day 12 – ready to begin!

Or should it be Day 1?  June 1, 2012.

Spain’s preparations for the Eurocopa (we kick off in nine days!) took a serious turn on Friday, when the entire team – the 23 players who have been called up, plus players 24 and 25 (Carles Puyol and David Villa) – got together at Las Rozas.  It was a full day for La Roja, from receiving presents to attending events to meeting the prime minister.  And of course, there was the training session, as well as the photo session for the official picture!

During that session, Iker called for Cola Cao, and the boys once again acted like schoolboys while waiting…

The arrival/fashion parade.

Andrés Iniesta, Víctor Valdés and Fernando Torres were the first ones to arrive at the Ciudad de Fútbol on Friday morning, at around 10:30h in the morning.  Xabi Alonso was the last one to arrive, coming in 10 minutes later than the deadline.

Denim shorts was one of articles of clothing favored by our footballers – Iker, Santi Cazorla, Fernando Llorente, Álvaro Arbeloa and Pedro were some of the players who showed up wearing them.  That wasn’t a good thing, as you can see from the photo of Iker in his cuffed shorts.  I’m sorry, but they look awful!   As for Javi (!!!), the outfit isn’t too bad (not a big fan of the shirt, but he matched it well with the pants), but those bracelets are so Sara Carbonero circa 2010.  Not a good look.  And I see the Fernando Torres went back to his computer repairman outfit.

Raúl Albiol was once again dressed like a 12-year-old, and I immensely disliked Álvaro’s shorts and sandals.  The only good thing I can say is that at least they’re not cuffed.

PF and David Silva looked just okay.  They didn’t look great, but didn’t look bad either.

On the plus side, we had Víctor Valdés.  He does simplicity so well, no?  Not even anything splashed on his t-shirt to distract us from those smoldering good looks.

Xavi also went for simple, and it worked.  Sergio was quite tame by his standards, so he earns a place on the non-badly dressed list, belt buckle aside.  I love him in red.

Best dressed goes (once again) to Xabi Alonso.  Perfection personified.

And Álvaro Negredo and Pepe Reina showed us that you can never go wrong when you wear the red shirt.

Also seen at Las Rozas were Carles Puyol and David Villa, who had stopped by to spend the day with their teammates!  David was in his favorite color, while Carles was in a very Puyol outfit.

I’m not a fan of the white pants, but I can overlook that because it was great to see David – and Carles – there with the other guys.

Playstation Vitas.

The first event of the morning, besides the arrival – if that can be considered an event -, was the handing out of Playstation Vitas to the players.  I guess it’s to give them something to do during the time they would have dedicated to using their social networks, no?  Ignore the bracelets, and this is a great photo!

I adore these photos, especially the expressions on Álvaro’s face.  First he’s all telling El Chori to grab that game and that one, and also that one!, and then later on he won’t give Raúl his Playstation Vita.  Meanwhile, Xabi is thinking to himself, “I can’t believe how juvenile they are.”  I bet the twins have already planned what they’re going to play in the concentraciones.

The Mediaset presentation.

The next event was the presentation of the Mediaset team that will cover the Eurocopa on Cuatro and Telecinco.  Some familiar names make up part of the team: Sara Carbonero, Fernando Morientes, Juanma Castaño… and David Villa!  David will be collaborating with the team during the Eurocopa coverage, although he won’t be a commentator and it won’t be during the games.  Iker looked happy to be mixing business with pleasure.

Iker, Andrés Iniesta and Vicente del Bosque showed up to lend their support.  Iker’s presence was not a big surprise, was it?  During the presentation, Iker spoke about how the team has a “hunger to continue making history.”  He added that “we all agree that it’s not going to be easy at all, but we have confidence in our style and our form of handling the ball.”  Iker also took the time to thank those players who had helped the team to prepare over the past two weeks but didn’t make the final cut: “those of us who are lucky to continue with the call-up want to thank those seven players for their phenomenal behavior.  They all fit in very well.  The coach told them that they hadn’t come in to cover positions, but that they were there due to their own merits and they could form part of the team at any moment.”

