PF Juan Mata is on the cover of the May issue of magazine Minuto 116 (can you guess what the name of the magazine – Minute 116 – refers to?), and inside, over half of the magazine is dedicated to him! There’s a great (and super, super long) interview with Juanín, a piece written by his sister PF Paula Mata, an interview with his grandfather, and his friends’ views of him, among other articles. All of them paint a picture of a footballer who is also a normal person, in addition to being funny, humble, and well, also muy guapo.
Well, if I were Fernando Torres, this would have shot up to the top of the list of favorite birthday presents, ever. Sergio tweeted this photo today, saying “I want to congratulate a good friend who is not here, missing him lots… Happy birthday!”
If this doesn’t motivate Fer to regain his form so that he will be called up by VDB again, then nothing will.
The concentración for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Finland and France began on Tuesday morning. Surprisingly, as the players began arriving, there were no major fashion failures (emphasis on the word “major” since some of the players, in the simple act of choosing their own clothes, commit fashion crimes).
A random assortment of recent and not so recent La Roja-related things – consider this post a warm-up for the international week!
Pepe Reina stars in a short film, “Invictus – El Correo del César,” which premiered at the Teatro Compac Gran Vía in Madrid on Monday. The film is part of insurance company Plus Ultra’s (formerly Groupama) promotional campaign, as Pepe is their spokesperson (he took over from Iker Casillas – remember the famous “me siento seguroooo…”?).
Pepe stars as one of the Roman empire’s messengers. He is tasked with bringing a message to Rome but of course runs into some trouble along the way.
The director of the short film, Javier Fesser, said of Pepe, “he acts better than some of those who have actor’s cards.”
I thought it would be nice ahead of tonight’s clásico (and all the craziness that can arise from these games) to take a look back at how Real Madrid and Barcelona players (and other teams’ players) worked together to achieve the greatest triumph in Spanish football history. So, here is the chapter from Más secretos about the 2010 World Cup final.
By the way, are Luca Villa and Luca Reina destined to be best friends, or are they destined to be best friends?
We continue with this walk down memory lane – I am really loving reliving the excitement and joy we felt during the World Cup, because when it was actually happening, it was too nerve-wracking and suspenseful! Today, we see how Spain successively beat Portugal, Paraguay and Germany to set up a final showdown with The Netherlands.
Here’s a bit more from Sergio Ramos’ biography, from the chapter “How they see him,” where many of Sergio’s current and former coaches and teammates, plus friends, wrote what they think about him. Here are the thoughts of some of the La Roja players and staff: Fernando Torres, Raúl Albiol, Vicente del Bosque, Jesús Navas and Albert Luque.
When Sergio and I began getting to know each other some time ago, I noticed that he had clear values and a frank personality, and that he was loyal to his ideas and would defend them in front of anyone. You could tell that at the age of 18, he already knew what he wanted. It wasn’t a matter of rebelling, it was a matter of principles. It bothers him when people have a wrong opinion of him, and that’s something I can relate to.
Sergio always tells you things to your face. He defends his ideas. He says everything that he’s thinking and he won’t let you twist his arm easily. He’s had problems with some coaches but not because he didn’t know what steps to take and who was in charge, which he knows clearly and is the first one to respect, but because he defends his ideas.
And we continue with the chapter “Champions of the World” in Más secretos de la Roja! In this excerpt, we find out what went on before and after the games against Switzerland, Honduras and Chile.
Switzerland (June 16, Moses Mabhida, Durban).
Spain and Switzerland were the last teams to play out of the 32. Spain used the same formula for the game. It had the ball and frequently got close to the rival goal. Arbeloa said, “I remember that 15 minutes into the game, I told Albiol that if we continued like this, no one could beat us. We were playing so well…” But the minutes passed and the goal didn’t come. In the 51st minute, Switzerland scored a goal. Casillas said, “the game could be summed up in that play. It was a real misfortune.” To make matters worse, Piqué suffered a cut above his eye and needed two stitches. Iniesta lost feeling in the back of his right thigh after receiving a blow and had to be taken out: “I was quite scared. I thought I had suffered something more serious than what I really had.”