Fernando Llorente at Marca
Fernando Llorente gave an interview to Marca the other day, which revealed some interesting things, among them that he loves watching “Gran Hermano” (the Spanish version of “Big Brother”). It’s a really great interview, and worth reading all the way until the end, when Fernando tells us which ones of his La Roja teammates he would cast in a movie, and in which type of roles!
Q: What do you need to become a star?
A: I need to improve and to continue gaining confidence, and not stagnate. In that way, there will come a time when I’m prepared. It’s true that I’ve had a trial by fire with the national team, and I’m happy about that.
Q: Things couldn’t have been easy for you, since you’re 1.94m tall.
A: And 90 kg. When I debuted with the first team, I wasn’t fully grown yet. My body wasn’t formed. I often got cramps. There were times when I just couldn’t play. I’ve had a bad time with back pains, and I’ve spent a lot of time in physiotherapy and in treatment.
Q: At least you have a doctor at home.
A: I’m always concerned with being in the best possible condition. I live for that, in order to be a footballer. And yes, María does help me in a lot of things, but she’s not a specialist in sports medicine. She’s studying endocrinology. [I included this because a lot of people have asked me if Fernando has a girlfriend.]
Q: The day that you have a kid, would you allow history to repeat itself by letting him leave home at the age of 11 to become a footballer?
A: (Smiles). Good question! This makes me think that my parents were very courageous. I still don’t know what it feels like to be separated from a child, but my mother always said that it’s very difficult.
Q: You were the baby of the family.
A: I was the smallest. My brother is 15 years older than me, and is like a second father to me, in addition to being my agent. My sister is 12 years older than me. It was hard for me as well because leaving your mami and papi at that age is terrible. I would cry in bed at night. But I was lucky because I was taken to the house of a family that had the confidence of Amorrortu. They’re my family here in Bilbao.
Q: It’s always been said that you were a sensible kid surrounded by adults, but where you really matured is with the national team.
A: A marvelous experience! I experienced things there that I wasn’t accustomed to. Moments that made me mature. I’ve learned from my teammates, who are the best players in the world.
Q: From your height of almost two meters, how do you see those “magos bajitos” [short wizards]?
A: Playing alongside those… they are incredible in how they control the football. When you play with them, you don’t touch the ball as often as you do with my club team. In the last several games, I’ve received great passes.
Q: On La Roja, you’re a starter when it comes to play cards.
A: Playing cards is my vice (laughs) and on the team we play at a high level. Reina, Iker, Villa, me… The level is higher than that with Athletic.
Q: This also requires a lot of practice. Your grandmother taught you how to play when you were five.
A: She taught me how to play brisca [a Spanish card game], and of course, she always beat me. Apparently, I always got mad at her, and I would cheat. I don’t do that anymore! Now, it’s all about fair play. When I play poker, I don’t even like to bluff.
Q: You have a quality that you share with Cesc. Your teammates call the two of you “empanaos.”
A: Cesc is the most empanao, ok? I’m not that absentminded anymore. When I lived in a residence, I always misplaced my keys, so the older players would take them. When I returned to my room, I would find a towel where there used to be a door. And all the furniture was in the bathroom (laughs). The last scare I had with the national team was when they gave us time to take a nap, and I don’t know what I did with the alarm clock, but I arrived late for dinner, it was awful. It appeared to me to be a lack of respect for the group.
Q: Will this be the last scare?
A: (Pauses). Well, I just lost my national identity card. [Jajajaja!!!!]
Q: And on the field, this type of thing doesn’t happen to you? There are people that say yes.
A: Who said that? In any case, maybe I’ve gotten past that since I’ve played for so many years. I’m really less absentminded now and I’ve learned not to lose my keys, to have everything in its place, everything in order. I can spent a lot of time organizing my clothes, for example. I get into my own world and hours pass.
Q: What makes you nervous?
A: [Thinks for a long time]. I don’t know what to say. I’m a very calm person.
Q: Including when you went entered the game against Portugal?
A: No, no, not then. In the beginning, the interviews and press conferences made me nervous. Now, if I have something important to do, I get butterflies in my stomach. For example, the tribute that my hometown gave me or when I went on El Hormiguero or during the presentation of the Prince of Asturias award, when I was surrounded by important people.
You don’t know how excited I was to be part of this award and to meet up again with some of my teammates and the prince.
Q: You have a certain resemblance to the prince.
A: You think so? He’s taller than me! He’s huge!
Q: What interests you besides sports?
A: Traveling! I even like the trips I make with the team. There’s not a lot of time to see things, but you learn about places that you might go back to one day. I remember a trip to Tromsø, in the north of Norway, close to the North Pole. We went up a mountain that had a wonderful view, an incredible lake and fjords. I love traveling, and also movies.
Q: In a hypothetical casting of roles for a movie, would you be the leading man?
A: Me, the star? Maybe that would be Gerard Piqué. The most mischievous character would go to Santi Cazorla, and the most fun to Pepe Reina. And Xavi Hernández would plan the robbery [YES, YES and YES!!]. As you know, I’d be the most laid-back character.