The cover story of this week’s edition of El Mundo Magazine speaks about how parents can help their children to become successful athletes while keeping the family intact. The message is that for every Arantxa Sánchez Vicario or Jorge Lorenzo, there is a Thiago Alcántara.
Mazinho, during his time at Valencia, feeding young Thiago in 1993.
A baby in diapers, playing in the waves, a sky full of stars and a ball all form part of the tattoo on his right arm. Thiago got this tattoo as soon as he turned 18. This drawing on his skin is an indelible tribute to an old photograph that his parents took of him on a beach in Italy when he was 14 months old. This image helps him remember where he comes from, as well as the warm and prudent environment that his family has achieved for him on his way to the elite. “The first thing we taught him was that everyone is equal: from the president of the club to the woman who cleans the restrooms of the stadium. And that if he wants something, he’ll have it with effort. He has suffered a lot. He left home at 14 to achieve his dream, and although he’s made it, he has a long road left to walk. We help him, but he has to carve out his own future,” explains Valeria Alcántara, mother of Thiago.
They’ve coincided in Real Madrid’s cantera, Valencia and now the Spanish national team! That’s the magic of La Roja, reuniting former teammates, or bringing our favorite bromances together! In this case, it was PF Juan Mata and Roberto Soldado.
Their reunion was one of many things that happened on Monday.
Roberto Soldado and Iker Muniain may be the “novedades” of this latest call-up, but they won’t be alone, as each has a very good friend on the current team.
In Soldado’s case, it’s Álvaro Arbeloa. They’ve been good friends since meeting in the cantera of Real Madrid back in 2001 (the likes of Rubén de la Red, Javi García, Javi Balboa or Borja Valero are also part of that pandilla). Álvaro says, “when I arrived in Madrid to play in the Real Madrid youth system, we met each other in the SEK complex. I also remember that we were promoted to Castilla in the same year. We’ve caused a lot of trouble together, but that was back then (laughs). We have a great relationship, it’s been many years together, and although later on we followed different roads, we stayed in touch. We’re very good friends, and our wives are even better friends. Mine is the godmother of his second son, Enzo. We have a great friendship. He attended my wedding, but I couldn’t go to his because he got married on the same day as the Eurocopa final, but we’re very good friends.”
La Roja hasn’t been much in the news recently, but things should start picking up next week (Feb. 24), when Vicente del Bosque announces the list of players called up for the friendly against Venezuela on Feb. 29 at La Rosaleda in Málaga, as our coach will use this game to test out players for the upcoming Eurocopa. One of these players will be Thiago, who was recently interviewed by DT. Here’s what they said about him, and what he had to say.
He’s 20 years old and he’s spent most of those years playing football. Before, he would imitate his father, a Brazilian who triumphed in the Liga in the 1990s. Now, he’s part of the elite and surpassing himself each day to earn a place for himself in the best club and best national team in the world.
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.
In case you missed it – Spain vs. Scotland [2011-10-11, Euro 2012 qualifying, 3-1].
There were six changes to the starting line-up compared to the last game against the Czech Republic, but it didn’t matter, because every single player on this team is so good. There really is no line between starters and subs. With this win, Spain went eight for eight in Euro 2012 qualifying, tied the Netherlands and France for the longest win streak in official games at 14, and became the first team to win all qualifiers for two consecutive tournaments, in this case the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 Eurocopa.
ONE. All eyes were on these four men on Tuesday night (mine, however were on the bench, because that’s where Iker and Javi (!!!) were): David Silva, to see how he would do given a chance to start after his declarations, David Villa to see if he could score his 50th goal, Jordi Alba, who was getting his debut with the national team, and Víctor Valdés, who was debuting in an official game.
Spain plays Scotland tonight (20:45h, Alicante) in their last Euro 2012 qualifier, though our presence in the tournament was assured several games ago.
Ignore Santi and VV being adorable for a moment, and focus on Sergio and Jordi’s embrace – it wasn’t the first time or the last time on Monday. Notice how Jordi goes for Sergio’s ass first, and pauses for a second? Some people have all the luck…
In case you missed it – the Czech Republic vs. Spain [2011-10-07, Euro 2012 qualifying, 0-2].
This 2-0 victory was the 21st consecutive one in terms of qualifiers, and also means that Spain has won all official games since the opening loss to Switzerland in the World Cup (13 games, 13 wins, with 31 goals in favor and only six against). Spain played so well in the first half that they didn’t have to foul until the 44th minute, when Raúl Albiol had to stop Baros on the right flank. The team made 1,149 passes during the game, compared to just 293 for the Czech Republic. Xavi and Xabi made more passes than their rivals combined, with 170 and 127, respectively. Spain had 80 percent possession during the first half and 77 percent during the second. The first half looked more like a rondo than a game.
ONE. It’s kind of fitting that Xabi’s bosses-in-training on his club team and national team are best friends, no? Because PF Juan Mata was muy jefe out there on Friday night. And Xavi had a partidazo as well.