a full first day
Things are indeed beginning all over again, as La Roja started a new concentración on Thursday morning, their last of the year. And it was a complete day for them, as they had various acts to attend in the morning, followed by commitments with their sponsors, a training session, and finally, the trip to London. Meanwhile, the U-21 team was playing and dominating in Melilla.
The players had until 10:30h to arrive at Las Rozas, and many of the players showed up bright and early to the residence, with Raúl Albiol as the last to arrive, at 10:10h. The press wasn’t able to catch the majority of the players, so we only have these few for the fashion review. Awful jeans was the theme of the day (here and in the next set of photos), and Sergio showed up for some reason in his La Roja wear, so he was surprisingly devoid of color and that special Sergio sparkliness. Xabi’s pants also look too short, and Fernando’s jeans don’t fit him at all.
Jesús Navas and Nacho Monreal spoke to the press, with both these players returning to the national team after some time. Monreal told the media that “I’m happy with this new call-up, I’m very proud to come to the national team and I’m very excited. Each time we come, it’s to help as much as we can, and to gain the confidence of the coach and do things well, and hopefully I can play in this Eurocopa.” Meanwhile, Jesús Navas spoke about “the great joy it is to be with my national team teammates once more [he means Sergio, right?]. I’m going to fight for a spot on the final list for the Eurocopa, playing in a tournament like that is very important and you have to work hard to be able to make it there. Now I have the opportunity to return to a call-up and I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity.”
As you can see, another theme was cartoony shirts. Raúl Albiol’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt is so dorky that it becomes endearing. But you have to wonder what he was thinking. Overall, this arrival day was quite colorless, no?
Once they settled in and changed, they had to go to the Luis Aragonés Salon for the acts the RFEF had planned for the day, including the presentation of the team’s new shirt, Xavi’s gold medal ceremony, the tribute to those players who have reached 100 caps, and the unveiling of the five paintings depicting the five most important goals in Spanish football history. They all looked much better in their La Roja wear.
The shirt presentation.
The presentation started out with the lights turned off and a voice saying, “memory doesn’t score goals, win games or stop penalties. Only with humility, effort and desire can we become champions once more. The only way to win is knowing that the past doesn’t count and everything begins all over again.” And with that, the audience viewed the video of the new shirt, featuring Xavi, Villa, Xabi, Iker, Llorente and Silva.
After that, our models/footballers came out (the runway should have been longer) wearing jackets over the shirts that Spain will wear in the 2012 Eurocopa (and against England on Saturday). The models were Monreal, Albiol (when did he switch to Adidas from Nike? It was probably so he could spend more time with his twin), Javi Martínez (!!!), Arbeloa, Cazorla, Xavi, Iker, Llorente (in a tight shirt, of course), Xabi and Villa. They then stripped off the jackets to reveal the new shirts, but unfortunately did not strip any further. Iker’s yellow kit looks a lot like his club kit, down to the horizontal stripe across the front, though this one is a lot thicker. This of course means that he can wear the same yellow boots with his country, and that he will be a banana for the rest of the season no matter which team he plays for.
A close-up of the bottom half of the kits, but that’s not what catches my eye.
Only the models in the front row got to speak, and this is what they said. Iker said he opted for the yellow color (he had a say in it? Then I have to say, the shirt turned out much, much better than I expected, if Iker’s input was taken into account), or rather “Cañete, Pepe and I had chosen it before, and in the beginning, it took some getting used to, but not anymore. I also chose it to remind us of the second color that we have in the flag… We hope to relive the success of Austria-Switzerland in this shirt, we go in with the idea of defending the title and I’m convinced that with this shirt, we will achieve it, although we know it’s difficult.” Iker also joked, “I hope we’ll look good in the photos too.” As if that was ever going to be a problem.
Fernando Llorente – bless him for being superstitious – said, “I started with the tight shirt in the World Cup and since it brought us good luck, I want to continue using this model. In this way, the rivals will have more difficulties grabbing you, but then there is the problem that they can rip it” [yes, rivals, please do that]. The presenter said Fer always opts for the “baby” size.
I like how Villa and Arbeloa simultaneously turn around to look at who is making all that noise.
David Villa said he hoped this shirt would bring them luck so that they could defend the title in the best way possible and achieve another Eurocopa, while Santi Cazorla made everyone laugh during his speech when he said the shirt was very comfortable. On Facebook, Villa posted “My friends of Adidas have returned to shine. I’m charmed with the uniform!” And I’m charmed with his English!
And when Xabi was talking about the upcoming amistoso (friendly), he accidentally said “amistotxo”! He and the rest of the guys cracked up (then again, it doesn’t take much to crack Javi (!!!) up). Jajaja!! Plus, the entire event was like a superlong The Xabi Alonso pose section™, no?
In the audience, the rest of the team was having fun too.
Xavi’s gold medal.
Xavi, second captain of the national team after Iker, has played 105 games with La Roja, and so he received the RFEF’s gold medal on Thursday. They showed a video of his career with Spain, and after seeing it, Xavi said, “I never imagined that I would achieve this… I feel very privileged. The most important thing is the affection of the people. I thank all those people from the Federation, coaches, especially Luis and Vicente, teammates, directors, the fans and even the press, for their praise and criticism. What I will remember is how much I’ve enjoyed these last few years.”
