los secretos – Euro 2008 final, part II
The continuation of Chapter 1: Wallas Se Va A Querer Suicidar.
The rest of the chapter deals with Spain celebrating their Euro 2008 triumph in Madrid, first at Colón with the españolitos, and then the day after with the government.
On the plane
– as the plane entered Spanish territory, the players began to chant some of the phrases and sayings that Aragonés had told them thousands of times. Reina remembers that moment as the purest one showing the connection between player and coach. He said that remembering it almost makes him cry, because it was the best moment of the Eurocopa for him. Aragonés was very touched, and surprised that they had actually been paying attention all that time. Reina remembers him laughing at the players, and saying “what sons of a bitch. You remember everything…”
– Xabi Alonso said “Aragonés laughed his ass off. Maybe he didn’t realize how many times he had said those things to us and what a deep impression it made on us. When we were chanting them, he would look back at us each time we said a new one and say “what bastards! Those sons of a bitch remember everything I said.””
– the players also chanted, “we won’t return, if the míster is not here.” [Aragonés had already signed on to coach Fenerbahce.]
– little by little, the players drank all the beer they had, so Puyol had to go to the back of the plane to get more.
– Reina also regaled his teammates with the “Camarero” speech (he also did this at his wedding). And then he did the numbers once again.
– Cesc: “It was unforgettable. I remember that I spent the ride [on the bus to Colón] holding onto a rail next to Güiza.”
– Arbeloa: “I couldn’t believe what I saw. We saw cars in traffic jams, people on top of bus shelters… you get goosebumps just remembering the faces of the people, the pure happiness.”
– Marchena: “I feel proud that we helped to unite a country that is so divided, football-speaking.”
[The book lists the descriptions of the players that Pepe Reina gave during his recital at Colón. Since I’m sure that everyone knows this already, I won’t write it, but if you want me to, just leave a comment.]
– Xavi said to the crowd, “This team deserves this title because it is a real team, because we have an amazing coach, and this is for all the technical staff and other people around us. Long live Spain!” Later on, reflecting on this moment, he said people teased him for the “long live Spain” part, while others crucified him, but Spain has given a lot to him, and he couldn’t say anything else. On the first day back in training with Barça, he repeated that phrase as a joke and subsequently appeared in all the news.
– Fernando Navarro defended Xavi, saying that he feels both Catalán and Spanish, and if he said that, it was because he meant that. He describes Xavi as “an incredible person, with principles, and who is proud to play on the Spanish national team.
– the players held a dinner and party at Buddha Bar, a club on the outskirts of Madrid. The password for the players and their friends and families to enter, as chosen by the players, was “El Galgo de Lucas.” [The background: in Luis Aragonés’ last chat with the players before the final, he reminded them: “Men, finals are to be won, no one remembers the runner up… Don’t be like the greyhound of Lucas, which decided to take a shit when he should have been chasing the hare.” All the players laughed, and so they decided to use that as the password to enter the dinner.]
– Reina cried upon thinking about his grandfather Miguel, who had passed away several months ago, and who had accompanied him to countless training sessions when he was small.
The next day
– the next day, the players were exhausted. The task of getting the players up fell to a delegate of the RFEF, who called each player and said, “everyone is on the bus, except you.”
– Marcos Senna: “I had slept two hours. When I received the call, I got dressed really quickly and ran down. When I got on the bus, I realized that ten of the guys were still missing… One of the physiotherapists had forgotten to put his socks on, and he came with a suitcase. So I asked him, where are you going with that suitcase? We’re going to meet the king!”
– Silva had a stomach ache: “My body couldn’t handle any more. After the game, I had spent almost two days without sleeping, and drinking, and eating really badly…”
– on the bus on the way to la Moncloa, there was dead silence on the bus. Güiza: “I had no voice left, and a lot of my teammates didn’t either. Xavi: “Puyol couldn’t even speak.”
– Sergio García, at the reception with the king: “I placed myself in the back of the photos so that no one could see me.”
– Cazorla: “what faces we had when we went to see the king! I didn’t have a voice left after so much shouting and singing. When I gave the king my hand, he asked me, “you can’t speak?” and I told him, “I left my voice in the Buddha Bar.”
– the exhaustion of the players and the lack of knowledge on proper protocol led to some embarrassing situations. Xabi Alonso: “At times the king would get close to us, and I would become the Marcos Senna of La Zarzuela, trying to prevent anything bad from happening. I saw the king heading towards where Sergio García was talking with Princess Letizia. “It’s a good thing you came,” he told me. Sergio responded, “yes my King.” And I said to him, “what did you say?”” [Of course Xabi would be the only one sober enough to do this!]
– when the reception was over, and the players were back on the bus, they realized they were missing something: they had left the Cup behind.
Up next: the players and their nicknames.
Click on the ‘secretos” category on the top to read the rest of the posts from this book!