la selección in XLSemanal, part III
And now it’s Xavi’s turn! Here is the translation of his interview in XLSemanal. As before, we start with the mini-questionnaire, with the interview after the jump! Iker’s can be found here, and Villa’s here, if you missed the two previous posts!
And the big news is… Xavi’s single. But if you want to be with him, you’ll have to accept that football is his first priority and you’ll be lucky to be the second! But he will have sex with you in training camps though (although you might have to do all the work because he’s a lazy guy), and discuss the latest gossip!
I am… I’m not one with a lot of jokes, but I do joke around with my teammates. I love the camaraderie in the locker room.
Iker is… rational, but when he loses it, watch out! I tease him because he appears on all the gossip programs with his girl.
Villa… is a natural with goals.
The World Cup… It’s time that luck is on our side.
Q: One could think that you were born with a ball in your hand, due to your reputation as the “perfect footballer” (as was said during the Eurocopa). Did you always want to be a footballer? Did you ever consider anything else?
A: From the time that I could think, I’ve always had football on my mind. My family has always been into football, and I couldn’t live without it. It’s my passion. I love it, and I don’t know how to do anything else. When I retire, I’m sure that I’ll do something related to football – I’m not sure what, but I’ll continue in that world.
Q: Your name has become an answer in crosswords. Are you conscious of how famous you are?
A: I knew that I was famous when I saw myself in newspapers. My fame was progressive and it’s never been a problem for me, but I admit that sometimes I have to do things in order to be able to take a walk or go out to eat. But that’s the way it is, we’re privileged and we can’t complain. It doesn’t bother me, I’m fine with it.
Q: What is the most ridiculous thing that has been said about you?
A: A while ago, a gossip program said I was gay, and I was like, “wow, they really want to find a gay footballer!” I laughed a lot.
Q: Did you celebrate the “Lyonazo” of Madrid?
A: (Laughs). Yes, yes, I’m a big culé and we like things like that, when Madrid is not doing well and Barcelona is doing well, and with me as such a culé… Anyway, my Madrid friends, and I have some, celebrate when Barcelona loses and I understand that. [Not as diplomatic as Villa, no?]
Q: Did you miss having Iniesta when Barcelona was eliminated from the Champions?
A: Anyone would miss Iniesta, that’s for sure. We tried not to miss him, but it was impossible. A player like him that changes the rhythm of the game, that gives assists, that scores goals… We felt it.
Q: Have you slept with any of your trophies, after winning six titles? [how come Iker wasn’t asked this question?]
A: Never. I’m not obsessed with them. I enjoy them, and that’s all. I’m not the kind of person that displays them in the salon either. I think that’s tacky. I have them all together in one place.
Q: Did you have a piggy bank as a kid? What would you break it for now?
A: Yes, I had one. Today, I would break it for a Spanish footballer, because we always have a better opinion of foreign ones. I would sign Silva and Cesc, since we luckily already have Villa. I’m always looking for players that will fit well in Barça, and those two I would sign without any hesitation.
Q: You’re considered the best in the world when it comes to creating and passing…
A: They say that because we’ve won; if we lost, I’m sure less would be said. It’s clear to me. I’ve always been the same footballer, but it seems that some people only discovered me three years ago. The difference is that now we’re winning everything and people admire Barcelona.
Q: Spaniards have our national team as the favorite to win the World Cup. We’ve gone from “we’ll lose in the quarterfinals” to “we’ll be the champions.”
A: We’re very passionate for the good and the bad, but we tend to be pessimistic. We stop believing, especially in extreme situations. For example, in the penalty shoot-out against Italy in the Eurocopa, I knew that a lot of people didn’t believe in us. Or Manchester is playing Barça and people support Manchester just because they’re pessimistic. I don’t know why, but the Spanish people are like that.
Q: According to a study carried out after the Eurocopa, 7 out of 10 Spaniards prefer football to sex. Is your generation of footballers to blame?
A: It can’t be! Maybe it’s because they were having a lot of sex when the study was carried out, but it can’t be. I even think it’s good to have sex in the training camps. Look, Pep Guardiola managed to overcome these taboos. Why can’t you sleep with your significant other in the training camps? Being able to spend time with your loved ones and not get bored with your 25 teammates is better for everyone. Pep knew how to handle it and others have followed his example.
Q: Well, not everyone. Pellegrini said their decision was made based on a bet.
A: I don’t know if that’s what happened, but they did it and I’m sure everyone was happy with it. Pep was the leader. In this and in many other things.
Q: The wives and girlfriends of footballers live the same rhythm of life as you, with the trips, the schedules, the training camps. Have yours complained about this lifestyle?
A: My ex complained a lot about my profession because we couldn’t spend a lot of time together. She was a big Barça fan, but when I didn’t play, she always complained about how we never did anything together. She didn’t understand why if I had a Sunday without a game I would stay at home watching the highlights. She didn’t like how crazy I was about football. And so, I’m single (laughs).
Q: Do you have friends who are unemployed?
