the lists, plus more

I apologize for not posting much of anything lately, but there really hasn’t been any news in the past several months.  However, with La Roja scheduled to play on Wednesday and La Rojita a day before that, there should be lots and lots of news, as well as the antics and tender moments that our boys are famous for!  I can’t wait for the fashion parade, and to see Javi (!!!)!!!  Anyway, here are the lists, plus a bunch of player news that I’ve been collecting over the past month – interviews, appearances, articles – that weren’t worth their own post.

The list – La Roja.

Vicente del Bosque revealed the list of players called up for Wednesday’s game against Venezuela in Málaga.  This is the last list before the definitive Eurocopa one is released on May 15, so people are searching for meaning in it.  There were some surprises: Fernando Torres, Pedro and Raúl Albiol were not included (Torres for the first time since 2006), while Roberto Soldado finally earned a call-up.  Iker Muniain, meanwhile, was called up to the senior team for the first time, something which should make Javi (!!!) – who was included as a defender – happy!

Goalkeepers: Iker, Valdés, Pepe.

Defenders: Javi Martínez, Iraola, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Piqué, Puyol, Jordi Alba.

Midfielders: Xabi, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Busquets, Thiago, Cazorla, Navas, Mata, Silva.

Fowards: Muniain, Soldado, Negredo, Llorente.

Regarding the absence of Torres, VDB said, “Torres is not doing well, and we considered it appropriate for him not to come in this case.  But this is not the definitive list for the Eurocopa.  It hurts me to leave Fernando Torres out, but I can’t be unjust with those who are doing well.”  He also said he had personally spoken with Torres about this issue, and that this should serve as a stimulus for him.

VDB also had this to say about the following players.  Javi: I have a lot of confidence in him, he has many qualities.  Muniain: we need him on the wing.  It’s also a nod to Athletic and all those who are coming up.  Villa: he’s the forward with the most security before the goal and he will be an important absence if in the end he does not make it.

Will they be allowed to celebrate like this at the senior level?

The team will begin their concentración on Feb. 27 at 10:30h at the Ciudad del Fútbol.  They’ll spend the night at the Hotel Petit Palace Savoy in Madrid before heading to Atocha (hence the hotel selection) to take the AVE to Málaga on the morning of Feb. 28 at 09:35h.  They’re scheduled to arrive in Málaga at 12:17h, and they’ll be staying at the Hotel Barceló Málaga in the city.  The concentración will end after the game, and the players will make their way home themselves, which means Santi will have it easy!

Raúl Albiol had the nice gesture of tweeting “I congratulate Soldado and Muniain for being called up with the selección.  I will return!”  Meanwhile, Roberto himself tweeted about how happy he is with the call-up.  At a press conference with his club, he called the call-up a “dream” and said five minutes before the list came out, all his teammates were watching the TV, and he was so nervous and couldn’t put up with all the jokes that he decided to go take a shower instead.  In the middle of the shower (!!!!!!!), Jordi Alba came in to congratulate him, and that’s how he found out.  He also said he hopes he won’t have to wait another five years to be called up again, since that’s what happened after he got his first call up in 2007.

Meanwhile, Iker Muniain said he was very happy with the call-up, that he would try to make the most of the experience, but “I have it clear that my place is on the U-21 team and to continue at a higher level I need to work very hard.  Muniain found out about the call-up while at Lezama from the media, and Llorente, Iraola and Javi Martínez (!!!) were the first to congratulate him.

The list – La Rojita.

Luis Milla also announced the preliminary list of players for the Olympics team, which will play a friendly against Egypt at the Malecón de Torrelavega (Cantabria) in Torrelavega on Feb. 28 (20:30h).  It appears that Javi Martínez and Juan Mata will be heading to the Eurocopa, and though both would like to participate in the Olympics as well, they’ll have to negotiate with their clubs for that to happen.  Other players that may do the “doblete” include Muniain, Thiago and Jordi Alba.  As you can see, the core of the Olympics team is the one that won the U-21 Euro last summer.  The newish additions are Iturraspe, De Marcos, Cuenca and Tello, while players such as Isco, Romeu or Rodrigo have been promoted from the U-20 team.  Meanwhile, only two of the players, Adrián and Diego Capel, are “overage” (the team can have up to three).

Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Diego Mariño.

Defenders: Mikel San José, Álvaro Domínguez, Martín Montoya, César Azpilicueta, Dídac Vilà, Alberto Botía, Víctor Ruiz.

Midfielders: Ander Herrera, Óscar de Marcos, Ander Iturraspe, Koke Resurrección, Oriol Romeu, Isco, Diego Capel.

Forwards: Adrián López, Cristian Tello, Isaac Cuenca, Rodrigo Moreno.

The players will meet up on Feb. 27 at 12h at the airport in Bilbao, and then take a bus to Torrelavega.  They’ll stay at the Gran Hotel Balneario de Puente Viesgo there.

Other team news.

Spain will set up its Euro headquarters in Gniewino, Poland.  They’ll train at the Municipal Stadium in the city, and sleep at the Hotel Mistral Sport for the duration of the tournament.  And, the RFEF has signed an agreement with the Italian brand Brooksfield to have them dress the national team (players, coaching staff and directors).  I can’t wait to see the players modeling their new clothes!  AS also reports that La Roja will play a friendly somewhere in the Americas after the Eurocopa, as they have offers from Bolivia and Puerto Rico, though no decision has been made yet.

Player news.

– PF Juan Mata.

PF Juan Mata was in Madrid at the very beginning of January, to participate in a promotional event for FIFA 12.  He was asked who on the national team is the best at video games, and his response was “not me, perhaps Arbeloa and Albiol, and Sergio.”  PF revealed that he spoke with David Villa after the latter was injured, and he’s in high spirits and very optimistic.  He also said his English is improving bit by bit, that he now understands his coach and he can live a normal life in England (which includes hanging out with Oriol Romeu, since they live in the same complex and go together to train).  In addition, Juanín said he’d like to play in both the Eurocopa and Olympic Games this summer.

PF also spoke with COPE radio station during his time in Madrid, and they asked him about this hazing ritual he had to go through with his club.  Juanín ended up having to stand on top of a chair and sing during the team’s first away game.  Fernando Torres had advised him to choose a song that people could clap to, and so Juan chose “La Macarena,” and even did “a pair of movements” while performing, although he confessed that he sings quite badly.  They end the interview by telling him that he can either choose to say a greeting in English, or sing.  He chooses the latter, and so he sings a few notes of “La Macarena!”  Have a listen here.

One month later (Feb. 6), PF showed up in a tux for the Laureus Awards in London, looking like a sexy spy.

– Víctor Valdés.

Víctor Valdés and his missus were featured (briefly) in the February edition of Marie Claire Spain, in a story where five famous couples explained how they met and fell in love.  This is VV and Yolanda’s story.

“Ours was love at first sight,” Víctor Valdés says, when asked if he and Yolanda Cardona were friends before becoming a couple.  Even though he’s an elite athlete, the goalkeeper has formed a family alongside the Colombian model and mother of his son Dylan.  He adores celebrating important dates with them “with a dinner, by taking a trip or going to see a good movie.”  Of course, Valentine’s Day is an unavoidable date for this couple.  If there was anything that revolutionized their lives, it was the birth of their son: “everything revolves around our son and that makes us proud.  It was very emotional and it united us more than anything else,” says Valdés.  The two of them have been together for four years.

– Javi (!!!) (plus a bit of Fer).

Javi Martínez (!!!) spoke with COPE’s program “Londres 2.12” (London 2012) on Feb. 15.  Have a listen here; it goes from around the six-minute mark to the 23-minute mark.  During the interview, we find out that Javi would like to play in both the Olympics and the Eurocopa, but he hasn’t spoken with Luis, Vicente or anyone from Athleti yet, so no plans have been made.  He also said Olympic gold is on the same level as winning a World Cup, and a dream for any athlete.  As for the Olympics, Javi (!!!) is looking forward to participating in the parade of nations, living in the Olympic Village, meeting famous athletes, although he knows that the football games won’t be in London and so he won’t get to spend too much time in the Olympic Village.  Nevertheless, his goal is to “meet cracks” and get photos with them.

