spotlight on… Fernando Llorente
UPDATED with another interview/test, with bonus Álvaro Domínguez!
With la selección playing in La Rioja, all eyes were on their native son, Fernando Llorente. Also very much in demand was the Llorente family, as Cuatro and TVE visited them to get their thoughts on this special event. And TVE forever has my gratitude, because they also decided to get Javi’s (!!!) opinion. So, let’s start with Silvia Barba. By the way, I love Fernando’s voice, and his very sunny personality. And when he and Javi (!!!) are together…
Silvia headed to Rincón de Soto to speak with Isabel and Fernando (Senior), Fernando Llorente’s parents, before returning to Logroño to speak with Javi (!!!) and Fernando himself. There’s bonus Javi (!!!) at the end, since his family also came to visit him. I know this clip is supposed to be about Fer, but Javi (!!!) stole the show for me with his adorable answer, his laugh, his affection towards his nephew (or cousin or something else, I’m not sure, but I do like the thought of Uncle Javi!!!) and his cheekbones. Watch the video here.
SB: we would like to present Isabel and Fernando. They’re not the Cathlolic Monarchs, but rather Fernando Llorente’s parents. Twenty-six years ago, he was born in this house which is being renovated now [note: Fernando was actually born in Pamplona]. Here is where a world champion grew up.
IT: he was taking piano classes, clarinet classes, he did very well in school, he never wanted anyone to beat him in school or in football or in anything.
FL: he’s happy in Athleti, and so he’ll continue for as long as God wants.
SB: his parents look at his photographs, and there are many untold stories [skipping some unimportant things].
At Las Gaunas, we find our protagonist Fernando Llorente, and his friend on the national team, Javi Martínez.
JM: how would I define him? Tall, handsome… a great player [that’s how I would define Javi (!!!) too! And it’s not the first time Javi (!!!) has said Fer was handsome…].
FLT: it’s wonderful to be here in my land, seeing this atmosphere, seeing how all these people are supporting us…
SB: coincidentally, Javi Martínez’ father was also born in Logroño, so this was a day for football and for families.
[Warning: club related, but too adorable not to post. Fer tweeted a photo of him with Javi (!!!) and Iker Muniain this morning. I love how Iker is standing on the bench, and only barely taller than Javi (!!!) and Fer. What does Javi (!!!) have in his mouth? And those shirts always make me think of strawberries.]
MM: today is a very special day in La Rioja, in La Ribera, in Rincón de Soto. We’re in the patio of the Llorente family house, and we have here Isabel and Fernando, who are going to have a very emotional day today.
FL: today is going to be a special day for La Rioja and for us, since our son is playing here.
So blond and with so much hair, no?
MM: very emotional, no?
IT: very, and also a lot of excitement and joy.
MM: his first official game with La Roja in La Rioja is more emotional than going to South Africa, or seeing him with the star on his chest?
IT: all those things were very exciting, the experience in the World Cup was unforgettable, we enjoyed it a lot. A lot. There was a lot of tension during the games, but we had a great time. But for him coming back to La Rioja is like returning to his heart.
MM: when he was 12, he left for Bilbao…
FL: it was very hard for us, because he was so young, but he was set on it. We spent almost the entire way from here to Bilbao crying.
MM: over there is where he took his first kicks at the ball when he was three years old.
FL: right here, in the garage, in the doorway, everywhere.
IT: I was the only one to tell him, stop playing and come to eat. And while he was eating, he would continue kicking the ball around under the table. I would say, but what are you doing with the ball, take it outside!
MM: we saw Fernando in the hotel, and he wants to say something to you.
FLT: hola papá, mamá, today is a very special day for me because it’s the first time I’m playing with the national team in my land. I know that you are also very proud that I’m here, I hope you have a great time coming to watch us in Las Gaunas, and that we qualify.
IT: I hope you score a goal. A kiss.
FL: he’s great.
We also get to see all the spots in Rincón de Soto that are special to Fernando Llorente, with a special guide, his brother Chus.
CL: there’s my house, on this street, as you can see, right here. And this is the street where Fernando took his first kicks at a ball. There’s no danger because it’s a dead end. He was four or five. This is where it all started. The street is the same as it was now.
This is the school, the Eduardo González Gallarza, and this is where he began to play futsal. Let’s go see the field now.
This is the hangout where the boys would come play the video game machines, buy some candy… There’s a photo of Fernando here, from Marca, playing futbolín with some friends.
This is the shirt that Fernando gave to us Rinconeros, he gave one to all of us because he didn’t have enough for each of us. It’s from the Honduras game. (The shirt says: for all the Rinconeros, from your neighbor.) It’s here for all the Rinconeros to enjoy. Yes, he is the pride of the town.
He went from playing futsal to playing for Funes, and later for River Ebro, playing association football, he was one year younger than all his teammates. He was only here for one year before going to Athleti.
There is also one more video, which I can’t find now, but it also interviews Fernando and his parents.
FLT: it’s a huge change, leaving your family at the age of 12, the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.
IT: it was his decision, we didn’t want him to go, not for anything in the world. But he went.
FLT: I knew that I wanted to be a footballer, and to achieve that goal, I had to go live in Bilbao.
They [the pears] are wonderful, really, you have to try them because they’re incredible.
Punto Pelota and Irene Junquera also headed to the Ciudad de Fútbol to subject Álvaro Domínguez and Fernando Llorente to their test. Watch it here. I think the fact that Fernando says his principal defect is that sometimes he’s too good of a person just shows what a good person he is.
FL: Floris. Etxeberria gave it to me one day when we were playing cards. It’s a long story.
AD: getting up using my right foot.
FL: I don’t have any.
AD: Fernando Hierro.
The atmosphere in the national team is…
AD: … very healthy.
FL: … incredible, fantastic. (Are you sure?) Yes, yes.
Your best friend on the national team.
AD: Botía, Montoya, Mata…
FL: I don’t know, all of them. Pepe, el Guaje…
The trait you can’t stand in another person.
FL: when they’re insincere.
AD: I’m not the right person to judge this… I don’t know, humility?
FL: a virtue? I don’t know. Others should answer this.
AD: I’m stubborn.
FL: at times, I’m too much of a good person.
Your favorite food.
AD: fried egg sandwich.
FL: Cuban-style rice.
Your favorite music.
AD: I like Maldita Nerea a lot.
FL: I like everything… the hits, house, a mix.
FL: Law Abiding Citizen.
The best thing about being a footballer.
AD: the hope you bring to the people.
FL: we’re privileged, because we do what we love, and in my case, scoring a goal is the maximum.
The worst thing about being a footballer.
AD: you have a bad time of it when you lose and you’re criticized by everyone.
FL: the worst? When you have moments where things aren’t going well you.
The best team in the Liga.
AD: Barça. There’s more differences than we would like in the Liga, but right things are just like that.
FL: there are two big teams that are ahead of all the others, Barça and Madrid. And the rest of us are there. It’s complicated for a team other than those two to win the Liga, but that’s the way it is.
AD: sacrifice, humility and hope.
FL: work hard to achieve your goals.
AD: a great program, with great (female) presenters.
FL: I watch it sometimes, it’s a fun show.
Alvarito has a great smile!!