Real Madrid 4 - 0 Celta Vigo (Spanish Cup, Last 16 2nd Leg)

Real Madrid qualified for the quarter-finals of the Spanish Cup. The Whites secured their comeback against Celta in a first half in which they gave a football master class. They had scored two goals with barely 24 minutes on the clock, both the work of Cristiano Ronaldo, enjoyed an infinite number of chances to increase their lead, had not had a shot on their own goal and even had another goal unfairly ruled out before the end of the first half. In the second half, and with 18 minutes of normal time remaining, the sending off of Sergio Ramos for two yellow cards complicated the matter of qualifying for the next round, but Madrid, who played for the second consecutive match with 10 men, once again demonstrated their class and pride. Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the performance with a counter-attack started by Higuain in the eighty-seventh minute to score his first hat-trick of 2013 and ensure qualification for the next round. Khedira, after an assist from the Portuguese, completed the rout in the eighty-ninth minute. Valencia await.

Real Madrid players celebrate a Cristiano Ronaldo goal
Real Madrid 4 - 0 Celta Vigo

Real Madrid faced a game of life or death at the Bernabeu. The team’s second of the season after the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona. Using the support of the Santiago Bernabeu, where they have been unbeaten for almost a year, as the foundation for the match, the Whites wanted to demonstrate their credentials from the moment they went out onto the pitch. In fact, in the third minute, and with their first shot on goal, they went ahead. A throw-in taken by Arbeloa arrived at the feet of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was two metres from the touch-line. The Portuguese advanced and surprised Sergio with a fierce shot struck with the venom the Portuguese normally puts into his shots on goal. 1-0. The Portuguese has started 2013 in sublime form (later his fourth and firth goals of the year would arrive in what is only the second game he has played) and with an extremely high level of confidence.

Real Madrid once again demonstrated that they were going for the jugular at the Santiago Bernabeu. Against Real Sociedad they took two minutes to score, today they needed only a minute more. Their control of the ball and aggressive pressing to regain it when Celta tried to play confirmed as much. The home side were now in control of the knock-out tie, but there was still a lot of the match to go. Cristiano Ronaldo once again took charge of removing any shred of doubt about the result in a move that was practically a carbon copy of that which led to the goal in Balaidos. On this occasion it was not Xabi Alonso but Modric who passed the ball over the defence. The Portuguese made the most of the gift from the Croatian, volleying quickly with his left foot in the twenty-fourth minute.

The third goal could have come eleven minutes later, but Özil could not beat Sergio in a one-on-one. However, the third goal did arrive in the next move of the match, but referee Ayza Gamez ruled it out for offside against Cristiano Ronaldo, who was clearly not ahead of the last man, depriving the Portuguese of his hat-trick after 36 minutes of the match. The first half saw the home side put on an exhibition. The Whites had scored two goals, enjoyed an infinite number of chances to increase their lead, had not had a shot on their own goal and even had another goal unfairly ruled out.

Xabi Alonso, who was accidentally hit on the neck by De Lucas on the stroke of half time stayed in the dressing room. Essien took his place on the pitch while Varane, Alonso’s substitute, played in the centre of the defence and Ramos on the right wing (after ten minute the Frenchman and the player from Seville switched positions). The team’s attitude did not change. Aware that a goal by Celta would take the clash to extra time, the Whites returned to the pitch intent on controlling the match.

De Lucas tested Casillas for the first time in the sixty-eighth minute, but the captain’s response could not have been better. The sending-off of Sergio Ramos for two yellow cards with 18 minutes of normal time left complicated the matter of qualifying for the next round of the cup, but Casillas was assured in goal and prevented the visiting side from scoring on two occasions. Real Madrid, playing for the second consecutive match with 10 men, once again demonstrated class and pride and ensured their qualification for the next round in the eighty-seventh minute with the hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo in a counter-attack started by Higuían. Khedira, after an assist by the Portuguese, completed the rout in the eighty-ninth minute. Valencia await in the quarter-finals.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 60,600
Goals: 1-0, m.3: Cristiano Ronaldo. 2-0,m.25: Cristiano Ronaldo; 3-0, m.90: Cristiano Ronaldo. 4-0, m.91: Khedira.


Jose Mourinho: Best Club Coach 2012

The Portuguese Jose Mourinho, coach of Real Madrid, has been appointed by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) best club coach of 2012, award that gets for the fourth time. Mourinho, who won the League and Spanish Super Cup, wins this award according to the vote on specialized media and experts. The second place is for the Italian Roberto di Matteo, who led Chelsea to victory in the Champions League and the fourth place is for the Spanish coach Josep Guardiola, who won the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) with Barcelona.