Luis Aragonés and Vicente del Bosque participated in the ceremony. Aragonés said of Xavi, “he has many virtues, as a player and as a human being,” while VDB described him as a “singular player… I think he’s a complete player.”
The five most important goals, as art.
The RFEF also unveiled five paintings by painter Andrés Sánchez of the five most important goals in Spanish football history: Zarra’s 1950 World Cup goal, Marcelino’s 1964 Eurocopa goal, Kiko’s 1992 Olympics goal, Fernando Torres’ 2008 Eurocopa goal and Andrés Iniesta’s 2010 World Cup goal. Andrés was tasked with unveiling the painting featuring him. He said, “it’s a beautiful and spectacular painting, for the magical moment we lived in South Africa. What can be said about this image that hasn’t already been said? I feel fortunate to have experienced something so incredible in person.” He also congratulated Sánchez for the work.
The paintings will be displayed in the RFEF museum. Sánchez said the most difficult part was the lack of information he had. He painted the hyperrealist works using original photographs, and there were only black and white images of Zarra and Marcelino’s goals.
The 100 caps awards ceremony.
Our four internationals who have played in over 100 games with La Roja were also honored on Thursday. Raúl was absent due to club commitments, but Andoni Zubizarreta, Iker Casillas and Xavi were present to receive the caps and medals. Zubi was first, and he had the nice gesture of remembering those who deserved to get to 100 games, “especially Iribar, Arconada, Hierro and Camacho,” saying they should be honored in this way as well. He was followed by Iker, who said “I’m happy because ever since I debuted 11 years ago, I’ve treated each call-up as if it were the last. I want to thank all the teammates I’ve had throughout these 11 years, who have taught me a lot from the time I was 18, that have made me into a better person – although some might not believe that – and player and goalkeeper. I never imagined I would get here. It’s been a pleasure, I hope there are more.”
Next up was Xavi, who thanked everyone for the affection they’ve always given him, and said he was proud to represent the RFEF, adding that “when you enjoy something, you don’t sense time passing by and I hope to continue enjoying this.” The honorees got a standing ovation from those present in the Luis Aragonés salon.
Raúl was absent, but still in the spotlight, due to the RFEF mistakenly writing his current team as “Real Madrid” in the press dossier.
On the stage throughout the entire morning were Iker’s two old friends, the World Cup and the Eurocopa. Hopefully they’ll get a “baby sister” next year!
The training session.
The team trained for about one hour on Thursday afternoon at the Ciudad de Fútbol. Javi (!!!) was of course missing, as he had left the concentración earlier due to injury. The Barcelona players who had played against L’Hospitalet were absent from the session as well, while Valdés, Piqué and Busquets joined the group. As the ground was slippery due to rain, several of the players fell, and Álvaro Arbeloa applied ice to his left knee as soon as the session ended. Arbeloa had also worked out in the gym before the session had started. Meanwhile, his twin practiced without his mask. And the players showed off some new training shirts, in a light blue color.
As soon as the training session ended, the players changed and went up to their rooms to pack. They then headed for Barajas, where they took a flight to London, landing around 21:15h local time. The team is staying at the Landmark Hotel.
Today, there will be a video session in the morning, a press conference at the hotel at 12:30h (local time), lunch, siesta, afternoon snack, and then later in the afternoon, at 18:30h, Spain will train in Wembley to prepare for Saturday’s game against England.
Bonus Javi (!!!).
For those of you who will be missing him as much as me.
La Rojita beat Estonia 6-0 on Thursday, keeping their record perfect in Euro 2013 qualifying. Rodrigo scored a hat trick, with Pablo Sarabia assisting on two of them (the Castilla connection must still be functioning, no?) in a wonderful game for him. Rodrigo’s first goal came only three minutes after the game had started, and the second in the seventh minute. By the end of the half, he had scored his and the team’s third.
The first goal was my favorite, not only for the skills Rodrigo displayed in getting the ball into the net, but also for the dancing celebration between the primos. It looks a bit like the “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” dance that Marcelo and Cris recently did, no? Just what I need – for that song to get stuck in my head again.
In the second half, Isco, Álvaro Vázquez and Pablo himself also scored goals (Pablo also assisted Álvaro’s), making it six for Spain on the night, and all golazos. I felt bad for the poor Estonian keeper though. Hopefully Rodrigo will one day play for Spain at the senior level, no? I would think that Vicente del Bosque is watching him.
Afterward, David de Gea tweeted that “this victory is for Sergio Canales, who couldn’t be here with us.” Earlier, Álvaro Vázquez had tweeted “Sergio, the entire La Rojita team misses you! A hug, brother!” And Marc Bartra gave us this photo of him with Marc Muniesa and Isaac Cuenca, and congratulated them for their debuts.
A final note.
Fernando Hierro was honored with the Marca Leyenda award on Thursday, and one of the most emotional moments came during a pre-recorded message from Álvaro del Bosque. In response, Fernando said, “Álvaro is an example, he’s affectionate, he’s a delight. He already has a shirt from Málaga and he wears it during the games.”
Posted on November 11, 2011, in la rojita, players, team, training and tagged albiol, cazorla, del bosque, hierro, iker, iniesta, javi, llorente, monreal, navas, rodrigo, sarabia, sergio, thiago, villa, xabi, xavi. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.