This past Euro has been special for Real Madrid players and fans. The amazing level displayed by Arbeloa and Coentrao has muted a lot of critics. Furthermore our players have shined with their assists, goals and man of the match awards earned.
Here is a report card of the 11 players that participated in the EURO 2012
Karim Benzema: The cat was the first one of the eleven Madridistas to pack his bags. Although Karim did not score, he was key to France advancing onto the next round. A 2-0 defeat against who he called “the best team in the world” ended his dreams of achieving the title. Karim was one of the only six players to play all 4 games the French national team disputed. He assisted two of France’s three goals and took a total of 19 shots in 4 games.
The cat was not able to meow mainly because of the performance of his team as a whole. Rumored fights split up the team and les Bleus were not as intimidating as history portrays them to be. Nonetheless, Karim left with his chin up but lacking at least the one goal he promised Pitina.
Pepe: The key player in the Portuguese defense and a leader to his teammates. Despite being a CB, Pepe only committed two fouls in the 5 games he played and he was only booked once. Is anyone else having second thoughts about that bad fame that hunts him?
On top of becoming an almost, impenetrable wall, Pepe scored Portugal’s first goal in the EURO. A header in the 24th minute against Denmark put Portugal ahead in the game. 4 years ago, Pepe also scored Portugal’s first goal of the tournament. He is, perhaps, their very own “ketchup bottle opener”. His performance against Denmark earned Pepe the man of the match award.
Pepe demonstrated game after game how solid he is in defense and he is considered by many to have been Portugal’s star of the tournament (with all due respect to the CRack).
Fabio Coentrao: More than one fell in love with the blondie during this tournament. His passion for the Portuguese jersey was shown from minute 1. After suffering a 1-0 defeat against Germany in the first game of the tournament, Fabio left the pitch in tears. He has stated that he plays differently with Portugal because the pressure is different than the one he experiences with Real Madrid.
Coentrao got the attention of critics with his performances as his performances were highly rated. Fabio made it to the UEFA’s ideal XI of the group stage alongside Cristiano Ronaldo representing Portugal. Although Cristiano’s presence in this ideal XI was not a shock to anyone, Fabio’s presence was a rather pleasant surprise, although very, very deserved.
Fabio assisted once, picked up two bookings and took three shots in the tournament. 11 tackles, 11 interceptions and 9 clearances were his contribution to the solid Portuguese defense. Unfortunately for Fabio, his great effort added up to nothing when he was sent home by the Spaniards following the penalty shoot outs which sent him in tears.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Without a doubt, Cristiano is Portugal’s leader and as such, he lead the team all the way to the semi finals thanks to his goals and assist. Cristiano sent home the Netherlands with a brace and it gave the Portuguese yet another reason to dream about being the European Champions. However, Cristiano and company were sent home by Spain in a penalty shoot out, the cruelest way possible. Cristiano did not get a chance to shoot a penalty but he was still received as a hero upon his arrival in Lisbon.
Cristiano’s journey in this Euro did not start the best way possible. No matter where he is, he has the pressure of being the best player in the world and because of the position in which he plays, this must translate into goals for the media. Portugal lost against Germany in the first game but Cristiano attempted more than any other player on the pitch. 4 shots and 2 on target although he did not get his prize. Against Denmark, Portugal won 3-2 but Cristiano did not score. Again, he shot more than anyone else (6 times) but without the goal, the critics were not going to stop.
The day Cristiano silent the critics came on game 3. It was Cristiano Ronaldo Junior’s birthday and father’s day. Just in case Cristiano was not motivated enough, he had yet another reason to tell the world media to keep CALMA and trust him. Cristiano scored two goals against the Netherlands and he even had time to hit the bar twice. A world class performance by the best player in the world sent the dutch packing. Cristiano took 12 shots, 4 of them on goal, scored twice and hit the post twice. It was all dedicated to his son, of course.
“Junior, Pai te ama, Parabens :)” – Junior, daddy loves you, happy birthday (congratulations)
In the semi-finals Cristiano faced Cech’s Republic. The 8 shots he took in the game translated in one goal and two more shots that hit the post. Cristiano sent Portugal to the semifinals and kept the dream alive. Man of the match for the second time and on top of the world.
Cristiano’s journey in the Euro ended with a penalty shoot out. Unfortunately for him and his teammates there was a Saint on the other side that did not allow them to reach the finals. Cristiano attempted to score 7 times although none of his shots were on target. Injusticia.