Mourinho at the Real Madrid bench
Mourinho: Best Club Coach 2012

Mourinho, who already took the award in 2004, 2005 and 2010, beat with Real Madrid the records of points and goals in the Spanish league and in the Champions League, the white team was defeated against Bayern Munich in the semifinals in a penalty shootout. The other coaches with more than a crown of best club coach are Marcello Lippi (1996 and 1998), Ottmar Hitzfeld (1997 and 2001), Carlos Bianchi (2000 and 2003), Sir Alex Ferguson (1999 and 2008) and Guardiola (2009 and 2011).

Di Matteo, already former Chelsea manager, also led the London club to win the FA Cup. The third place is for the Argentinian Diego Pablo Simeone, UEFA Cup champion and Europe SuperCup champion with Atletico Madrid, currently second in La Liga (Spanish League) after Barcelona. Simeone overcomes Guardiola in the list, who is in his year off after his time at Barcelona.

Best Club Coach 2012 List:
  • 1. Jose Mourinho (POR/Real Madrid) 101 points
  • 2. Roberto Di Matteo (ITA/Chelsea) 99
  • 3. Diego Pablo Simone (ARG/Atlético de Madrid) 97
  • 4. Josep Guardiola (ESP/Barcelona) 82
  • 5. Tite (BRA/Sao Paulo) 61
  • 6. Jupp Heynckes (GER/Bayern Múnich) 40
  • 7. Alex Ferguson (ESC/Manchester United) 27
  • 8. Jürgen Klopp (GER/Borussia Dortmund) 15
  • 9. Marcelo Bielsa (ARG/Athletic Club) 12
  • 10. Roberto Mancini (ITA/Manchester City) 11


Jose Mourinho has confidence in Antonio Adan

Iker Casillas will occupy the goal of Real Madrid tomorrow against Celta in the Spanish Cup and on Saturday against Osasuna (Spanish League, Day 19). But it will not for long. For the next match, against Valencia, on Wednesday, January 16th in Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Spanish Cup competition if Whites defeat Celta, or on Sunday, January 19th at Mestalla in League match, Mourinho has decided that Antonio Adan will return to the starting lineup.

Antonio Adan and Iker Casillas during a Real Madrid match
Antonio Adan and Iker Casillas

Yesterday the coach showed immune to sonic blast that some fans of the Bernabeu Stadium gave him when his name was announced over the loudspeaker, in what is the most obvious mismatch between the Portuguese and the Real Madrid fans to date. Mourinho has very clear what he wants and as has told his closest staff, is not going to doubt when it comes to making decisions that considers more beneficial for the team.

Mourinho defends himself: "I can not do anything. If people do not want to understand that basically the only problem I have with Casillas is that he is not in shape. The relationship does not care", he says. He only wants Casillas to save the rival shots and he is not doing it. Or not as well as before. While, Mourinho gave as an example the third goal from Xabi Prieto, a diagonal shot to the right hand from the side of the smaller area. The coach emphasized that the goal showed a Casillas out of shape in his specialty, the one on one. "But this decision has not to annoy Iker Casillas or the fans. I do it out of conviction", Mourinho says.

Mourinho does not see Casillas at good level and thinks he needs a goalkeeper in order to have competition and play his best every matchday. It is not new. Goes way back. In fact, this summer was one of the points of disagreement with the club in terms of signings, together with Lucas Moura.

The coach managed good reports of several goalkeepers to motivate Iker; among them were Roberto Jimenez (Zaragoza) and Andres Fernandez (Osasuna). Even David De Gea, remote option because Mourinho was searching for an intermediate level goalkeeper between Casillas and Adan. Mourinho has never hidden the need to promote competition and showed it on Sunday at the press conference: "I do not like to be always in the comfortable position of being a hero forever, regardless of my performance. So if the fans think I am not working according to their wishes, is OK".

Casillas, meanwhile, tries to keep the peace, he works to regain his place in the starting lineup and is aware that does not go through his best moment and remains in his role as captain, above all, looks after the interests of the group. So zero conflicts, as demonstrated in the press conference that started the Real Madrid year: "I'm not a machine, there are better and worse times, but I feel good and I train to regain a place on the field. Then the coach decides. I have a colleague who is also a friend, a ten as a person. Adan has our full support and confidence. Real Madrid is above Casillas". Impeccable.

But Iker believes that Mourinho's decision is a personal matter. Against the permanent comfort argument, Casillas has been awarded the last six seasons as goalkeeper for the best team of the year so he can not agree. In addition nor Silvinho Louro (does not speak with him for two months) neither Mourinho have congratulated him for the award as best goalkeeper in the world that awarded the IFFHS.