Meanwhile, Andrés Iniesta warned that this upcoming Eurocopa would be much more difficult than the World Cup, and said the team is hopeful of having a great tournament: “remembering the goal in the final of the World Cup is great, but I like to live in the present, for what we have ahead of us.  We have high hopes of having a great tournament, of the team playing well.  Everything in the past is always much easier than what’s to come.  This Eurocopa will be much more difficult than the World Cup that we won.  The team is prepared.”

I think Iker had a hard time concentrating on what was going on… The event finished with David Bisbal singing the theme song of Mediaset Sport for the competition, “No hay dos sin tres,” which thankfully is not as grating on the ears as “Waving Flag” (by the way, every time I hear the title of this song, Alejandro Sanz’ “Corazón Partió” starts going through my head, because one of the lyrics is precisely “no hay dos sin tres…”).  Anyway, David performs this song with Cali and El Dandee.  And Iker and Andrés did not raise their hands and shout goal.

The photo and training session.

The team also posed for the official photo on Friday.  I prefer this one below with the four coaches, because more players are smiling than in the one with just VDB in the center (such as Javi (!!!)), although Pedro does seem to be sticking out a bit.  This is the photo of the future winners of the 2012 Eurocopa!

Thank goodness some players once again chose the tight shirts, no?  The team posed for the photos right before the training session, so they ended up training in their game kits, which made for an unexpected and interesting sight, especially after Iker changed his shirt to put on his training one, kept the shorts and added tights.

Víctor Valdés changed completely, Pepe didn’t, while some of the field players changed socks or just pulled the ones they had down.  Fernando Llorente opted for an original style.

The only player missing at the session was Cesc Fàbregas, who came in with an injury to his right thigh and spent the morning undergoing tests.  The others trained for about one hour (in 35-degree heat!) with a special emphasis on ball possession exercises.

Barefoot Javi (!!!)!

Mariano Rajoy’s visit.

Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister of Spain, visited the team after the training session.  The meet and greet was arranged for the parking lot, so they set up a little stage there.  While the players were waiting around for the PM to arrive, they gave each other hugs, chatted… 

… sat around looking bored…

… and gave each other massages.

Hmmm, I wonder what exactly is that big?  There are a few things that I have in mind…

Rajoy told the team that Spaniards need some joy in these “complex and difficult times,” and each time Spain wins, they give the country “a morale boost” (as the only thing that appears to be going right for Spain at the moment is La Roja).  Iker, Xavi and VDB were on hand to welcome the head of state, who greeted each player and wished them luck.  During his speech, he said, “we have a great team, you all are a great team.  Talent, strength… qualities that make all of you a great group.  You all are a group of friends, in addition to a football team.”  He also took a photo with the team, and VDB presented him with a La Roja jersey that had his name and the number “10” on it.

I love this photo of the little cocktail party after, because Jordi and Pedro look completely bored and unimpressed.

The Fútbol Draft awards.

The last event of the day was the awards ceremony for the Fútbol Draft, which recognizes young talents.  VDB, Xabi Alonso, Javi Martínez, Sergio Busquets and Juan Mata were on hand to congratulate the winners, which included many La Rojita players, such as Rodrigo or Jon Aurtenetxe, and even one La Roja player, Isco.

Other things.

This is probably one of the last photos we’re going to get from the boys, because social networks are prohibited during the duration of the concentración.  And since we’re expecting the boys to make it until the end, that’s one whole month without any silly photos, “moc mocs” and parchís tournament results.

As stated earlier, Cesc spent the morning undergoing tests on his right thigh at the Cemtro.  After the team doctors reviewed the tests, they recommended that he sit out of the game against China as a precaution, and so he’ll be having individual training sessions to help him recover fully.  Via twitter, Cesc said, “the tests have been satisfactory, I’m very happy with the evolution.”

