I not only love Javi (!!!) but also those other 22 guys as well
The latest from La Rojita Denmark, plus interviews with Javi Martínez (!!!), José Ángel Valdés, Dídac Vilà, Thiago and Iker Muniain!
A couple more pictures from the boating expedition on the boat Tranen yesterday, via the RFEF and Ander. If it were anyone else but Javi (!!!), I would just have updated the previous post, but since it’s Javi (!!!), he gets special treatment. Plus, I’m on a mission to have as many pictures of Javi as I can on the front page of my blog. I don’t think that will upset anyone, right?
The RFEF also provided a video. Highlights include the boys looking at their mobiles instead of the view, Azpi taking a photo for Ander and Javi (!!!), and the weird music.
The players also got to play some mini-golf (between these outings and the fun they have in training, it seems kind of like they are in Denmark on a school vacation, no?). After that, they got to have a barbecue, and Javier Arbizu even prepared some tortilla de patatas at their request!
And a fun anecdote from yesterday’s training session. Diego Mariño ended the session upset with Rubén Pérez, because Rubén scored a vaselina against him, prompting Diego to say, “Thiago and Ander can do that, but you, no.”
Today, the team had a technical chat in the morning about their next rival, Ukraine (Saturday, 20:45 in Herning). David de Gea, Rubén Pérez and José Ángel Valdés spoke to the press, the team had lunch and then free time. At 18h, they’ll travel to Herning, where they will train at 19h. After that, Luis Milla and David de Gea will speak to the press again. Dinner will follow, then bedtime!
Interviews and the like
Javi Martínez (!!!)
AS interviewed Javi (!!!) and provided this wonderful photo. What a great smile!!! Tienes la cara más bonita que yo haya visto jamás…
Javi Martínez is the motor of any team. Just one year ago, he had the best experience of his life, when he helped Spain to win their first-ever World Cup. Now, he’s doing the same with the U-21 team in Denmark.
One year ago, you were in South Africa, freezing and beginning a dream that is still hard to believe is real: world champions.
Yes, what a great experience. I remember so many things from back then that it’s better not to even think about it, since right now we have to concentrate on something as wonderful as this Eurocopa.
But Iniesta’s goal in the 116th minute, Javi…
Buffff… I only remember that I was so nervous. I don’t know what I was doing on the bench, but I was doing it nervously [I love him so much].
And now, one year later, you’re in Denmark helping the U-21 team.
It’s not anything less. I’ve been playing with the national team since I was 16 and the least I could do is help out when it’s required of me, like right now [I love him even more]. In addition, the objective is great…
The Olympic Games. Does it motivate you?
Very much so. It’s a different and unique competition. It’s something that a footballer normally does not get to experience during his career.
Would it be very special for you to play in London? Do you have this dream?
Well, I don’t know if we’ll get to live with the athletes from other sports, because the football sites are usually far away from where all the action is. But I do get excited thinking about the 100m dash final, for example, enjoying the speed of Usain Bolt. It will really be incredible.
Judging by what we saw against the Czech Republic, you’re on the right path. Was it difficult to start the tournament, like the World Cup?
They’re different competitions. We played a good game in the debut against England, but we couldn’t get the win. The coach told us afterward that we were on the right path. And we can’t fail. With a victory, we have many possibilities to advance and we need responsibility, concentration and professionalism. We depend on ourselves.
Were you surprised by how rough the Czechs played to try and stop you all?
They and Ukraine are both very physical teams, with powerful people in the middle and in the defense. This strength is what always characterizes them. What we didn’t like was how the referee gave them so much leeway and carded us for telling him that.
You all look comfortable with the ball, playing a style that reminds one of the senior team.
It’s the way we play. We try to dominate the game. We have to have the ball. It’s very easy to play with these people and to protect your back in the midfield. You just have to give them the ball and they take care of the rest. They have a lot of quality, just like the senior team. Watching them is a pleasure.
What have you done to arrive in such good shape after such a long season? [Yes, he’s in excellent shape!!!]
It’s true that I’m feeling great. That week of rest we had after the Liga ended was marvelous. I went to Ibiza and recharged.
Do you feel that the team needs to score more, or were they judged prematurely after the debut?
In the debut, we weren’t able to close out the game. That was the only thing. But against the Czechs, we played with our hearts and with the pride that we have inside. Adrián’s two goals are great for him, because it gives him and everyone else confidence. We realized we were capable to playing well and scoring goals. [Spoken like a true captain.]
The Olympic Games are closer than ever. But first, we have to at least tie with Ukraine and for England to beat the Czech Republic. Is it possible?
Why not? We took a giant step forward with the win the other day, and now we have to beat Ukraine as well. It’s the first final. That’s how we’re thinking.
What would you prefer to do next summer, play in the Eurocopa or in the Olympics?
(Smiles) Both! It’s like having to choose between your papá or your mamá! [I love him]. Perhaps the Olympics are a different challenge, but I’ll go wherever I’m told to go with all the excitement in the world.
José Ángel Valdés & Dídac Vilà
José Ángel Valdés and Dídac Vilà also spoke with AS. As they’re both leftbacks, the conversation naturally centered on Joan Capdevila, their reference on the senior team. Since Joan is now 33, the RFEF is looking for a substitute (although even after Joan retires, he should continue traveling with the team, just for the jokes). And these two have a good chance at making the jump to the senior team. Dídac says, “we’re here to show that we can be counted in our position. Capdevila is spectacular and exemplary. With his maturity [on the field, obviously], he’s won a Eurocopa and a World Cup. I was always a fullback. From the time I was small, the only thing I knew how to do was run, and that’s why they put me there.” Meanwhile José Ángel “Cote” reveals, “I started in the midfield. Bit by bit, my position was pushed back and here I am now. Dreaming of playing with the senior team is great. We’re here following the footsteps of the great Capdevila.” By the way, for Madrid fans, Dídac looks a bit like Paco Pavón, no?
Thiago & Iker Muniain
And Marca spoke to Thiago and Iker Muniain. There’s a lot of technical stuff, but I loved this part: each time our protagonists see each other, they begin joking around. Muniain imitates Thiago’s Brazilian accent, Thiago cracks up and a conversation that no one else other than the two of them understands begins. Thiago says he has a “special weakness” for Iker, while Iker says of Thiago, “he’s a footballer that I’m in love with. I always look to him to learn. He not only plays football, he’s magic.”
By the way, Iker’s nickname is “enano,” or midget. This is from bowling the other day. De Gea is “Cabolo,” Bojan is “Farándula” (like Piqué) and Thiago is… Thiago.