VDB at XLSemanal
This week’s XLSemanal is dedicated to this year’s winners of the Príncipe de Asturias awards. The Spanish national team is represented by Vicente del Bosque, who was interviewed inside.
In case you were wondering, information on the other winners can be found here.
Q: You are, today, the only thing we all agree on; you’re on a pedestal. At what point does flattery become dangerous?
A: You can’t lose sight of who you are, that should always be clear to you. But anyway, winning the World Cup makes people happy, especially with the crisis. They say good things about you, they thank you for making them happy.
Q: Did you have to convince your parents to let you play football professionally?
A: I didn’t have to convince them of anything. It happened and one day I went to Real Madrid.
Q: You were 17 years old. What did your mother tell you when you left?
A: To behave.
Q: You never thought about being working on the railroad, like your father and grandfather?
A: No, no. I studied teaching. I was going to be a teacher, but since I was also good at football, I gave that up.
Q: Were you a good student?
A: Good enough to study that profession.
Q: Did you copy off of others during exams?
A: No, I was too much of a chicken to cheat (laughs).
Q: Did anyone in your family stop working when you starting making money?
A: No, no one. Why would they do that?
Q: You coached the youth teams of Real Madrid. Did that work with the boys influence your form of educating your own children?
A: The two things crossed paths, but, believe me, it’s much more difficult to educate your kids than those of others (laughs).
Q: After the appearance of your son Álvaro in la Moncloa, during the celebration of the World Cup, we received many letters from parents of children with Down’s syndrome that were grateful that he was there…
A: Oh really? That’s great, but the person that was most grateful for him being there was he himself, he had a great time (laughs).
Q: In December, you turns 60. Does that worry you?
A: I find it hard to believe; time passes by so quickly. I don’t feel old, but I do remember things from a long time ago.
Q: What comes to mind when you think about your childhood?
A: That I spent all day playing football.
Q: And what about your first love, your first kiss?
A: My first kiss? Well, it’s better not to remember it (laughs) but the love of my life is my wife.
Q: How long have you had that mustache?
A: (Laughs). From the time I was young. It was my wife’s idea, she liked men with mustaches, she told me that it looked good on me.
Q: Spain has always had the potential to be champions, but… what changed that allowed it to take the next step?
A: There were good generations before, but this one, like the country, has reached a European level. This inferiority complex with respect to other countries has been broken.
Q: Is that what you’re referring to when you talk about the “ghost of the quarterfinals?”
A: Maybe, but that’s already history.
Q: Psychologically speaking, did you deal with the quarterfinals in a special way in South Africa?
A: In the locker room, I never felt that obsession that a lot of people and the press have with the quarterfinals. We were in a difficult situation after the loss to Switzerland, which created tension, nerves. The keys to success were the maturity of the players, the fact that no one blamed anyone, the maintenance of our ideology, the maintenance of our routine through the rest of the tournament… And a bit of luck, of course.
Q: Luck was important, no?
A: No one can deny that. There were other teams before ours that deserved to win, but didn’t have luck.
Q: And admitting to your own defects?
A: That’s fundamental to improving and overcoming.
Q: What are yours?
A: Nothing in particular. I try to be myself, but I don’t think a lot about my defects.
Q: With Real Madrid, you won two Champions Leagues, one Intercontinental, one European Supercup, two Spanish Supercups, and one day after your second Liga they fired you. Your conclusion?
A: That success is fleeting and overvalued. That’s life! No matter how much you win, you’re just one more.
Q: Were you the first one to be surprised by how quickly success came when you coached Real Madrid?
A: Yes, a bit (laughs). But, of course, I had some of the best players in the world on that team.