Víctor Valdés on Iker Casillas, and more
Víctor Valdés spoke with Luis Martín ahead of this weekend’s clásico, so naturally, all the talk is centered around his club and the upcoming game. However, the interview does open with talk about Valdés’ opposite number in the goal on Saturday, the one and only Iker Casillas, so here it is.
Has your life changed you became a world champion?
Not especially. It changed more when my son was born! The World Cup gave me the opportunity to take one more step up on the professional level. Del Bosque calling me up on the last day gave me a lot of confidence. I will always be grateful to him. On a personal level, it allowed people who didn’t know me to banish that image of me as a strange and controversial person. I have no idea where that came from because I’ve never ever had any problems with any teammates. I wanted to show that I was a team player and I wanted to help in everything. I was also lucky because I got to know Ochotorena, I got to work with Reina once again, and I discovered a Casillas that was unknown to me.
Can you explain what you mean by that?
I discovered that he is a porterazo. ¡Vaya portero! It’s different watching him on TV than having him in front of you. You can tell that he’s very good. But I never had the opportunity of working with him, and the training sessions are where you really see the dimension of a footballer. Iker is impressive… the power he has, the confidence… and he’s a great guy, muy buen tío. We formed a great group, him, Pepe, Ochoto and me. Thanks to them, the World Cup left me, in addition to the satisfaction of winning the title, with the sensation of continuous learning. Since I wasn’t going to play, I tried to help out in each training session and that made me a better goalkeeper, because I could see things from the point of view of someone who didn’t play, a different role, but gratifying as well. In that sense, the World Cup helped me to continue improving.
Are you viewed differently, valued more, now that you’re a world champion?
Yes, it’s always been like that. I repeat, thanks to the World Cup, many people who didn’t know me before has forgotten this image of me as a strange and controversial person, and I have no idea where they got this image. I wanted to show that I was a team player and to help in everything. And I think I achieved that. A lot of people, and not only my teammates, changed their opinion of me. But I’m the same and I view myself the same. I don’t go around saying, “well I won a World Cup, how about you?” Hombre, I do admit that when I see the replica (of the World Cup) that I have at home, I feel good remembering those days. But I don’t like to look at what I’ve won. It’s better to look at what you want to win again. Feeling comfortable with success is not what I’m about.
(We also find out that Carles Busquets, Sergio’s father, is also called Busi.)
You also windsurf.
I do it whenever I can. In the summer, my wife knows we’re going to go somewhere to do that. This year, we’re going to Bonaire, in the Dutch Antilles, and of course, I will pass by Fuerteventura to see my friends, the people of Sotavento. But before that, there’s a whole month of challenges to overcome. But yes, I love windsurfing, the ocean… But also the mountains. I like to be in contact with nature. It gives me life.
That’s why you named your son Dylan, which means “son of the sea” in Welsh.
Yes, for that reason. He’s a phenomenon. I was at the pediatrician with him when Iniesta sent me a message telling me that I was going to the World Cup. He experienced the finals in Valencia and Roma in the belly of his mother… he’s my good luck charm! And you don’t know how much of a culé he is. On game days, his mother puts the shirt of Barça on him, and although he’s still very small, he shouts, “Barça, Barça, Barça!” He likes going to the stadium. He’s with Barça until the death, like his father.