Sami Khedira: The Danza Kuduro made it all the way to the semifinals. The world’s eyes were constantly on Sami and it looks like he may no longer be underrated. A lot of people were shocked by his performance and he was one of the best players in Germany throughout the tournament.
Sami Khedira has been called by Kicker magazine “the new boss”. One of the reasons may be for his ability to make the rivals dance to Danza Khedira. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…6!
Sami Khedira is not only a brain to any team, his game is also extremely hard working and believes in fair play. Why do I say this? On average, Sami Khedira ranks in the top 3 of players who run the most in a given game. Furthermore, Sami left the Euro without committing a single foul. Not one.
Haters, be quite.
Sami along with Mesut and Schweinsteiger form, arguably, the best midfield in the world today. Sami scored a beautiful goal for Germany against Greece in the quarterfinals but was not able to make any assists.
Note aside, another person surrounding Sami in this Euro got a lot of camera time. His girlfriend, Lena, attended every single game with the number 6 German jersey. The beautiful model is rumored to be marrying Sami within the next couple of months. They arrived together and left together.
Mesut Ozil: Avatar eyes earned two man of the match awards in this Euro and he scored one goal that briefly gave Germany hopes of reaching the final. Mesut, despite being only 23 years old, was arguably Germany’s best player throughout the tournament.
One goal, three assists, zero bookings, eight shots and an 88.7% success rate in passing were Mesut’s numbers in the five Euro games he played. Unless Silva achieves an assist in the final or Pirlo achieves two, Mesut will the the Euro’s top assister alongside Silva and Arshavin with three each.
Mesut and Germany were sent home by Italy in a game that no German will want to remember. Although Mesut was the best player on his side, this is no consolation for a player who without a doubt, will be fighting to be the Balon D’Or in the next year or two.
He did not play a single minute
Alvaro Arbeloa: One of the three Real Madrid players to play every single minute of this Euro possible. The espartano was criticized before the Euro even started and he responded well. He was picked by the UEFA in their ideal XI for the group phase.
The number of goals conceded by Spain may point at Del Bosque getting it right by starting Alvarito.
Xabi Alonso: The most elegant brain known to humanity. Xabi Alonso’s passes were key for Spain throughout the tournament. Xabi had almost a 90% success rate of passes.
Xabi earned a man of the match award against France as both of the Spanish goals came from him. A header and a penalty allowed Spain to reach the semifinals. Although Xabi missed a penalty against Portugal, it did not affect Spain and they still made it to the semifinals and went on to win the whole tournament.
Sergio Ramos: He played all minutes with Spain and he was very solid in the back. At a young age he has become the leader in the Spanish defense and he is Iker’s biggest allied.
Perhaps the moment everyone will remember is Sergio Ramos’ cheeky penalty kick against Portugal. It made his mom want to slap him. She said it, not me. A penalty worthy of giving the fans a heart attack, definitely.
Sergio Ramos made it to the top 5 players of the Euro alongside Iker, Iniesta, Pirlo and Buffon.
Iker Casillas: I don’t even know where to begin. Saint Iker is called Saint Iker for a reason. Against Croatia, he had 2 miraculous saves. Here is the picture of one of them:
He also stopped a penalty against Moutinho to send Spain to the finals
Nothing I can say about this man will ever do justice to what he has done for Spain. Without a doubt, the player of the tournament. In the final, he denied Italy amazingly at least four times. After winning, while the rest of his teammates were euphoric, Iker stepped aside to greet each and every single one of the Italian players.
Nothing anyone can say, will ever do justice to describe the greatness of Saint Iker Casillas.
I will leave it at this: A 11 out of 10
REAL MADRID: A++
This is the first time in the history of the Euro that 5 Real Madrid players reach the final
Real Madrid had the most players in semi-finals (10) and the second most amount of players competing in the tournament (11) after Bayern Munich.
Goals: 8 = Cristiano x3, Xabi Alonso x2, Ozil, Khedira & Pepe x1
Assists: 6 = Ozil x3, Benzema x2, Coentrao x1
Man of the Match awards: 7 = Ozil v Portugal, Pepe v Denmark, Cristiano v Netherlands, Cristiano v Czech Republic, Ozil v Greece, Xabi Alonso v France, Sergio Ramos v Portugal