Coentrao: Penalties, injuries and punishments

Coentrao started this season in order to confirm his great performance in the last European Championship after which, was included in the team of the tournament. But reality is still quite different from what is imagined. It was starting the 2012-2013 season and Coentrao has begun to live a nightmare. So, after playing the first two games of the season as a starter, the Portuguese left-back has seen as the penalties and Mourinho's punishments for lack of discipline have left him out of the fields the rest of the season. In fact, in the last nine games has only been on the bench in two of them (against Deportivo and Ajax). The rest of them have watched the match from the stands or on television.

Coentrao training with Real Madrid green jersey
Fabio Coentrao

And the worst moment has come with the injury last Friday in a meeting that Portugal played against Russia in Moscow. The left defender has already returned to Madrid to begin recovery of the injury (abductor) that will keep him one month away from the pitch.

Although the Portuguese coach does not forgive any of his misconducts (such as being late to training) and Coentrao has been already repeatedly punished for it, Mourinho has confidence on him. In fact, Mourinho himself has been in charge of ruling out that the defender player is going to leave Real Madrid in the winter market: "I think Coentrao can follow the steps of his friends (Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe) and become a great player with strong personality, so he will not be out in January".

Marcelo: "I want to make a full recovery"

Marcelo is now in Madrid after suffering a fracture in his fifth metatarsal of his right foot last Sunday while training with the Brazilian national squad in the vicinity of Wroclaw, Poland. The left-back is now feeling more motivated to overcome this difficult situation thanks to the numerous messages of support he has received from Madrid fans all over the world, to which he wants to reply with words of thanks via Real Madrid media: “I am so happy to get all these messages supporting me from the fans. I had no idea so many people cared so much about me and I am really grateful to everyone. I want to make a full recovery so that I can bring more joy to the fans ".

Marcelo injured attending the Real Madrid media

“I am going to do everything properly to return to play with the team”. Marcelo’s statement encapsulates the determination with which he is facing this most challenging moment of his career. He remains philosophical without losing his sense of humour: “This is not enough to get anyone down, least of all me. I am always a cheerful person. It’s happened, I can’t change it but now I have to work hard to get back to playing”.

The massive response of the Real Madrid fans to his injury is a source of pride and brings him even more strength: “I’ve seen the messages of support and I am very pleased. I had no idea so many people cared so much about me and I am really grateful to everyone. I want to make a full recovery so that I can bring more joy to the fans. Yesterday I was a little glum, but when I got home and saw my wife and child I felt a lot better. These things happen and you have to keep your chin up and keep going”.

This is a new experience for the Brazilian in his footballing life and he wants to move on as soon as possible: “I hope this will be the first and the last time it happens. I would not wish this on anyone. These things can happen during training or in a match and now what I have to do is do things properly so that I can get back on the team as soon as possible, If I keep my head up and don’t lose heart, my team mates and my family will help to me to get through this”.


The new Mourinho's left-backs

While Real Madrid doctors are working to reduce the recovery time of Marcelo and Coentrao, Jose Mourinho is working on alternatives to replace his two left-backs.

Jorge Casado Real Madrid TV interview
Casado (R.M.Castilla player)

The first option is to change the Arbeloa's position. The international Spanish player will change the 'chip' and think that next month will play left-back. The good thing for Mourinho is that the white defender has already played a lot in that position and has given guarantees. The trouble, forces to change the two sides of the defensive line and Sergio Ramos or Essien will have to fill the gap left by Arbeloa on the right wing. In principle, this would be the plan A.

The second option would be to choose Nacho, the youth squad player, to occupy the left side. The versatile Real Madrid Castilla defender also has played in more than once in the left side. In fact, his debut with Real Madrid in a Spanish league match was against Valencia, at the Mestalla Stadium in the season 10-11, and he played in that position. And had a good performance. With this variant, Mourinho has the opportunity to place Arbeloa on the right side so there would be only a change.

The last option, the more unlikely. Mourinho may bet on a natural leftie player to occupy the left-back position of Real Madrid; Casado. The Real Madrid Castilla player is having a great season with the youth team and said that "Nobody is happy with the injuries of the teammates. You can open more doors but I have no hurry. I'm ready but the Castilla is my team. If the coach calls me I will be there to help as I have done in other times. Both me and my colleagues are always ready", without forgetting that "No one has spoken to me. All happened suddenly, was a crazy weekend. Several times I have trained with the first team and the coach knows me. I will keep working, now I have the mind set on the next Saturday's match against Cordoba".


Mourinho: “We will be a team until the end"

The national teams’ commitments have pushed the inter-club competitions to the background this week while Jose Mourinho continues working. The Real Madrid coach revisited the team’s current situation during a press conference delivered to the club’s official media, making the following statements, among others: “In this team, statistics count even in friendly matches, which are sometimes more difficult to play and find motivation for, but people have always responded in a positive way. I used to think, and still do, that this responsibility is somehow part of the team’s brand image, that is, doing things right and feeling that in representing the Real Madrid, you cannot joke even in friendly matches”.

Mourinho at his office

Do you feel comfortable at your office in Valdebebas? It’s a very cosy…
Welcome to my home, welcome to Valdebebas. We’re all very close although it’s only temporary. Our hotel and the new facilities are almost done. In fact, we’ll be enjoying wonderful working conditions, but right now, here, we’ve got everything we need.

We’re at a competition standstill, with 19 international players overseas. How do you take advantage of time these days?
We do take advantage. We do things that later on are important. For example, right now I’m focusing on the Borussia Dortmund match, which I wouldn’t be able to do under normal conditions. If we played against the Celta this weekend, I’d be focusing only on the Celta. This week I’m working on the Borussia match with four players in the training sessions. We bring in junior players to try to give continuity to those who are not currently playing with their national teams. We work and make plans. This morning, for example, we held some meetings with the hotel managers to make some final arrangements. But I miss competition. You don’t work the same way.