(This post is illustrated with images of Javi (!!!) right after his club’s game against Lokomotiv on Feb. 23.  You’ll see why I decided to include it, though it is club-related.  I also loved the fact that Iker Muniain said he was excited about playing Manchester United, Athleti’s next rival in the Europa League, because he’ll get to see David de Gea.)

The final whistle blows, and while the team is celebrating the win, Javi (!!!) is riled up after getting pushed by a Lokomotiv player.  So while his teammates are jumping up and down, he’s sulking.  Finally, one of his teammates pushes him over to the piña.

The presenters also asked some questions about Javi’s (!!!) origins.  When asked what he has of Ayegui and what he has of his idols, Zidane and Vieira, Javi (!!!) responded, “I have everything from Ayegui and from those two, nothing.”  When told not to be so humble, he came back with “no, it’s the truth, joder.  The comparison is too much.  I’ve always liked and idolized them.  Hopefully one day I’ll be a bit like them.”  And this is why I love Javi (!!!)!!!  We also found out that his mother wasn’t too happy that he left home at such an early age, and it was hard for him as well because he’s very family-oriented and loves being in Ayegui with his friends and family.  However, it helped a lot that his brother Álvaro moved to Bilbao with him, and that Bilbao “isn’t too far away, I always return when I can.”

Then my new hero, Lokomotiv’s Maksim Belyaev, goes over to Javi (!!!) and asks for his shirt.  Javi (!!!) thankfully obliges.  That doesn’t stop him from continuing to jump around and celebrate, while trying to put the shirt on.

The talk then turns to the World Cup.  Javi (!!!) talks about how he had to miss out on this “hippie” trip with his friends.  He and his friends had planned to spend 15 days driving in California, bringing the bare minimum, just the clothes on their backs, in a caravan-style trip.  He was all set to go, since he didn’t expect to be on the list (he didn’t even expect to be on the preliminary list).  However, his friends told him to wait for the list, and he told them they were crazy.  In the end, of course the trip had to be canceled, but some of those friends got to take an equally unforgettable trip – they went to the World Cup final in Johannesburg.


We also find out that Javi (!!!) is no longer a “crack” at Play since he hasn’t played in a long time, and he’s no longer that interested in magic.  At the time of the World Cup, he was very focused on learning magic tricks, but one of the delegates, Pedro Cortés, knew much more than he did and so he couldn’t trick him no matter what he did.  Javi (!!!) also kept a journal for part of the World Cup, because his friends told him he had to write everything down.  He didn’t get past the seventh or eighth day though.  Javi (!!!) also talked about the “buen rollo” in the senior and U-21 teams, and how everyone gets along.

Finally, he succeeds.  Meanwhile, Fernando Llorente has also exchanged his shirt.  Yay!

The chat concludes with a bit of talk about Javi (!!!) and his club.  He talks a bit about how he’s the DJ in the Athleti locker room, and while he likes rap, he has to be careful with it because not everyone likes it.  The presenters play a rap written for him by another journalist, Pablito, and after hearing it, he asks them to send it to him.  They promise to do so, and ask him if he’ll come back to sing the chorus after he wins the gold.  Javi’s (!!!) response: “I’m very bad at singing.  Being a DJ is easier.”  Things wrap up when one of the presenters says, “I have a friend at Athleti with a contract until 2016, his buyout clause is 40 million, and this summer all the big teams will call him, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester.  But he’s very happy with his Bilbao and Catedral.  Would you recommend that he change cities, or continue in Bilbao?”  Javi goes, “Joder, who is it?  Do I know him?”  [You can tell where this is going, no?]  The response: “his last name is Martínez, first name Javier, although he goes by Javi.”  And then he got it: “Ahhh.  I’m very happy here and hopefully I will be here for many more years.”  ¡¡¡Adorable!!!

Cuatro also got Javi (!!!) and one of his favorite bands, El Mentón de Fogarty (who is from Bilbao), together recently.  During the segment, it was said that Javi (!!!) has a weakness for one of the Real Madrid players, and that’s Xabi because “he’s in charge of everything.”

