Sergio at El País
I love El País reporter Luis Martín (he’s the one that did all the great Q&As) because in Buenos Aires yesterday, he interviewed Sergio Ramos and asked him about his hair (it was the second question he asked – that shows how important Sergio’s hair is, no?). That would have been the same path I would have taken, if I had the chance to interview Sergio Ramos. I would also have thrown in some questions about his tattoos, especially that one on his abdomen…
[This is the La Roja portion of the interview; if you’re interested in hearing what Sergio had to say about Real Madrid, go here! Some questions fit in neither category, or both, so I reproduced them for both blogs.]
Q: Do you feel different as a champion of the world?
A: No. But as a kid, my dream was to win a World Cup with the national team and not only have I achieved that, I also played in the final. I had cried a lot in the past. Each time we were kicked out of a World Cup, I spent a day and a half crying. And in the end, we won. I swear to you that I’ve had a lot of great days in my life, but nothing like the Monday when we returned from Johannesburg and I saw how happy the people were.
Q: Why did you cut your hair?
A: I have a lot of superstitions. I wanted to play with long hair in the World Cup because in Austria, during the Eurocopa, I played with long hair and it brought us luck. The truth is I’m quite superstitious: I always enter the field on my left leg, I tie my right boot first, I pray to my grandparents before stepping onto the field… once the World Cup was over, I thought I would change my look a bit.
Q: Your goal celebrations also need to be explained. Why do you do so many things?
A: Well, because I don’t get to score a lot, and each time I score I want to dedicate it to two or three persons that I love. What hasn’t changed is the somersault. I started practicing that at the beach to make sure I wouldn’t injure myself, until I could do it with Madrid. Now, each time that I score, I do one.
Q: You’re 24 years old, but you’ve played in 247 games with Sevilla and Madrid and 69 with the national team, and you have scored more than 30 goals in top competition. Is your life a gift?
A: I’ve always believed that luck goes hand in hand with work and sacrifice. To become someone in football, I gave up my childhood. That’s hard. You see how your friends go to the movies, they go out at night, and you always have to say, “I can’t.” I was already training with Sevilla at the age of 16 and had a professional life. So, I had to give up a lot of the things people at the age do to be able to get to where I am today. When Caparrós called me up, I was still in school, and since the training sessions of the first team took place at the same time as classes, I couldn’t even go to school!
Q: Did Joaquín Caparrós change your life?
A: Yes. Not every coach puts faith in footballers without fame or experience like he did with that Sevilla team. I will be eternally grateful to him because he gave me affection, he taught me professionalism, he showed me the importance of sacrifice and of keeping one’s hopes up… The day that I don’t have hope anymore is the day that I’ll be lost. I always search for a new source of motivation and I’ve always set goals and sought to complete them. When I got called up to the first team, it was a dream to be able to be with Javi Navarro, Pablo Alfaro, Notario, Darío Silva… with time, I realize the impact those veterans had on my career. I was a very formal kid, quite annoying, but like a sponge. They made it clear to me that it took a lot to get to where they were, and that I had to take advantage of the opportunity. They always told me, “never be overly confident, because one day you could easily lose everything.”
Q: You’ve won basically the same trophies with the national team as with Madrid.
A: It’s true. Two Ligas and one Supercopa for one World Cup and one Eurocopa. The truth is that I would like to win more titles with Madrid.
Q: In Liechtenstein, the team showed that they’re not resting on their laurels.
A: I’m proud of that. It would be wrong to be overly confident. Going onto the field as champions of the world doesn’t make sense because football doesn’t have a memory. We know that the correct thing to do is to be humble and work hard. I said before that it’s important to stay hopeful. In that sense, having the chance to become the first team to win three consecutive titles helps us to stay motivated.
Q: Tomorrow, you play against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
A: I have a lot of desire to play this game. I don’t like airplanes, and I like long trips even less because of jet lag and those things, but this was worth it to be able to play against Argentina in such an important stadium like that of River. I’ve been told [by Pipita???] that the atmosphere is unique and I’m really want to experience it. I’ve always said that La Roja doesn’t play friendlies and that’s true against Argentina.
Q: Although you have to face Messi?
A: I admire Messi. He’s one of the best in the world. Argentina has great players, but when you look at Spain, you come to the same conclusion.
Q: Who would you give The Golden Ball to?
A: I would like a Spaniard to win it, or Welly [ok, it says Wesley Snejider, but I imagine Sergio saying “Welly” to the interviewer], who’s a friend of mine.