La Liga champions need to have fun, too

The stars of Real Madrid, winners of the 2011-12 La Liga title, were caught on camera at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) taking a break from their pre-season training by playing a little baseball.

The video has been circulating in the sports blogosphere accompanied with smirking observations from commentators. The clip serves as a comforting reminder that even world-class athletes have to start somewhere. In short: no one from Real Madrid is going be hounded by the Yankees to take over their star hitter or pitcher slots, except maybe Xabi Alonso, who knocked one of the few hits in the video.

It's nice to see such elite soccer players taking time out of their training to enjoy themselves and take a stab at a new sport. And yes, it is a little funny to watch the couple of swing-and-a-miss-and-spin-around bloopers that the video captures, as well as Jose Callejon's "Oops, I've run the wrong way" gem.

The game was prompted by a visit to Real Madrid's UCLA training camp from Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra of the Arizona Diamondbacks, both fans of the team, who were in town for their own series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The pair snapped a few commemorative photographs and lauded the athletes' efforts at baseball.

Parra told Angel Martinez, Real Madrid's news reporter, in a quick interview, "It's an honor to be here watching the best team in the world training and being close to the players."

Real Madrid has an upcoming pre-season game against the Los Angeles Galaxy on August 2 and another against AC Milan at Yankee Stadium on August 8.

It's almost time for fall sports to start up again, and as athletes are upgrading their gear for the new season, they need to make sure they are taking good care of their investments. To protect their footwear, athletes everywhere are using Cleatskins cleat covers so they don't need to worry about damaging their spikes when they walk on hard surfaces. Cleatskins make great gifts for athletes and are fashioned to fit a wide selection of athletic footwear.

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