Earlier that day, Sergio Ramos had attended the opening of the Nike Barbershop in Madrid, and also presented the shoes he’ll wear during the tournament.  At the event, he was asked about pairing up with Gerard Piqué in the center of Spain’s defense and the rumors that they don’t get along: “I’ve never had a bad relationship with Piqué because each one of us defends the interests of his team, but we know what we’re defending now and what objective we need to achieve.  We’re professionals and there is a lot at stake, so nothing else matters.  Those are kids’ things.”  Sergio described Piqué as a “great centerback” and said there wouldn’t be any problems playing together.  He also had good things to say about Fernando Torres: “I’ve always defended Torres because he’s a splendid player who has marked an era in all the teams he’s been on and now he’s doing great, and so he’ll be a very important player in this Eurocopa.”  And of course, since this was the opening of the Nike Barbershop, with “The Ramos” available as an option, there had to be a question about hair.  Sergio was asked if he would shave his head if Spain wins the Eurocopa, to which he said “no, although it’s good to change once in a while.”

Meanwhile, Fernando Torres received the “Marca Leyenda” award.  He also granted an interview to the newspaper, which you can read here.  During that interview, he spoke about how he’s seen his goal from four years ago many times, not because he wanted to, because it was always on TV the days after the final.  Fernando also says, “we needed that victory to really believe in ourselves.”  He also reveals that his father amassed a collection of souvenirs for him, and he’s also kept his boots, the shirt, the ticket and the accreditation from the final.

In addition, he talks about the bad times he’s gone through, how his teammates helped him through with messages of support, how he didn’t expect to be called up, and now that he has, he’s more excited than ever and he sees it as a reward.

The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

I’d totally vote for Xabi’s party if he ever became a politician.

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Posted on June 2, 2012, in daily and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. So much wonderful in this post! It’s gonna be a great summer!

  2. woooow
    what a great post specially about iker and sara.do you have any videos from that program? i go to melite site and see this program but i could not download it:((( and i could see a little time as online.can you download it and upload till we dowanload??

  3. Thanks Una! what would we do without your pics! :)

    BTW Albiol is wearing a Captain Tsubasa jersey! jajajajaja http://retrosportivo.uphero.com/Images/remerasretro/SteveHyougaS.jpg

    So yes, he’s actually a 12 year old boy xD

    I love how affectionate they are and wouldn’t you want to be in Llorente’s arms? <3 Santi got a sweet deal there ;)

  4. I’m so excited, I can’t wait for the Eurocopa to begin and for La Roja to come to my country!:D Do you know perhaps at what hour will they come to Gdansk on Tuesday? I couldn’t get the pass to their open trainings, so I want to try to see them some other way. Are their morning walks “open” to public too?

  5. Thanks for the great comprehensive post, Una! Much appreciated.

    – Fer’s socks choice made me laugh out loud. Love it.
    – I receive Sergio’s tweets to my phone, so it’s going to be very strange not waking up to his daily diary entry of three tweets ending with a ‘beso muy grande a tod@s’ over the next month
    – I don’t even want to think about how difficult it must be to train in the heat. Poor guys.
    – Also, the other Fer’s interview with Marca was very interesting. Cleared up many things that he’s talked about vaguely before.

    Less than a week left!!! :)

  6. thanks for this review! Loled a lot :D
    The Xabi Alonso pose section rules!

  7. underfootoverhead

    If for no other reason, I hope that La Roja does well in the competition because it’s something that can bring their people happiness in a way that few other things can. Every time I see news about Spain now, it’s very, very scary. That 100’s of billions of euros are going out of Spanish banks to German banks, and how they’re trying to avoid signing a bailout package that would give Germany fiscal sovereignty but they don’t have the money to do it.

    I hope that La Roja in the Euros will help bring something to their people, to all of the people who can’t get jobs or are scared about what’s happening. It’s pretty powerful that football can do that, and that the national team has value to Spain that can’t be quantified.

    Also, the picture of Fernando Llorente and Santi is pretty cute.

  8. Thank you so much again as always for these wonderful details. Fantastic chronicle of their journey. I so appreciate all your work–pictures, translation everything!

  9. Let’s hope not to hear from the boys for a month! And when we do, lots of partially dressed, drunk locker room shots!!! Forgot how much Villa loved pink!

  10. What does “PF” stand for?

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