The relationship between captain and coach, rather than cold, is icy. It is an open secret. Florentino Perez looks with concern to this break, which threatens to blow up the peace in the locker room when approaching the critical stage of the season. From the club, yesterday insisted that "the decision of Mourinho, though risky, is what we have to abide. We were not expecting this, but we understand that we can not take part by none other than the coach."


Real Madrid 4 - 3 Real Sociedad (Spanish League, Day 18)

A classy Real Madrid display of pride in the first match of the year. The match could not have been more exciting. Seven goals, two sending-offs and three shots against the woodwork, all for the home team, speaks for itself. Benzema put the Whites ahead and Xabi Prieto, after converting the penalty for which was Adan was unfairly sent off in the fifth minute, levelled the match. Khedira, with a nice backheel, put the Whites ahead again and Xabi Prieto, who scored three goals for the visitors, levelled the scoreboard once more. The second half was saw a great display by Jose Mourinho’s team and was controlled by a physically imperious Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a brace in just two minutes to clinch the match. Higuain made his return to the field and the Whites were able to maintain their advantage and offer a valuable win to their fans as a gift on Three Kings Day. The Bernabeu gave an ovation for the display of class and pride from their team.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his second goal against Real Sociedad
Display of pride and a Cristiano Ronaldo brace

Real Madrid began 2013 with only one aim in mind: to win and find the style of play and the results that brought them last season’s record breaking league title. They soon showed their intent. It only took two minutes for them to take an early lead. The pressure that caused the visitors to lose the ball speaks volumes of the hunger with which Real Madrid have started the year. Cristiano Ronaldo, wearing the captain's armband, won the ball, and passed to Khedira who played Benzema through to beat Bravo in a one-on-one. 1-0 with the first shot on goal. The match could not have begun better for the home team.

The joy did not last long. On five minutes Carlos Vela was brought down by Adan in the area and the referee Iglesias Villanueva gave a penalty and unfairly sent off the Whites’ goalkeeper. Callejon was sacrificed so that Casillas could be brought onto the field in the 7th minute. The Real Madrid captain failed to stop the spot kick that was masterfully taken by Xabi Prieto and the match was level again, although the Whites would have to play more than 85 minutes with ten men. The goal seemed to have affected Real Madrid for a few moments, but it soon passed.

They got back to showing off the traits that have led to the club being so admired around the world: class, pride, boundless dedication and continued effort until they are exhausted. It was the home team who once again went ahead on the scoreboard. A corner taken by Ozil was partially cleared by the Real Sociedad defence and the ball fell to Carvalho, who volleyed towards goal. Khedira was standing in the line of the shot and clipped it with his heel to score in the 35th minute. A great match from German midfielder, who had got the assist for the first goal and emulated the legendary Di Stefano goal against Atletico for the second. But, as happened with Benzema’s opening goal, Real Sociedad levelled the match again five minutes later. Xabi Prieto, who took advantage of a ricochet in the area to beat Casillas, again took the lead role. It could not have been a more exciting first half: four goals, a sending-off ... and a shot against the post in the last passage of play. Ozil started the counterattack and Benzema was the player who crashed his shot against the woodwork.

Real Madrid were determined to hide the fact that they were a man down in the second half and their dominance was devastating. Real Sociedad seemed surprised and the Whites, with a physically imperious Cristiano Ronaldo, were close to scoring a third on several occasions. A shot from Portuguese in the 54th minute forced Bravo to show his best. The goal came in the 68th minute and the Portuguese was the architect. The assist from Benzema and a perfect finish from the Whites’ top scorer. His exhibition did not end there. Two minutes later he was brought down on the edge of the area. His confidence was so high that when he placed the ball to take the direct free-kick he already knew it was going in. The way that the ball hit the underside of the crossbar before going in made the home team’s fourth goal look even better.

Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s two goals came another moment of happiness. Higuain, who replaced Benzema, made his return to the field to a thunderous ovation from the Bernabeu. The Argentine came close to scoring with his first touch of the ball but his shot came back off of the crossbar. He could have sealed the match with that play, but immediately afterwards the gap was closed. A Chory Castro pass in behind for Xabi Prieto which he once again finished well in the 76th minute: 4-3. Three minutes later, Estrada was sent off. The scales were balanced at ten players per team for the closing stages and the Whites were able to maintain their advantage and offer a valuable win to their fans as a gift on Three Kings Day. The Bernabeu gave an ovation for the display of class and pride from their team.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 70,000
Goals: 1-0, min. 2 , Benzema. 1-1, min. 8, Xabi Prieto (pen). 2-1, min. 35 Khedira. 2-2, min. 39, Xabi Prieto. 3-2, min. 68, Cristiano Ronaldo. 4-2, min. 70, Cristiano Ronaldo. 4-3, min. 76, Xabi Prieto.
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