Spain takes on Uruguay tonight in Doha, Qatar (19h)! This game will most likely be Carles Puyol’s 100th, which will come 12 years after his debut on Nov. 15, 2000, and which will make him the seventh Spaniard to reach that number (after Iker, Zubi, Xavi, Xabi, Raúl and Fernando Torres).
Here are the rest of the mini essays that Sergio’s La Roja teammates and coaches wrote about him!
We met each other through the senior national team, during the qualification for the 2006 World Cup. Our chats began during a concentración at La Calderona before playing against Lithuania and Bosnia. He was in the group of Andalusians, with Joaquín, Juanito and Marchena, and I was also drawn to them, but I was with the card playing group, the “pocheros,” which were Villa, Pablo, Iker and Antonio López.
Things are indeed beginning all over again, as La Roja started a new concentración on Thursday morning, their last of the year. And it was a complete day for them, as they had various acts to attend in the morning, followed by commitments with their sponsors, a training session, and finally, the trip to London. Meanwhile, the U-21 team was playing and dominating in Melilla.
More anecdotes, stories and reflections on the World Cup…
Sergio Ramos is the official DJ of the Spanish national team. He took control of the music in the Eurocopa, and was a total success. However, in South Africa, there were players who didn’t like the Caribbean music that Ramos based his compilations on. At the head of the line was Joan Capdevila: “it was quite weak, to tell you the truth,” he said (Joan prefers Barricada and Offspring, but sings Sergio Dalma’s “Bailar pegados” at karaoke). Regardless, Sergio’s music overcame the detractors. One of chosen tracks was Elvis Crespo’s “Píntame.” During the tournament, the players didn’t want to talk about the music they were listening to in the locker room or on the bus, but on the airplane ride back, we found out what was their song of the World Cup, thanks to Pepe Reina, David Villa and Sergio Ramos.
Elvis Crespo himself didn’t know that one of his songs was used to motivate the Spanish national team. It was his wife who informed him. Maribel Vega saw the name of her husband trending on twitter and how it was linked to the return of the world champions to Spain. Crespo told newspaper Primera Hora, “all the eyes of the world were on this team for winning an event as big as the World Cup, and this was also the first time Spain had won. And they were celebrating with my song. I feel indestructible.” The song was written in 1998, when Sergio Ramos was only 12 years old.
I loved this interview with Fernando Hierro, because you can see from his words how solid the base that the Spanish national team is built on, from the youngest categories to the senior team. Thanks to Fernando, the foundation for many more years of success has been laid, and we should all be grateful to him for everything he’s done, and for bringing us so much joy in his four years at the RFEF. Muchas gracias.
Tomorrow is Fernando Hierro’s last day of work as sporting director of the Federation. He leaves after four years in which Spanish football has shed all its fears and insecurities to become a reference in the world.
What are you going to do on the day after tomorrow, July 1?
Think the same as I did on June 30. I’m sure that I will very much miss a work that developed over four years in a fantastic atmosphere. We’ve all gone in the same direction, we’ve shared everything, everyone has contributed and no one has imposed anything, ever. I’ve really enjoyed being the sporting director.
Then why are you leaving?
There’s no one reason. There were many things that made me think, and when I put them on a balance, those that asked me where I wanted to go in the future won out. I leave with the satisfaction of a job well done, and with a better relationship with the Federation than when I came. It’s been a very intense four years. I know that people have speculated that a confrontation led me to leave, but there’s nothing to that.
Bits and pieces of La Rojita news…
Psychic is not a career option: remember how Cuatro made Luis Milla, Jeffren, Javi (!!!), Juan and Dani make their predictions about the final? Well, none of them got it right, as can be seen in this video here. Luis Milla predicted a Spain-Denmark final; Javi (!!!) and Juan expected to beat England 2-1; Jeffren was a bit more supportive of De Gea with his 2-0 victory over England prediction; and Dani went for a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic. At least Jeffren and Dani got the score right!
Several days ago, Marca started running a series to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the greatest triumph in Spanish football – the World Cup – to coincide with the month that Spain spent in South Africa. Each day, they dedicate several pages of the newspaper to looking back at what happened and revealing new anecdotes. So, here are the interesting and perhaps previously unknown things that they’ve published so far.
The training session
The Spanish national team trained this morning at Las Rozas for the last time, as the next session will take place in the U.S. Yesterday’s session started with a chat in the middle of the field, and we once again saw that today, although the chat was shorter. The players then did some physical exercises and running, before kicking the ball around. That ended in a mini-game without goalkeepers, but then Pepe, Víctor and Iker joined in. The possible starters – the ones who wore bibs during the session – were Iker, Sergio, Piqué, Albiol, Capdevila, Bruno, Xabi, Cazorla, Silva, Villa and Negredo. The final result was 3-3, with Villa, Xabi and Negredo scoring for one side, and Manu del Moral, Arbeloa and Llorente for the other. The one-and-a-half-hour session ended with a stretching segment, and a picture with all the lucky kids who got to watch the training session.