Casillas: Mourinho is a big part of the success of the last few years

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Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas spoke to the press on Tuesday, coming to Jose Mourinho’s defense saying that the Portuguese coach has played a huge role in the success of Los Blancos since his arrival.

Captain of both club and country, Iker Casillas took the time to speak out about the recent controversy surrounding the Real Madrid coach as he displayed his newest Adidas gloves and boots, which will make their debut against Atletico de Madrid on Saturday. “I believe that much of the success of Real Madrid is because of Mourinho. We have had pretty good seasons and I think it’s unfair to him.

“To the best coach in the world, you’re responsible too for a lot and maybe that’s the problem he has,” Casillas said. “Like he’s said before, he had a new team, a young team; three years ago Ozil, Di Maria, Cristiano, Sergio, were only twenty-something, and now they have about three seasons of more experience.”

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New Barça book reveals never-before-seen photos inside dressing room

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Barça: Orgullosos de Nuestros Colores (Barça: Proud of Our Colors), contains an extensive collection of photos of the first team never available to the public.

In Spanish journalist Ricard Torquemada’s second book about the Catalan football giants, he chronicles former coach Pep Guardiola’s last season in charge at the club, including Barcelona’s Champions League exit as well as snippets from the beginning of current manager Tito Vilanova’s reign.

The book contains exclusive photos of players inside the dressing room after falling to Chelsea 3-2 in the semifinal of the competition. Andres Iniesta, and Lionel Messi are seen disappointed in their side’s performance while the club’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is pictured trying to console Cesc Fabregas.

The team had the chance on Tuesday to flip through the 204 page book, which hits stores on Friday and will be available in English, Spanish, and Catalan. Torquemada collaborated with official club photographer, Miguel Ruiz, in narrating the last year of the Guardiola era.

The photos from the book can be found here.

This article was originally published on on Nov. 28, 2012.

Isco and Courtois among Golden Boy Award finalists

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Italian sports daily, Tuttosport, announced Thibaut Courtois and Isco as two of the three finalists for its tenth annual Golden Boy award.

The Golden Boy award, which honors one active footballer in a first division European club under the age of 21, will be presented to one of three contenders which include Isco (Málaga CF), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), and Stephan Al Shaarawy (AC Milan).

Isco, who plays as an attacking midfielder for the Andalusian club, has been an instrumental part of the team’s success this season with 20 starts and five goals, two of which in the Champions League. The 20 year old was also named the La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year 2012.

20-year-old Belgian international, Thibaut Courtois was loaned to Atletico Madrid from Chelsea in the summer of 2011 and has since become the first choice keeper for Los Colchoneros after the departure of David De Gea. This past August, Courtois faced off against his former club and walked away victorious as Atletico Madrid defeated Chelsea in a 4-1 win in the European Super Cup.

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Javi Martínez: Valencia are more dangerous

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In an interview with his club, Bayern Munich defensive midfielder Javi Martinez  spoke of the team’s Champions League clash with Valencia on Tuesday saying Los Che are stronger than when they visited Munich two months back.

Although Bayern Munich defeated Valencia 2-1 in September, the former Athletic Club de Bilbao man addressed his side’s concerns ahead of their away match at the Mestalla tomorrow stating, “They were in a trough when they came to Munich two months ago, but they’re on a roll now. And they’ve beaten Borisov twice. They’re a dangerous team.”

“Valencia is a very good, balanced team with a number of excellent individuals. They’ve had to sell lots of big names in recent years, the likes of Villa, Silva, Mata, Albiol, Marchena and Jordi Alba, but despite that, they’re always there or thereabouts near the top, routinely fighting for third or fourth place in the ‘other league’ beneath the dominant pair of Barcelona and Real Madrid.”

Martinez also touched on the challenge that fellow Spanish international, Robert Soldado will present to Bayern.

“He’s a very agile striker, his movement is good, and he can score at any time. He has plenty of goals to his name already. I think he’s the heart and soul of Valencia.”

During Bayern’s press conference today, Martínez remained supportive when asked about former teammate, Fernando Llorente, and his struggles at Athletic.

“I know Fernando is not doing well. He has been through tough times and I can only encourage him to change his situation.”

This article was originally published on on Nov. 20, 2013.

Arbeloa: We rely on ourselves to advance to the round of 16

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Real Madrid defender Álvaro Arbeloa was optimistic after the 2 – 2 Champions League draw with Borussia Dortmund Tuesday night saying “the important thing is to pass to the knockout stage. That’s everyone’s goal.”

The 29-year-old, who played at left back against the Bundesliga champions, spoke in the mixed zone of his errors, including an own goal, in the match noting “[Marco] Reus had overtaken me by half a meter and these types of players can overtake you for 90 minutes. In the second, the midfielder [Mario Götze] came from behind.”

The Spanish international remained positive in regard to his side’s performance, saying, “We had more control than we did in Dortmund. They were very lucky; they had two good chances and scored two goals. They did not create much danger.  Seeing that City did not win, the tie is not bad.”

“It costs something to play at left after so long and I have not fully recovered from injury but with so many injuries, there aren’t many options.”

Arbeloa also took the time to address the recent controversy over his words last Saturday about the Real Madrid youth system.  After saying that not all youth players are worthy of playing for the first team, he clarified by saying “The other day I did not express myself as well as I wanted. To play for Real Madrid is complicated and for the homegrown players, it is even more pronounced.”

“My words were not an attack on the youth system because the first that suffered [through it] was me. My last intention was to attack. The players support Mou to the death.”

“Over the years I understood that being a canterano is not doing the minimum. It is doing more because playing for Real Madrid is very difficult for everyone and for them even more. The important thing is that we are united and away from outside noise.

“I am old enough to say what I think. All the same, it would have been more important for my image to keep quiet.”

This article was originally published on on Nov.7, 2012.