la otra selección – los fisios
Team España also includes four physiotherapists, the men responsible for helping the players prevent and recover from injuries. Aka the men who are allowed to get extremely close to the players.
The four fisios are Raúl Martínez, Fernando Galán, Juan Carlos Herranz and Miguel Gutiérrez. In the picture above, starting from the far left, are Juan Carlos Herranz, Fernando Galán and Raúl Martínez. Miguel Gutiérrez is the one with the salt and pepper hair and beard, sixth from the left.
And know we know who everyone in the picture is! From left to right, we have the three fisios Juan Carlos, Fernando and Raúl, then the two doctors Cota and Celada, the fourth fisio Miguel, Silvia, Ochoto, Javier and Toni. And of course, Vicente del Bosque in the front. By the way, they always sit in this order.
Fun fact: Raúl, Fernando and Juan Carlos are all members of Puyol’s Sushi-Team.
Keep reading for mini-profiles of these lucky men!
Raúl Martínez is a specialist in osteopathy who started working with the national team in 2001, when José Antonio Camacho was coach. But he didn’t really get involved until 2005, when he started working with the youth teams. He’s also seen the players grow up – Raúl worked with Iker when the latter was 14 years old and playing on the U-15 team. He’s good friends with Carles Puyol, having treated him at Barcelona back in 2007 when Carles suffered a serious injury to his knee, which was around the same time that his father died. Puyol says, “I’ll never forget how he laid into me when he first came to visit me. I was at very low point and Raúl succeeded in cheering me up and helping me to return to working hard to recover.”
He’s also the physiotherapist of the Club de Atletismo Valencia Terra i Mar and a director of the Centro Tensegrity Osteopatía y Fisioterapia in Madrid, as well as a physiotherapy professor at the Universidad Europea de Madrid.
Raúl says of the players, “the relationship with them is great. They’re all well-mannered and they respect us. They’re boys with a lot of life experience, but still boys.”
Fernando Galán is a professor at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and also a specialist in osteopathy. He’s been with the national team since 2004.
The two of them are responsible for elaborating specific treatments. They say that they’ve heard a lot of things, being so close to the players, that they can’t repeat. Too bad! And that the players choose which physiotherapist they want to work with them, not the other way around.
Juan Carlos Herranz is from Salamanca, and has his own physiotherapy clinic in that city. He specializes in helping injured players recover.
Fun anecdote: in South Africa, VDB saw pictures of the people of Salamanca celebrating in the Plaza de la Concordia, but he didn’t know exactly where that plaza was (it was only created less than a year ago), despite the fact that he used to live right by it. So he had to ask Juan Carlos Herranz.
Miguel Gutiérrez is the one with the most experience, having worked with the Spanish team since 1991. The World Cup in South Africa was his sixth. Miguel is from Bilbao, and wanted to be a footballer, but as he himself said, he was quite bad at it. So he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, also a physiotherapist. He started his career at Indautxu, then went on to Athletic. At his first World Cup, in 1982, he worked with the English national team, and with Spain in the next five, starting with the 1994 edition.
Miguel is responsible for giving therapeutic massages, choosing what materials the medical team will need and handing out vitamins and the like to the players.