Having 19 international players is very important for the Real Madrid?
It is important. It means that they are top-of-the-line players and that they are also important for their countries. Some of them who are not full-time starters between inverted commas at the Real Madrid are key players for their individual countries. I like them to go because it’s good both for them and their self-esteem. For instance, I’m immensely happy that Kaká has come back. For us it’s important. For the real coach who enjoys being one, as well as training and playing, these are tough weeks that stir up some doubt. You don’t know how they’ll return, what they’re doing, if they’ll be lucky during their matches, if they’ll come back feeling happy or less happy, if they’ll bring back some problems with them or not... When both matches are close –mainly when national teams’ matches are also on these weeks turn out rather complicated.


Marcelo: Three months out

Marcelo sustained a fracture in his right foot that will leave him away from the fields at least three months, so he was removed from the Brazilian team, reported the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) in a statement.

Marcelo injured at a hotel room

The Real Madrid left-back suffered a hit on Sunday while participating in training with the Brazilian team in the Polish city of Wroclaw which caused a fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot, as was observed in the examinations he underwent at a local clinic. According to the Brazilian team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, Marcelo will not play for Real Madrid or the Brazilian national team for a period of three months, so that the player may not be called until 2013.

Real Madrid also made a statement with the same information: "Marcelo, left flanker for Real Madrid, sustained a fracture in his right foot, according to information from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) in a press release. The injury happened to Marcelo this Sunday when he was participating in a training session with the Brazilian selection in the Polish city of Wroclaw. The Brazilian has fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, as was verified by examinations he underwent in a local clinic. The Real Madrid player, who returned to Madrid immediately, will be placed in the hands of the club´s medical services, who will check the extent of the injury and will determine the treatment to be followed by the player".

The left-back was playing for Brazil since the beginning of the week, was part of the team that thrashed 6-0 on Wednesday to Iraq and was considered a starter in the team that will face Japan on Tuesday. "I'll be back shortly. There is still plenty of time to return and participate in the Confederations Cup 2013" said the Brazilian player. "I leave the group knowing that the Brazilian team is evolving, the work is correct and the results will appear", he added.

Essien: “I can help Real Madrid winning the European Cup"

Essien is one of the new faces in Real Madrid’s squad for this new season, and just 45 days after his arrival in Madrid the Ghanaian player has looked back on everything that has happened in this time in an interview published on his own website (www.michaelessiengh.com). “Mourinho has not changed at all. He wants his players to work hard and always demands the best from them, that they give 100%. His ambition is still to win everything. He is a winner and that is not going to change. I have always got on well with him”, he added.

Michael Essien

The coach and the player already knew each other from their time together at Chelsea, something which Essien accepts made it easier for him to sign for Real Madrid: “It is no secret that José Mourinho has been a big influence on my career since he took me to England. He was kind enough to accompany me on a fundraising trip to Ghana when we were in Chelsea. So when he showed an interest in signing me for Real Madrid, I had no doubts about it at all. Of course I had to come to an agreement with Chelsea first, but once they agreed, everything started to move. One minute I was getting ready to play the Supercup in Monaco; the next I was packing my bags to move to Madrid. It was crazy, but that is what football is like. It looked like I was going to spend another season in Chelsea after a good preseason, but here I am, in Madrid. I never dreamt this would happen when I went back to work with Chelsea in July, but football is full of surprises and this is definitely one of them”.

Madrid’s new midfielder has come here after winning the Champions league with his old club, and is well aware that winning number ten is one his new club’s aims for this season: “Yes, I know, and I hope I can help Madrid to achieve this success. Apart from this achievement for the club and the city it would be a great personal achievement for me to win two consecutive Champions Leagues after winning it last year, so I will do my best to try to be part of this achievement”.

Essien had already competed in the Premier League with some of his team mates such as Carvalho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Modric, and he emphasised how easy it has been for him to settle in thanks to the rest of the squad: “Yes, I knew several of my team mates before coming here. Apart from those names, the other day Casillas reminded me that we had played against each other in the Meridian Cup in South Africa when we were 16 or 17. And I remember playing against Kaká in the Under-20 World Cup in Argentina. They have all been very supportive, even the team mates I did not know at all. We are a team in every sense of the word and training is always fun”.

“There are no easy matches at this level in Spain or in England. Every match I have played in or seen from the bench in Spain is one that we knew would be tough. I had not played regularly before signing for Real Madrid so I needed more games to get my rhythm and I am managing that. As long as I carry on training hard everything will be fine”, he said about his adaptation to the team’s style and to the competition in Spain.

The city has also pleasantly surprised Essien who has already discovered the affection of the Real Madrid family. “I have only been here for six weeks but I have been impressed by how affectionate and welcoming people are in Madrid and by the city in general. From the president and the coach, to the other players, the training staff and the fans, everyone has been friendly and welcoming. In Ghana we are proud of our hospitality, and Madrid is no different. It is great how they make you feel the same way here”, he said.

To conclude Essien spoke about his Foundation and the possibility of another charity match with stars from around the world playing African stars in Ghana: “We are looking into it and we will make a decision at the end of November. The Peace Match two years ago was a great success and we would like to do it again so we can raise more money for charitable work in Ghana. Some of the players who took part in April 2011 have already said that they would like to do it again, so we are working on it to make it reality. Also, the Foundation’s other projects are still running. We have taken on another 10 people in our training workshops and we are working on building a library with the money raised by the watch with my name on it”.
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