Sunday, March 28, 2010

My First Time Being Interviewed

Some weeks back, Murali Krishnan, also known in the blogosphere as 'Just Another Madridista', flattered me by asking to interview me for an interview series in his blog, Hala Madrid!! with an impressive roster of Real Madrid Bloggers which included Siddarth from Los Merengues.com as well as Corey and Bassam from Real - The Offside. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience as Real Madrid is indeed my favorite subject of conversation. You can catch the original post here... or read the interview below.
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Hey Mark. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m 30 years old, getting married this May (to a Liverpool Fan so you call can imagine how much stick I got from her during our elimination last season in the Champions League). I’m a Filipino of Chinese Descent living in Singapore and an Architect by profession.
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I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines – a Basketball-crazy nation: which makes my love for football and Real Madrid a sort of strange thing for someone of my nationality. I played a little bit of the sport (football) until I was about 12 then I stopped and became basketball-crazy like the rest of the country. With no natural athletic ability to speak of however, I eventually became more of an ‘armchair sports fan’: more keen to analyze tactics, strategy as an ‘outsider’.
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Sometime late in my University years however, I began the odd habit of catching replays of La Liga Matches on TV (which mostly showed Real Madrid in their galactico days)… the interest in the sport sparked again. In 2004, I left Manila for Singapore to make my Master’s Degree, arriving here at the fever-pitch state of Euro 2004. In Singapore, I found a football-crazy country to start up a true love affair with the beautiful game.
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Sadly in Singapore however, the interest on the sport has a blind obsession for English Football (EPL) and a disturbing ignorance for the things that happen beyond it. With Live La Liga games (nevermind the unGodly hours) on TV and being in the age of Internet Streaming matches however, my passing Interest with Real Madrid became true Love as well.
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Madridista Mac has become a household name in the blogosphere as far as Madridistas are concerned. How long have you been blogging?
I wouldn’t call it a household name but I’m very flattered its considered by some as that. I’ve been blogging since about 2004-2005. It started out as just a personal thing. It didn’t take long for me to realize how stupid the idea was as I asked myself the question of who am I that people would be interested with what happens in my personal life? Why would you wanna publish a ‘censored diary’ on the net anyway? hahaha…
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Madridista Mac started at about 2007 with the intention that it would only be my personal repository of youtube links to Real Madrid goals and highlights…. something for me to go back to if I wanted to recall how certain matches took place. Then every now and then I’d post a thought or 2. Sometimes people would comment and that basically served as motivation to take the blog further. I started following the blog of Corey Fiske of the Real Madrid Offside as well as the now-defunct-but-great The Real Liga. In Corey’s blog, I absolutely enjoyed the discussions and the forum: creating a much bigger buzz about Real Madrid in my head. That buzz turned into articles and commentaries which are now the posts on my blog. Not long after, I was given the opportunity to participate in the Real Madrid Talk podcast with Corey, Kevin Walker from the OwnGoalNetwork and Adam Bader of Real Madrid Talk in Ole Ole.. that just got me more motivated to keep at it.
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I still struggle with consistency given that I work in a profession where working 12-16 hours a day is normal. But I still try…
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Why did you choose Real Madrid?
There is a one word answer to that question: Zidane
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As someone who followed the sport casually (only watching the big tournaments like the World Cup), I began following the sport more closely when Ronaldo was the game’s true phenomenon. You could imagine my shock then when I watched in horror as a bald Frenchman named Zidane destroyed Brazil in the ‘98 Final. I hated him for that.
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When my passing interest in Real Madrid started, I discovered that Ronaldo and Zidane were actually teammates! It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was watching a true God of the Sport at that point. It was because of Zidane that I learned that football was about more than scoring goals (an essential thing for a basketball fan used to see 100 points scored in a game to convert to the more low-scoring game of football).
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Interestingly, I do not fit the Marketing Man’s profile of the asian football fan: they say that asian fans are loyal to the players and not the clubs. I remained loyal to Real Madrid ever since. I followed and supported Real Madrid from the last dark days of the galacticos, Calderon’s rise, his 2 La Liga titles, his fall… down to our now-annual Champions League Failures and onto today’s Florenteam.
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Which would be your most memorable and most forgettable Real Madrid moment?
Memorable Moments:
The most memorable would have to be the La Liga Campaign where we won La Liga #31 with Capello (or was that number 30?). There were some great moments then, I really loved the fighting character of that Real Madrid team (nevermind their style):
-Pipita’s winning goal vs. Espanyol
-Ruud’s clutch goals vs. Zaragosa & Barca faltering on the second to the last day
-The ‘final’ vs. Mallorca.
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There was Zizou’s last game at home vs. Villarreal… I stood and applauded him too as he made his way off the pitch. Nevermind that I was watching it on the Tele.
