Xabi Alonso at Revolution
Remember this? Well DT Lux has returned to the stylish and classy Xabi Alonso for one of their other magazines, Revolution (not to be confused with this slightly sad effort), which focuses on watches. Xabi was the cover boy of their Winter 2011 edition, which came with this interview. They describe him as “simple, humble and sincere… pure class and elegance.” De acuerdo. (Except that I have to add that Xabi would make the worst watch model ever, because your attention would always be on him, never the watch.)
Note: I was originally going to post this on the Madrid blog, but since there are more questions related to La Roja, I moved it here. However, I’ve included the Madrid questions, despite my policy of not talking about clubs here, because I’m not going to do a separate post for a few questions and because if there’s anyone that transcends club loyalties, it’s Xabi Alonso. If you’re not a Madrid fan, just skip over those parts. It’s as simple as that.
Q: Almost six months after South Africa, do you now understand what it means to be a world champion?
A: I don’t think so. It’s something that none of us have been able to assimilate. The maelstrom of football doesn’t allow you to. You end the World Cup only to dive right into a new season of the Liga… and the demands continue. I’m sure that several years will have to pass by before we’re really conscious of what we achieved. I would even go so far as to say that until we reach another final, we won’t realize how difficult it really was to get to where we got to.
Q: I believe that you hadn’t even planned on dedicating yourself to football on a professional level, is that true?
A: Two years before I debuted with the first team [of Real Sociedad], I wasn’t even on one of their youth teams. Everything happened very quickly, although I had the luck of having everything go well. It all went very quickly.
Q: What is the secret of this national team?
A: The team fights together, although there are a lot of other things as well. The principal thing is that everyone has been sufficiently generous enough not to put their own interests or individual talents above the collective. I would say that in general, this team has humility and all the components of the team know where to be in each moment. We’re a team without many complications.
Q: In what moment of the World Cup did you all begin to believe you could caress the Cup, to believe it was possible to win it?
A: Caressing the Cup is not something you do until the referee blows the final whistle… although I believe the point of inflection came after the match-up with Chile. It was a very intense moment, with great responsibility. Once we were past the round of 16, I began to believe that we had a very good opportunity. I knew that it was complicated, but also that we had an immense opportunity.
A: I think so. It will be a bit complicated to complete the trophy set. Even though you’ve achieved important things, you always want more… The motivation is there because you always want more, because you’re ambitious and because you do what you like. In addition, I’ve had the luck of being on good teams that fight for titles.
[Wouldn’t it be the other way around, that Xabi is the one that makes teams good enough to fight for titles?]
A: I don’t know what to say… some of us will be a bit older, and four years in football is a lot, but it’s clear that we are the favorites for the Eurocopa…
Q: And what explanation do you have for what occurred against Argentina and Portugal? Should we be worried about these defeats?
A: I think that these games should serve to help us analyze and assess ourselves. Being world champions doesn’t mean you’re going to win games automatically and if you don’t continue at the same level, you’re going to suffer painful defeats like we did. The best thing about them is that they will help us to look ahead, to achieve more things in the future.
Q: If Madrid doesn’t win anything this year, do you think that Florentino might starting believing in that Barcelona is more than a club thing?
A: No, I believe that those are different things. Barça is Barça and Madrid is Madrid, and we’re going for everything. In addition, we have a lot of hope, even though we don’t know what will happen at the end of the season. What is clear is that we’re going to fight.
Q: Has Mourinho changed the locker room of Madrid? Does he really control everything, as it appears from the outside?
A: Yes, the truth is yes. Mourinho is a coach with a lot of experience and he knows how to manage teams. In reality, there are no big secrets because the team is young, they’re ok with that and he knows how to make us work.
Hot professor Xabi? Sí! Secret agent Xabi? Sí! (But I think they overdid it with the Photoshopping…)
Q: And what can you tell me about his character? Is he a provocateur or is it part of the spectacle?
A: No, I believe that Mourinho has a very defined personality. He has very clear ideas and opinions and some people like that, but others don’t. I have no complaints as a player.
Q: You like Madrid, but Donosti is in your heart… when your contract with this club ends, will you return to San Sebastián to end your career? Have you thought about that at all?
A: It’s too early to talk about this, since I can’t tell you what things will happen to me in the next four or five years.
Q: How is Xabi Alonso when he’s not wearing the shirt of Madrid or La Roja? Are you preoccupied with following the latest trends?
A: I usually pay attention, but I don’t worry about it in the least. I usually put on what I like, independently of whether it’s in or not. I don’t place any importance on fashion.
Q: I believe your weaknesses are shoes and… watches.
A: That’s what I usually invest in. I usually pay attention to accessories.
Q: What types of watches are your style?
A: A bit of everything, depending on what the occasion requires. It’s not the same going to a training session or a concentración than it is to a more formal place that requires a different style. I have approximately 12 watches, of all different styles. I like to combine them.
A: I thought the Calibre Tourbillon Volant in rose gold was elegant, classy, refined… [like him!]
Q: Do you remember what your first watch was?
A; A Breitling.
Q: And your latest one?
A: A piece from Audemars Piguet.
Q: Do you ever give watches as gifts?
A: Yes… to special people.
Q: In those cases, what do you look for? Technical specs, appearance… what helps you to make up your mind?
A: When I buy a watch for someone, I do it because I believe I can identify that watch with that person, that it has something of them in it.
Q: So do you believe that a watch can define the personality of the wearer?
A: No so much as to define a person, but I do believe that it shows part of the personality of the person who wears it.
Q: And what would the piece that defines the personality of Xabi Alonso be like?
A: Ufff… that’s difficult to say… I don’t like to define myself. [I can do that easily, just look at the adjectives in the first paragraph.]