with the blue and white fans in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final in 2004 and since then they are waiting for him.

Mourinho smiles in Riazor Stadium as Porto coach
Jose Mourinho 2004

In the first leg, Porto and Deportivo tied 0-0. In the Galician city it was conceived as a good result and had high hopes of being able to stand in the final. Mourinho did not like it and the day before the game said a message: "I see them very confident".

Porto won 0-1 and reached the final (ended up being champion). At the end of the match, the current white coach continued delving into the wound: "I told you, you were very confident" he said. This episode is not forgotten in La Coruña.

Jose Ramon Pena, president of the Deportivo's Fans Federation, is one who does not hide his disagreement with those comments: "I was quite upset. He is a provocateur. He should not have done it, although it is part of his theater. I am sure fans will be welcomed with whistles because people remember. It was a very important game in the history of Deportivo", he recalls.

Sergio Ramos; Real Madrid player until 2017

Sergio Ramos and Real Madrid have virtually ended the contract renewal agreement of Seville defender which will join him at the white entity until 2017. It is estimated that the player will charge around four and a half million euros per season. Once announced the continuity of the Spanish international player, Pepe could be the next.

Sergio Ramos as captain of Real Madrid heading a ball
Sergio Ramos

Jose Mourinho agrees with the idea of the club and believes that Ramos must be one of the pillars on which to base the team's future. The substitution in Cornella (vs Espanyol), for some people a coach's punishment according to the supposed anarchy of the defender, was just a break. No hard feelings. It was demonstrated against Levante and Olympique Lyon, where he started on the right side.

Sergio Ramos arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2005, after paying 27 million euros. His performance has not gone unnoticed by big European clubs, some of them willing to shell out more money than white club paid to Sevilla.

The last to knock Real Madrid's door asking for Ramos have been Chelsea and Milan. Especially tempting was the offer of the Italian team. Milan offered Pato, one of its most important players. Both teams received the same answer: Sergio is already like a shield.

The renewal agreement has not been made official because the club is still looking for the right time. Once announced the continuation of Spanish, will be the turn of Pepe. In the club there is absolute confidence that the Portuguese will extend his contract. Sergio Ramos and Pepe will remain the team's defensive base for many years.

Shimon Peres: "Real Madrid is a symbol of peace"

Real Madrid yesterday morning received the visit of Shimon Peres, President of Israel. Mr. Peres was received in Valdebebas by Florentino Perez and Butragueño who showed him some of the trophies of the club and presented him with a silver replica of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Then Mr. Peres greeted the team members. Walk the field, Mourinho was waiting him and on the grass Casillas was the first to greet him. "Nice to meet you, I admire you so much" confessed the Nobel Peace Prize 1994. "Pleasure to meet you is ours" replied the captain.

Shimon Peres with a Real Madrid jersey with his name and the number one of Casillas
Shimon Peres and Casillas

Then, after delivering him a Real Madrid shirt with the number 1 and his name, Casillas introduced one by one his peers. "Football has solved one of the biggest problems in our lives. Madrid is a symbol of peace. You fight without killing and without hate" he said.

The President of Israel who is visiting Spain, continued: "I want you to know the love all our children feel for Real Madrid. They want to be like you, you are like heroes. When they see you, their eyes light up. You are a very powerful team. A group that does not fight anyone, but to achieve a better world".


1,500 tickets remaining to see a full Riazor Stadium

Riazor Stadium does not vibrate as in the heyday of the Champions League, but there are days when it makes an exception and the visit by Real Madrid is an excellent excuse. Depor's stadium was friendly in the sixties, seventies and eighties, but changed with the arrival of "Superdepor". What does not vary is the expectation that the white club awakens in A Coruña, that will ensure that Riazor to fill for the first time this season and bind to hang the poster of 'No tickets'.

Riazor Stadium

Are about 1,500 tickets on sale. Tickets expected to sell in the next three days. The other offer, but more expensive, is the possibility of renting one of two VIP boxes with capacity for ten people which are still free.

All fans still have time to get the latest sale locations. Given the expectation that raises the white club, the Galician team put them on sale for just over three months and very reasonable prices. The price ranged between 45 and 90 euros.

This Deportivo-Real Madrid will be the 41st of the history, with a balance that is still favorable to the interests of the local team, even though the white team broke the Riazor's curse. Real Madrid spent 19 years without a win in A Coruña, but thirteen months ago won his eleventh victory in the league in Riazor.

Kaka: Second game without playing

As the season progresses, Kaka is losing opportunities to demonstrate his quality.The Brazilian adds two unreleased games in two weeks of competition. He plays, but the minor matches. On 13 February in Cornella-El Prat, he did not play a minute against Espanyol. On Tuesday, he did not step on the grass against Lyon at Gerland Stadium. Between these matches, he started against Levante (75 minutes). A game in which Mourinho was thinking about the Champions rotations. But Kaka is not convincing. Özil's shadow is too large.

He reappeared on 3 January after overcoming two injuries (meniscus in his left knee and groin injury), after 242 days of inactivity. This season he has played 378 minutes spread over 10 games. And added two goals: Real Sociedad and Villarreal. The Brazilian has the motivation to play the Copa America in Argentina with his national team in July, but he does not play for Real Madrid and that is a drawback.

Kaka training under Mourinho attention
Kaka and Mourinho

Blackburn. If last week Corinthians dreamed of signing Kaka, this week Blackburn Rovers has been interested in signing the Brazilian for next season, according to several British media suggest. The player, meanwhile, remains steadfast: "I want to succeed here".

His daughter will be born in April in Brazil. Carolina Celico, wife of Kaka, presumed of Hello! Brazil cover through Twitter. The couple also appears in the Spanish edition, but not cover (here are Piqué and Shakira). Kaka and Carolina pose pregnant for the cameras. Their future child will be born in Brazil in April, with full competition and Real Madrid in the Cup final.

Champions League (Last-16, 1st Leg): Mourinho reactions


Mourinho at Gerland Stadium
Jose Mourinho

"I feel we did more to win 2-0 than to draw 1-1, but this is nevertheless a good result because we'll play the return leg at our stadium before our fans. They have to help us reach the quarterfinals."

"It is very complicated to be a referee. You don't like it when a ref is late or misses something during the game, but certain situations are unacceptable. I saw a player touch the ball with his elbow 50 metres away and the ref, who was just 5 metres away, didn't award a penalty. This is the Champions League, a competition that showcases the best players, the best clubs and the best referees. None of the four refs on the pitch saw the handball. I hope it doesn't prove decisive at the end of the knockout stage. It would be very sad if it did."

"It's still open. Lyon are a very strong side with experience in Europe, so we can't think this is over. We earned a good result, that's it. They've proven to be a solid and competitive side away from home. I still believe either team has a 50% chance of reaching the next round."

"We've changed our history here tonight. Real Madrid had never scored here until today. They've never defeated Lyon in Madrid, so we want to change history yet again."

"Benzema took the pitch very well. I knew the first half would be tough and that there would be few spaces for us to attack in. There were more in the second half and Karim is a player who is very dangerous in open spaces. He scored a great goal that is very important to us. He is fit to be a starter at Real Madrid. He has made progress on all aspects of the game. I felt bad for benching him at the start because this was his homecoming, but it was better for him to come on in the second half."

Champions League (Last-16, 1st Leg): Benzema reactions


Benzema faced with Revelliere
Karim Benzema

"It was a very special game because it was my club and also for us was very important to score away from home", said Karim Benzema who scored the goal that advanced Real Madrid on the scoreboard and may be gold in the tie.

"I will work to score in every game. For us it was important score in Lyon and the resultis good. I hope the white fans will help us overcome this tie at the Bernabeu", he added.

It was, for French, emotionally intense crash: "In the field was all my family and I could make a goal. It was special".

Champions League: Last-16 (1st Leg)


Real Madrid came away with a 1-1 draw against Olympique Lyon at Stade Gerland in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16. The Whites played a fantastic second half that included two shots off the post and a penalty that went unseen by the referee. Benzema scored to give the Real the lead and Gomis knocked in the equalizer, but all will be decided in the second leg on 16 March in the Bernabeu Stadium.

Madrid celebrates Benzema's goal against Lyon

Early pressure by Lyon put the Madridistas in a bind. Nine players would retreat when they lost the ball, they prevented Madrid from circulating and they provoked one turnover after the next. Even then, Casillas’ only notable intervention came on 33’, when he got an elbow to a Gomis strike. Real Madrid created few opportunities before a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick that Lloris punched clear will little signs of trouble. The first half came to a close with a Lyon charge led by Bastos and Gomis, but Carvalho and Pepe managed to bring it to a quick halt.

An energized Madrid took the pitch for the restart and in no time wreaked havoc on the Lyon defense. Cristiano Ronaldo hit the left post with a free-kick on 48’ and one minute later Ramos’ header following a corner kick taken by Ozil struck the top of the crossbar. On 63’, the referee failed to call a penalty after a free-kick struck off the elbow of Delgado inside the Lyon box. Mourinho subsequently replaced Adebayor with Benzema and the move immediately paid off. The Frenchman stole the ball on the left flank and passed to Ozil, who then found Cristiano. The Portuguese international dumped the ball to Benzema, who withstood pressure from Reveillere and before going to the ground shoved the ball through the keeper’s legs and into the back of the net.

Both teams made changes following the goal. Lass replaced Khedira and Marcelo stepped in for Ozil, while Pjanic came on for Lyon and soon thereafter initiated the play that resulted in the equalizer. The Bosnian curled in a free-kick, the ball struck off Cris’ head and Gomis fired the deflection into the net. Lyon continued to pressure during the late stages of the match, but Madrid were organized and steadfast and managed to hold on to the draw with the second leg scheduled for 16 March at the Santiago Bernabeu.