A: Not a lot, but yes. And they’re having a hard time. Politicians should try and help these people instead of helping banks. Banks are the ones to blame, they’re the ones that created this problem of lending out money to people who couldn’t pay it back and now the politicians are going and giving money to banks. I don’t know much about politics, but they screwed up.
Q: Do you have a lot of luck with girls as a footballer, or only Iker?
A: Iker’s good-looking! But being a footballer always helps. Football gives you two or three more points. If you’re a five out of 10, then you end up with a passing score.
Q: What movie would you have liked to be in?
A: I’m a very bad actor. But something with heroes, such as Braveheart, that’s always good. Or something with beautiful people, although I’m not one of them.
Q: Who would you let score a goal?
A: For my family, they’ve given me everything. They can do whatever they want with me.
Q: Are you handy at home?
A: No, I’m very lazy. I can do simple things and I cook, but I need help at home. I live alone and I’m quite clean, but I’m a complete slacker at home.
Q: Your life philosophy is…
A: Carpe diem. You never know what’s going to happen to you. So you should live and let live. I don’t like being overwhelmed, so I try not to bother anyone.
Q: You get bored…
A: When I don’t know what to do in the afternoons. We have opposite schedules than the rest of the world because when they work, we’re resting. This bores me a lot, so maybe that’s why I watch a lot of television, even the gossip shows. I have my opinion, but I like to know what they say, I’m a bit of a gossip.
Q: So in your case, that of the “I don’t read the press,” “I don’t know what they saw about me” of many footballers is not true. Do you like to know what is said about you all?
A: Yes, almost everything. We all glance at the newspapers when we arrive in the locker room, some more than others, and most of the time we joke about it. It’s not that I care about what they say, it’s just that I like to have fun with some things.
Q: You’re lazy, a disaster at home. But what else are you good at, besides football?
A: I’m lazy in almost everything. Maybe in games of chance, I have a lot of luck. I don’t cheat (laughs). And in Trivial Pursuit.
Q: In what period in the history of football would you like to live?
A: In the one I’m in right now, without a doubt. We’re the best team in history! Seriously though, it’s true that football was more of a family thing before. Now, everyone is more individualistic. We hardly ever have lunches or dinners together, and I’m very family oriented, I like to joke around. The other day, I saw a report on Athletic de Bilbao, and they are like that, a piña, a family, and I like that.
Q: Footballers normally don’t trust the people who try to get close to them…
A: You can’t trust them because there are greedy people and you don’t know what they want with you. I’m lucky in that I have the same friends I’ve always had, from school.
Q: Is there anything more exciting than when a final begins? What else makes your adrenaline rise?
A: Laughing, or getting to know a girl. I like that, as much as I like playing.
Q: Do you think the Spanish fans are mature enough to support but not criticize if Spain doesn’t play well?
A: Our problem is that we’ve always looked at others, and now, at last, we have our own style that others admire. Luis Aragonés is responsible for that. He made us believe that Spain was capable of competing without fear and without complexes and we proved that by winning and playing well. If we continue like this, we could be eliminated, but at least people will enjoy it. Luck is a factor – you can have the best game of your life, but an error can make you lose.
Q: Do you remember any fun anecdotes involving Luis Aragonés?
A: A lot. He had sayings – “Gancho Morgan, métele el gancho Morgan” when we were shooting free kicks, or he would tell me “sofronícese,” and I would say, “what do you mean míster,” and he would say, “you don’t know what “sofronizarse” means? Well it means thinking about something that went well, so that this thing will go well also.” In other words, if you scored a free kick, think about that so that the one you’re taking now will go well. He had some comments that would make you die laughing.
Q: And Guardiola? Is he fun? He seems so serious…
A: He’s very precise, very rational, but sometimes he goes crazy and says something… Last year, during a draw, we were waiting in the locker room and suffering to know who our rival was going to be, and when we found out, he told us, “you’re going to score four against them.” And we said, “what are you saying míster?” because he’s usually very respectful and reasonable. And when we played against them, we scored four! We reminded him of what he had said and he blushed because he knows that kind of thing doesn’t usually happen to him. He also jokes around. He’ll do that when you’re depressed or when you’re in a bad mood, he’s very thoughtful.
Q: Reasons to believe we’ll win this World Cup…
A: Because there are good footballers, this generation is great, and because we’re a team, we have a lot of camaraderie and we joke around. We’ve always had bad luck historically, and a lot of things have happened to us: the altercation between Luis Enrique and Tasotti, the game against Korea and that referee that stole the game from us… It’s Spain’s turn to win the World Cup.
Q: Will you do anything crazy if you win it?
A: Any crazy thing is good for me. One time I shaved my head, but that was when I was much younger. I’m a crazy person and whatever thing you tell me to do, I’ll do! (Laughs).
Q: Have you already planned your vacation after the World Cup?
A: I don’t have anything in mind. Since I became single a year ago, I’ve planned less. With girls, I have to work around their vacations, and they mine… I always go around the Costa Brava. I don’t like to make plans, I’m a bit of a disaster in that.
Q: Have you dreamed of scoring a goal in the final?
A: No, that’s for Villa to do, he’s the star!