what’s happening and what to expect
The RFEF has a special day planned for today, which is also the first day of the concentración for the England and Costa Rica games. We will get to see the shirt that Spain will wear in the upcoming Euro – hopefully there will be a fashion show where our players strut their stuff in the new tight shirts (I can already imagine how good Javi (!!!), Fernando Llorente and Xabi will look) – which will debut in the friendly against England. I’m guessing the tagline of the campaign will be “el pasado no cuenta.” It better be good, because how are they going to top this?
In addition, many, many honors will be bestowed on several players who have shaped the history of Spanish country football.
Xavi will receive the RFEF’s gold medal for reaching 100 caps. Then the four players who have surpassed 100 caps with their country – Zubizarreta, Iker, Xavi and Raúl – will receive a cap, a commemorative trophy and a medal from UEFA. Raúl will be absent, as he doesn’t have permission from his club, Schalke to attend (they have a double training session today and a friendly scheduled for Friday). ¡Qué lástima!
In addition, the five men who scored historical goals for Spain will also be honored, in the form of paintings by Andrés Sánchez that reproduce the most important goals in Spanish history. They are Andrés Iniesta, for his goal that gave Spain the World Cup in 2010; Fernando Torres, for his goal that gave Spain the Eurocopa in 2008; Kiko, for his game winning goal in the 90th minute that broke a 2-2 tie to give Spain the 1992 Olympics gold medal at home; Marcelino, for his decisive goal in the 1964 Eurocopa final which was won by Spain; and Telmo Zarra, whose widow will receive this posthumous honor for his goal in the 1950 World Cup against England, which propelled Spain to the semifinals, their best showing until 2010. The RFEF Museum will house the portraits of these five footballers scoring their memorable goals.
Did you know that Iker, in addition to soon becoming the most capped player in Spanish history, is also the player who has served as captain the most times? Iker has been captain 67 times out of the 125 games he’s played. Next up is Zubi, who has been captain 50 times in his 126 games.
David Silva took the time to answer questions tweeted to his club, and we even get to hear him speak a bit of English (go to the 0:36 mark)! We find out that he listens to whatever music his brother puts on his iPod; that he doesn’t know what brand of shampoo he uses but he uses matching shampoo and conditioner; that Gran Canara, where he’s from, is his favorite vacation spot as the weather is always fantastic; and that he’s only watches Spanish TV at the moment, but will start watching English TV when his language skills improve. He also tried some Bakewell Tarts for the first time. Although at first he was a bit reluctant, saying that they’re full of fat and sugar and that there’s a game tomorrow, he took a taste (just one bite though) and said they were very good (and then tried to give the rest away, jajaja!).
La Rojita plays Estonia today at 20:45 at the Álvarez Claro in Melilla in their fourth 2013 Euro qualifier. Spain had won the three previous games and is atop their group with nine points.
On Monday, the U-21 team started their concentración in Madrid, so the boys, for the most part, were busy traveling to Madrid. Álvaro Vázquez tweeted this photo of him and Jordi Amat – looking great in their suits – in the airport, while Thiago gave us this picture of the “legendary” Carles Planas heading to the hotel in Madrid. Why can’t the senior team players be required to show up in suits??? That would deprive me of a topic to post about, but on the other hand, they’d all look fairly good (definitely Xabi, and only maybe for Sergio Ramos and Carles Puyol).
During the training session at Las Rozas, David de Gea received a manteo, as it was his 21st birthday, and because he arrived late as he was signing autographs for children. Those players who had started or played many minutes with their clubs over the weekend – Muniain, Illarramendi, Isco, Juan Carlos, Álvaro Vázquez, Hugo Mallo, Rodrigo – had a recovery session and then retired to the gym, while the other players worked out at a higher intensity. Iñigo Martínez sat the session out as he had an upset stomach.
Later on, the boys celebrated David de Gea’s birthday, as we can see in this photo tweeted by Iker Muniain of David, Juan Carlos and Koke with David’s birthday cake. By the way, Sergio Canales recently revealed that he and Koke pair up to take on De Gea and Iker in Play.
At the end of the session, Marc Bartra, who had been the captain of the team that had participated in the U-20 World Cup this past summer in Colombia, taped a message of support in the name of the entire team for the city of Manizales, where Spain had their headquarters during the tournament. Manizales had suffered mudslides due to days of heavy rain, in which 30 people were killed and many more were reported missing. Marc says, “hola, from here in Las Rozas, we want to express our encouragement for all the families, to everyone who’s been affected in Manizales. We know that people have died and that there has been flooding, and in the name of the entire team, we want to let you know that we felt at home there and so we want to show our support.” What a great thing for the team to do!
And Pablo Sarabia, a recent promotion to the U-21 team after serving as captain of the Euro-winning U-19 team this past summer, spoke to the RFEF’s radio station. He said he was very excited and proud when he found out that he had been called up (for the first time) with the U-21 team, and that the adaptation is easy because he already know many of these guys from the lower categories and that the atmosphere is good. Have a listen here.
On Tuesday, the team traveled to Melilla. Thiago and his primo Rodrigo sat together on the plane, and Thiago started a campaign to get Rodrigo on twitter. Meanwhile, Iker Muniain gave us this adorable photo of the four musketeers in Melilla: Iker himself, David de Gea, Kiko and Juan Carlos. The team trained in the afternoon at the Álvarez Claro.
On Wednesday, they visited the president of Melilla at his office. David de Gea presented Juan José Imbroda with a signed shirt, and the president gave to Luis Milla a painting of the escudo of the city for the entire team. I love how in the foto de familia, no one is looking into the camera, and Iker Muniain was probably standing on a chair and then some, because he’s taller than De Gea.
Plus, there was this cute exchange on twitter between Juan Carlos and Iker Muniain. Juan Carlos tweeted, “how I love Iker!!” And Iker responded, “I love you more ♥.” Iker also tweeted a photo of him and Thiago from the act in the morning.