Stadium: Gerland
Attendance: 40,200
Goals: 0-1, min. 65: Benzema; 1-1, min. 84: Gomis



Preview: Lyon vs Real Madrid

Lyon and Real Madrid shields
Lyon vs Real Madrid

At this exact moment, Tuesday, February 22, Champions League last-16 knockout round, Real Madrid could have come with the autopilot. In fact, reached this place in the last six seasons with different coaches: from Luxemburgo to Pellegrini. It is now that Mourinho should appear. It is now that the team has to differentiate and win the opponent that has not won in six games and fly with a drag less.

It does not seem so difficult and here lies the first difficulty. It did not seem dangerous Monaco, Rome, nor Lyon last season, which white fans hardly remember any of its stars. And against all, Real Madrid was defeated.

To correct this dark drift, Mourinho secretly prepares a team. In principle, it would be expected he will play with a triple pivot; with Lass, Xabi and Khedira, three very physical midfielders to slow the local push. In this case, Di Maria would be sacrificed and in front of the media line Cristiano and Özil would move with Adebayor as striker. Not a bad plan.

Another option would be to advance the position of Marcelo, cover his position with Arbeloa and dispense with one of the industrial pivot; Khedira or Lass. In any variant, Arbeloa, who rested against Levante, points to starter, either the left or to replace Sergio Ramos who five years later does not escape of his reputation; messy defense.

The tactical problem is not minor: Lyon last year accumulated up to four players in midfield and the movement of Madrid was collapsed, choked under pressure and without sides where relief (Marcelo was low). The result is that Makoun scored; 1-0.

Lyon will repeat the base of the last season team; Lloris, Réveillère, Cissokho, Toulalan, Delgado, Bastos, Källström and Bafetimbi Gomis. Add to them the aristocratic Gourcuff (signed by 26.5 million from Girondins). Yes, Lyon have improved substantially.

Lisandro is special case. He will miss the match for temporary insanity, annoyed by his replacement in the last league game, kick a ball with such rage that was injured. Despite the setback, Lyon is presented in the spirit of its last matches (1-4 at Saint-Etienne, 4-0 against Nancy). Two victories that kept team in the fight for the title, waiting to play the next day against the leader, Lille, four points ahead.

The game does not lack a grand stage. Gerland Stadium was built in 1920 by German prisoners of World War I and declared "historical monument" in 1967 by its archways. Moreover, conventional: 41,000 spectators and high humidity due to the proximity of the Rhone and Saone rivers, which converge at 700 meters from the field.


League (Day 24): Mourinho reactions

Jose Mourinho had nothing but kind words for his players following their 2-0 victory, which extends his personal home winning streak in league games to nine years.

Mourinho and Luis García

"I liked that my team played a serious match. These games ahead of Champions League matches can be complicated because players may focus more on the European competition. The team played well and was very focused."

"We knew Levante would make it tough. They were organized in defense, but we scored early and had things under control. Winning and resting players is what mattered."

"I like how Sergio Ramos and Benzema played. Cristiano always likes to play. He is fine from a physical standpoint and does not feel tired, so why should I take him out? A player can get hurt at any time. The risk is always there and we can't do anything about it."

"I started a team that I thought would be enough to win and we respected the opponent because we knew they had a solid defense. We had to be creative and dynamic, which is why I used four players in attack. I think it's only normal that I rest Xabi and Ozil, who will play the next match, when I still have other alternatives."

"Ever since we drew Lyon, we have been studying and learning about them. Real Madrid have two barriers to break down against Lyon. It's been years since Madrid made it through to the Last 16 and it's because they have never beaten Lyon. I would like to know if Lisandro, Briando or Delgado will be playing. We have to study all the possibilities and be prepared for anything and everything."

Spanish League: Day 24


Real Madrid breezed by a Levante squad more concerned about the drubbing they received earlier in the year in Copa action than leaving the Bernabeu with points in tow. Benzema scored on 7’ and Carvalho on 41’ and it was smooth sailing from there on out for the Whites, who pull within two points of the lead.

Carvalho celebrates his goal against Levante

With Tuesday’s Champions League match against Lyon fast approaching, Xabi Alonso and Ozil took the bench against Levante’s five-man back line. But little good did it do Luis Garcia’s men. Only six minutes in, Di Maria cruised past two defenders and curled in a low cross for Benzema to punch into the net. The chances continued to flow and Cristiano Ronaldo nearly scored twice but was stymied by Munua on both occasions.

Shortly before the break, CR7 sent in a powerful free kick that met Carvalho’s knee and put the Whites up by two. Levante on the contrary did little to disturb Adan, who had one of the calmest first halves of his career.

Not much changed after the restart. Cristiano nearly had the team’s third by way of a header but Munua got a hand to it to keep the game close. Ozil and Adebayor stepped in for Kaka and Di Maria on 75’ with the German needing little time to dazzle. His combination with Ronaldo almost proved fruitful, but it wasn’t the Portuguese international’s night. Levante meanwhile continued being no cause for concern for Adan.

Real Madrid move within two points of the lead with the win and now turn their sights to Tuesday’s Champions League match against Lyon.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabéu
Attendance: 65,000
Goals: 1-0, m.7: Benzema. 2-0, m.41: Carvalho.

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