Real Madrid touched down in Los Angeles earlier this week, about to start their swing through North America as they prepare to defending their Spanish title. As with any major European team that swings through Southern California, Los Merengues are mixing in publicity with their preseason preparations. This usually leads to a string of awkward, cost-sport moments where awesome soccer player is humbled trying his hand at another sport, such as when Cristiano Ronaldo met then-UFC champions Cain Velasquez last year. Why didn’t they have Cain try to stop a Ronaldo direct kick?
On Monday, stars from José Mourinho’s team tried their hand at baseball, with Arizona Diamondbacks Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra looking on. Per Marca, most of what followed was folly. Iker Casillas’ instincts lent themselves to catching, Montero said, but when it came to hitting, most Merengues were useless.
The one exception: Xabi Alonso. Apparently the Real midfielder had previous taken swings off a pitching machine. Perhaps he owns the only one in Spain. Regardless, he impressed the two Diamondbacks.
“Iker would be a great catcher. He has the movements and reflexes of a goalkeeper and that always helps,” said Montero, who was somewhat more critical when analysing the players with the bat: “It’s a good thing they play football,” he chuckled. “They’re not very good, except for one, Xabi, who has really surprised me to tell the truth. He told me he has practised on the batting machine and played a little, and the truth is it shows. He hit very well.”
And so it’s answered: The never asked question about whether Xabi Alonso would be good at baseball.
Real Madrid takes on LA Galaxy Thursday at Home Depot Center, their first match of their seemingly annual (José loves the States) U.S. tour.