still feeling the love…
The tributes continue!
On Monday, it was the turn of Xabi Alonso in San Sebastián, Víctor Valdés in Gavà and Juan Mata in Oviedo.
In San Sebastián, a rather clean-shaven Xabi had a txapela put on him when he was honored by the Diputación de Gipuzkoa for his achievement with the Spanish national team. He said he was very touched to be honored like this, and added that he had carried around a Real Sociedad centennial flag during the celebration in Madrid to show the “link” that unites him with the “txuri urdin.” We also found out that Xabi hadn’t thought a lot about the victory during his vacation, because his kids “took up most of the day,” and that the karate kick to the chest from de Jong was more “spectacular than serious” and that it took about two days to recover from it. Xabi was accompanied by his agent Iñaki Ibáñez and Juan Luis Larrea, RFEF treasurer and president of the Gipuzkoako Football Federation.
Meanwhile, in Gavà, VV received a tribute in the Parc de la Torre de Lluc from the people of his town, who wanted to congratulate him for being part of the World Cup winning team. The tribute was organized by the town hall, and Víctor arrived in the company of his entire family (parents, siblings, wife and son), wearing a big smile.
Víctor said that whenever he sees Iniesta’s goal, he gets emotional. He added that he’s “very proud of what I did. I didn’t play a single minute, but I had already said that I was coming to do whatever the team needed and I think I achieved that.” Watch a video here.
Fun fact: in 1975, VV’s mother Pilar Ribas was crowned the queen of the Festa Major de Gavà.
And in Oviedo, Juan Mata was honored alongside team doctor Óscar Celada. They were received by the president of the province, and received a plaque and an insignia of Asturias, as David Villa had the past week. Juanín said it was “an honor to return home and to be recognized in this way.” He added that “Asturias is very well represented with David (Villa), with Óscar, with me and with all our families and the people who carry around the flag… it seems that Asturians are always present in important events.” For his part, Celada said, “the representation of Asturias in South Africa could not have been better,” in reference to David and Juan. And when asked about his future, Mata said, “my dream at the moment is to be here in Asturias celebrating the World Cup.”