the list & more
The list: VDB revealed the list of players called up for the friendlies against the U.S. (June 4) and Venezuela (June 7) today. I think this is the most eagerly anticipated list since the World Cup one, but not for the same reasons. In the end, VDB went with his habitual players.
Goalkeepers: Iker, Pepe, Valdés.
Defenders: Sergio, Arbeloa, Albiol, Piqué, Capdevila, Marchena, Iraola.
Midfielders: Iniesta, Xabi, David Silva, Busquets, Cazorla, Bruno, Borja Valero.
Forwards: Villa, Llorente, Torres, Pedro, Negredo, Manu del Moral.
In the end, Sergio Busquets is staying with the senior team, despite his desire to play with the U-21 team, because Barcelona was against it. Meanwhile, Carles Puyol, Xavi, Jesús Navas and Cesc are all absent due to injury or getting a rest, and Manu del Moral (now of Sevilla, but most recently with Getafe) gets his first call-up. The team will begin their concentración on May 31, as they’re cited to be at Las Rozas at 13h. They will leave for the U.S. on June 1 at 18h.
After he announced the list, Del Bosque told the journalists gathered for the press conference that he hopes “there are no open wounds” after the clásicos marathon, and said that if there are problems, they would try to solve them. The absences of Puyol and Xavi were explained: “Puyol is suffering a lot with his problem and he will be treated as soon as the CL final is over. I spoke with Xavi, and we believed it wasn’t convenient to bring him because he’s had a very full season and he’s in treatment until the final.”
Manu del Moral was included “for his versatility. He’s in great physical shape and he can play on either of the wings and as a forward. He’s fast and he can bring us freshness.” Meanwhile, Negredo won the spot over Roberto Soldado because “I want to maintain the group from the last concentración… and he’s shown he’s one of the best forwards in Spain.” VDB also defended the choice of Fernando Torres, who hasn’t had a good season: “we’re at the end of the season and we don’t want to open any new debates at this moment. He’s a stable player in the group.” He also expressed his desire to “end this season with the bloc from the World Cup.”
And I have to add this, because, well, you’ll see. The last question VDB received was about Javi (!!!); he was asked what his opinion of Javi Martínez (!!!) is. The response: “in the last game that we played against Lithuania, he was a starter, he’s had an excellent season in terms of quality and quantity of games.”
Since we won’t be seeing Cesc: here’s a picture of him watching F1 in Montmeló last weekend.
La Rojita’s got one too: the U-21 list of the 23 players for the upcoming Euro in Denmark will be revealed tomorrow morning by Luis Milla. Their concentración starts on May 30, there is a friendly against Russia on June 5 in Soria, and the tournament runs from June 11-25. Two of the players expected to be on that list: Javi Martínez (!!!) and Ander Herrera, seen here taking the train (and snapped and tweeted by Iker Muniain) on Tuesday. For another tweeted picture of La Roja club teammates, head to Joan Capdevila’s picture here (four of these players are on the latest list!!).
It’s quite catchy: several of our players, including David Villa, Pepe Reina and Sergio Ramos, have collaborated with singer Huecco in his new song. They participated in the videoclip of the song “Dame vida” (Give me life), whose proceeds will to help out Haiti (the players are seen kicking a ball around, and with each touch, energy accumulates until it has enough energy to reach Haiti). Short clips will be released each day until June 2, when the finished product will be presented in Providence, the “headquarters” of La Roja during their American trip. Click here to see David Villa looking much more comfortable with a ball, and even singing, than with a guitar!
In good hands: VDB, Fernando Llorente and (por favor) Juan Mata all attended the Fútbol Draft awards yesterday in Madrid. The majority of the players of the U-19 team, who have been living and training together this week at Las Rozas ahead of the elite round for the U-19 Euro, received awards, so they showed up dressed alike and looking adorable, especially MFC.
It’s for “work”: Iker and Sara flew off to Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday, for “work” (in quotations because I don’t believe constant flipping your hair around while a camera films you can be considered work when you’re supposed to be talking about sports). Telecinco is producing a special about La Roja to coincide with the first anniversary of their World Cup victory, and they’ve “hired” Iker to be part of this report, which will be filmed this week in South Africa. Knowing Telecinco, they are probably going to make Iker and Sara repeat The Kiss, label it wrong and then air it endlessly on their insufferable gossip shows, as they really know how to commercialize the relationship their reporter has with the captain of the Spanish national team.
Iker + Soccer City = recuerdos tan maravillosos.
Anyway, the special is called “The day when we lived a dream” (El día que vivimos un sueño), and will take a look back at the final against the Netherlands, with new footage, and visit some of the sites that were so important to the Spanish national team in their quest for World Cup success. It will air on July 10, and also include thoughts from Vicente del Bosque.
Golden boy: Jesús Navas was honored by the province of Sevilla yesterday during the day of the province with their gold medal (I remember writing about this date back in July, when the team had just won the World Cup and the tributes were rolling in and thinking how far away that was, and now it’s happened! Can you believe it’s almost been a year since World Cup glory?). Sergio Ramos and Carlos Marchena were also honored, but couldn’t make the ceremony, as neither was in the city at the time. Perhaps Sergio was off preparing for the upcoming concentración‘s bingo tournament?
Watch a video of Jesús here – he looks fantastic (minus the perhaps a tad too big belt buckle) until the camera pans down and we see he’s wearing sneakers. Those eyes are so gorgeous, no?
Also honored with the gold medal and looking gorgeous: Eva González, Iker’s ex-girlfriend. You can see her in the video.
I love the captain: La Rojita has sponsors too! Here they are in an ad for Prima ketchup.
Meanwhile, German tire maker Continental has signed on to continue sponsoring the senior national team until 2014, so that their tires will still be “the official tire of the Spanish national football team.” They’ve been with La Roja since 2008, and they’re also one of the sponsors of the 2014 World Cup. Remember when Iker was promoting their tires?