Real Madrid have been working their butts off under the "scorching" Chinese sun, all to prepare for their super-important friendly against Tianjin Teda.
Ok, so it hasn't been "scorching," exactly. More like "stormy and annoyingly humid."
But still, los blancos have been working their butts off, trying to ignite a "united spirit" among all of their players. According to Pepe "we have a great squad, and us Portuguese are helping Coentrão, as are everyone else. All of us Portuguese players, we like and hang out with everyone. We have the same structure as last year and we need to stay on this track."
This united spirit is actually a very important part of what Mourinho has been trying to inculcate into the team. Everyone needs to pick everyone else up--like warriors in battle, the Real Madrid players should back everyone of their brothers in the foxhole. It's great to see everyone adopting this mentality: it's the first step towards creating this us-against-the-world mentality that is so successful at motivating players to work through the system.
We're seeing players adopting this doctrine of a "united spirit" more and more this season: Kaká and Di María, for example, went together to an Adidas promotion event, while Mourinho took the canteranos out shopping. Cristiano Ronaldo has been enjoying practice more than at any other time (according to Marca), and Karim Benzema even referred to him as a "good friend on and off the pitch."
The only people that aren't having a good time are Nuri Sahin and Esteban Granero--both of whom are still sidelined with injuries. But never fear, they'll be back on the pitch soon to yuk it up with Mou and their band of brothers.
All of this reminds me of what Adam Bader referred to on our latest podcast: Mourinho cares about and thinks about all of his players, and especially the ones who aren't going through their best moments. That's why he has, apparently, been following Gonzalo Higuaín closely ever since Karim Benzema started scoring like a maniac (see video below): every time one Madrid striker starts doing well, the other one is inevitably embroiled in tons of speculation about possibly being transferred to Arsenal. But guess what? Higuaín is having none of it.
So, Madrid continue to work their buts off--just a group of brothers-in-arms fighting for each other in the foxhole. Oh, and Karim is still scoring: