el mundo en nuestras manos – Chapter 7
Another chapter of EMENM, another off on a tangent adventure with Pepe Reina.
I’m sorry Pepe, but the attempts to draw parallels between your own life while keeping the chapter focus on one of your teammates are at best laughable. And don’t even get me started on how you transition between the subjects…
Chapter 7: Poch
“With the 21, from the Canary Islands, with his sambita, with his jokes, with his art. Over here, over there, the feint, now yes, now no… I’ll put it in for you, take it back. The poni, he’s 1.40m tall… David Silva!”
He was mentioned as a possible starter. In fact, David Silva started the first game. And people ended up believing that he had paid the price for the defeat to Switzerland. That’s as far from the truth as you can get. It was already difficult enough to play on a team filled with so many great players, but David also had to assume that he wasn’t going to be used. Despite that, in the training sessions, no one could tell that he had lost his status as a starter. He continued fighting.
We were in South Africa one year ago. The Confederations Cup had allowed us to get to know the stadiums and the atmosphere, as well as the weather that we would face. It was the winter, and it was then that we understood the problems the South American players have with the change of seasons when they leave behind their European teams to play with their national teams on the other side of the Atlantic. We were confident that we would have the longest period of adaptation possible: a month…
I associate our arrival in Poch with David Silva. El Poni was the protagonist for various reasons in South Africa, both in the present and in the future. Each time he spoke with the press, the poor thing had to answer more questions about where he was going to play next season than what he expected in the World Cup. And that’s the way it was until June 30, when Valencia and Manchester City announced his transfer. I think it was a liberation for him, the same one that David Villa had before the World Cup when his signing with Barcelona was made official. El Guaje could thus only think about what he was going to do in South Africa. Everything else had already been resolved.
Once we were installed in the country that would be the site of our road to glory, we were prohibited from doing something that didn’t affect me in the least: using social networks. Ok, I’ll confess. For me, that’s a completely foreign world. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter or anything like that.
From what they tell me, my teammates use those things to update their fans. In the locker room, there are several masters in these social networks. Puyol, Arbeloa, Iniesta, Cesc… they’re typing away the entire day. When they start talking about these things, I don’t even try to understand and I go join another conversation. I know nothing about it at all.
In spite of that, everyone accepted the regulation. After seeing what had happened with other national teams, I think that was the best decision possible. It helped to make everything more tranquil, and in the end, everything was.
I don’t worry about all things technological, because I have el Guaje Villa, who takes charge of providing me with every new thing that appears on the market. He convinced me to buy an iPad. He took charge of loading it with music, videos and movies. Since we get along so well, he knows what I like and he doesn’t usually go wrong with his selections. And Sergio Ramos is another reason why the long hours of the concentración weren’t so boring, because I share his love for flamenquito and he knows what the best music is for each situation.
[Six pages into the chapter, and no mention of David Silva, apart from the introduction, so I’m going to stick a picture in.]
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why this team was so successful. We’re not strangers who get together once in a while to play. We’re friends, first and foremost. You might get along better with some, but I understood a long time ago that you spend more time in the locker room than in your own house. I’ve known Villa for 10 years. Sergio Ramos, for seven. And even though this was his first time with the national team, I’ve shared dreams and experiences with Víctor Valdés from the time we were 13 until I left Barcelona. It took only one look for all of us to understand each other.
Upon seeing the faces of my teammates on this bus and remembering every moment of the last month, I conclude that we’re normal and common people. We know that we’re privileged to be able to do what what we like. We know there’s no star in this group. I believe we’ve shown that during this month and a half in the concentración. And with Luis Aragonés, when a football team was created. We played as if we spent every day with the others on the team, instead of once a month, the reality.
[Pepe somehow manages to thank the journalists covering the team in the next paragraph. There really is no transition. Then he talks about other national teams. And now, we’re on the last page and at last the words “David Silva” appear.]
We weren’t even distracted by the market rumors or the confirmation of signings. David Silva was the only one that had an uncertain future. In addition, it was happening during a moment when he had arrived in South Africa as a theoretical starter and was losing his place on the field.
In spite of this, and with the help of Marchena and Mata, who were always looking out for him [my favorite part of the chapter!], he showed that he was yet another example of how everyone on this team was going in the same direction. The player who ends up not playing knows that he has to work as much as the player who ends up coming off the field. The affectionate, respectful and pleasant David didn’t stop being David for a single instant, even as he lost his starting position.
Now, looking at him in Madrid as a world champion and knowing that this year I’ll have him as a rival in the Premier, I remember those weeks right before I left Villarreal for Liverpool. There are few coaches as persistent as Rafa Benítez when he wants to get a “yes” out of a player. In Villarreal, we were playing for a spot in the Champions. But each morning, he would call me to try to convince me that I was wanted in Anfield. Both the club and I had clear positions, but he continued insisting and finally he got my affirmative response.
Those could be moments of doubt, because you’re changing not only a city but a country. But with each day that goes by, I’m more proud and satisfied of the decision I made. I’m sure Silva will feel the same as soon as he adapts to England.
[See? Pepe names the chapter “Poch” and there’s basically no mention of Poch at all!!!]