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And of course – The day we beat Barca 4-1 at home where the match started with their honor guard for us: a Total Feel Good Moment.
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Forgettable Moments:
-Barca’s 2 super-impressive victories against us at the Bernabeu… the first was when Ronaldinho destroyed us enroute to that 0-3… and the last one being the 2-6. Those games made me feel utter shame.
-Calderon’s Corruption Scandals and Gaffes
-Alcoronzo and last season’s similar elimination to a 3rd division side at the Copa Del Rey.
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If you were to pick an all time best Real Madrid XI, name the players who would make the cut.
—————- Casillas ——————-
Salgado-Hierro-Ramos-Roberto Carlos
——— Zidane-Makelele-Figo ————
Brazilian Ronaldo-Van Nistelrooy-Raul
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I didn’t include any players in the ‘eras’ before I started watching Real Madrid or before I started consistently watching Madrid play. That would be the reason for the absence of the likes of Don Alfredo, Puksas and our club’s endless list of legends.
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Who would be your all-time favorite Real Madrid manager and why?
Vicente Del Bosque: He kept the galactico egos under control to play sexy football and win trophies. He’s Real Madrid born and bred, too. God put him on this planet to be Real Madrid’s manager. Unfortunately, Florentino thought he was God.
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What are your thoughts on the current season?
There are of course dissappointments, bitter ones inclusing ‘Alcorconzo’ and ‘Lyonazo’.. but overall, I like how the team is shaping up and developing its style as an aggressive, offensive, high-scoring one: I love the vertical football. Looking at the bigger picture and back at my expectations at the start of the season, I honestly did not expect Champions League glory (but did expect to get past the last 16) and was even skeptical about La Liga given how good this Barcelona are… so I’m happy to see us right there with them with the chance to nick it.
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Player of the season, so far?
I have 4:
1.) Cristiano Ronaldo – His arrival as the World’s Most Expensive Player and his stellar play (and controversial behavior) has brought the eyes of the world upon Real Madrid once again His arrival put us on course to, as Florentino so eloquently said “regain our rightful place in the world again”
2.) Gonzalo Higuain – The counterpoint to Ronaldo: A Calderon signing who seemed to enter through the backdoor of Madrid in a non-descript winder transfer but now with more than 20 goals and counting. Unglamorous, sheer effort and graft and given his age when he arrived, someone I consider to be ‘half-homebred’. He’s my current favorite Real Madrid player.
3.) Xabi Alonso – It seems clear that he’s the key for us to play well as a team. Every disastrous game is marked by his absence or poor play.
4.) Sergio Ramos – Looks nothing like the sluggish, off-the-pace, reckless and careless player we saw last season. Great at Rightback thus far this season and amazing at the Center too.
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What are your thoughts on the upcoming Clasico?
A Must-Win Game. Also a Must-Win-Emphatically match. A well-played victory against Barca can exorcize the demons of Alcorconzo and Lyonazo… and cement our hold on La Liga. It will prove our team’s level of growth if we can convincingly beat a team of that level… that they are Barca and they are THIS Barca is very critical. A convincing victory against them just might allow me to see my hopes of Pellegrini retaining his job to come true. A well-played match by Kaka and Pipita will find them turning the corner in the eyes of the at-times demonic Madrid Press too!
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What about the title race for the league?
If we keep up the level of growth that we’re in, it should see us beat all those before us… and with Barca still in the Champions League, the chance for them to get distracted and drop points is a realistic possiblity: a win at El Clasico can end up winning us the title practically.
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I’ve asked everyone this question. Anyone whom you’d like to see wear the White of Real Madrid next season?
-Gonzalo Higuain – It’s been a nightmare to be a witness to all these rumors about selling him. It would be a mistake of galactically (or galactico) stupid proportions to sell him. It’s still possible at the moment though! I hope for him to sign an extension and be there to play an instrumental role to win La Decima
-A Good Left Back (can’t think of anyone at the moment) to allow Marcelo to become that winger we all claim we don’t have.
-Central Midfield help to assist / be a sub for Xabi Alonso. Guti is not a 90 minute player anymore and Granero has been dissappoiting thus far. Forget Gago while both Diarras are water carriers. If we are to sign super players, it should be at left back or in this position…. for this position, galactico-level players in mind include Cesc and Gerrard (both are mere wet dreams of course)… I love Michael Essien too.
-Alvaro Negredo. While Ronaldo is an all-around attacker, Kaka is an Attacking Midfielder, neither Pipita or Benzema are target men. We don’t have that Big Man to knock the ball up to during tricky, physical games where the opposing team bus is parked in front of their goal. Negredo is a homegrown battering ram-style striker that provides an alternative to Pipita and Benzema.
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And finally, did you enjoy this interview?
Yes! Would be happy to share my thoughts again in the future!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice interview, Mac!

    Man, I hope you get to celebrate a Champions League. It's great to win a Liga, but a Champions is definitely SOMETHING ELSE.

    I'll never forget none of those three incredible nights. Mijatovic the hero, Valencia humiliated and Zidane's volea.

    Next year: Cristiano's hat trick!

    ReplyDelete