– Gerard Piqué.

Gerard has been busy being Mango’s muse for another season, the 2013 spring-summer season.  During the presentation of the new line, he denied reports that he and Shakira are thinking about marriage, saying, “there was no proposal and there are no wedding plans,” although he didn’t rule out marrying her in the future.  Anyway, for me, this collection has Pep Guardiola’s name all over it.  Various photos from the photo shoot illustrate the next portion of this post.

El País profiled Gerard Piqué and Shakira in an article earlier this month.  We find out that he has IQ of 140 (although one time in Manchester, his satellite dish was stolen from his roof, and he went to buy a new TV thinking that his previous one was broken), that he’s looking for a house to share with Shakira, he loves listening to the Smiths, and that he claims he’s never lost at Play, especially against Cesc.  His family also says Gerard believes he can even beat Nadal at tennis, “but he’s crap with a racquet.”

As for his family, his grandmother in Sant Guim de Freixenet used to sell fruit, his grandfather in Barcelona had an importing business, his mother Montse is a doctor, his father Joan is a businessman and writer and Harley enthusiast (with a customized Fat Boy Screaming Eagle), and he has eight cousins, of which his favorite is 20-year-old Montse.

There are also little pieces of information thrown in, such as how Gerard is quite neat, except when it comes to the trunk of his car, how his parents got together (and how Montse’s parents wanted someone better for their daughter), how Marc missed Gerard when the latter was in England, and how their relationship changed once he got back.

As for Shakira, Gerard calls her Shaki, and Joan only has good things to say about her.  And Gerard’s grandmother Lina, she completely ignored Shakira the day that Gerard brought her to meet her.  PIqué says, “she already has enough difficulties speaking in castellano.  And Shakira freaked out, she didn’t understand anything!”  The next time shouldn’t be a problem, since Shaki is now studying catalán.  This is the family photo from last Christmas, where Gerard and Shaki are surrounded by his parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins and of course, the family matriarch Lina, all the way in the back.

Read the full translation (it’s worth it) here, courtesy of the wonderful Michelle.

Here’s the video of the collection…

… and here’s the making of video.

– Xavi & Iniesta.

Charity work: Xavi and La Caixa have teamed up to help people at risk of being marginalized by society.  The midfielder is the new ambassador and image of the bank’s social works programs, which include the fight against poverty in Spain and infant mortality in developing countries, as well as promoting active and healthy lifestyles for the elderly.  During the presentation, Xavi said, “I wanted to feel useful on a social level and help people.  This is the ideal scenario and I hope to serve others.”  He also got to play a mini-game with 10 children during the act.  By the way, his parents were there, watching on proudly.

Meanwhile, Andrés Iniesta was the patron of the latest edition of the book “Héroes del deporte,” which is written by sports journalists.  He helped to present the proceeds raised by the sale of the book, €67,030, to the Sanfilippo Association of Barcelona on Thursday.  The association is working to find a cure to Sanfilippo Syndrome.

– David Villa.

David took time out from his rehab schedule to collaborate again with UNICEF, in the promotion of the program “Donate one day against child malnutrition.”  So far, the campaign has been a success, with 830,000 days donated from individuals and companies.  On Friday, he met with 10 winners of a contest organized by UNICEF’s Tuenti account, which meant that David could support the initiative and meet fans at the same time.

– Cesc.

Cesc showed up at the BRIT Awards on Feb. 21, to co-present the award for “British Breakthrough Act,” alongside Nicole Scherzinger.  Cesc got to read out the name of the winner, which was Ed Sheeran.  Yes, Cesc’ part was just six words: “and the winner is… Ed Sheeran.”

– Other bits and pieces.

Iker and Andrés Iniesta made the list of “most affectionate” Spaniards, in a survey done by chocolate brand Milka.  Iker finished fourth and Andrés fifth.  David Bustamante was first, Rafa Nadal was second and David Bisbal was third.  And if you didn’t know, Raúl Albiol recently joined twitter!  By his eighth tweet, he was making fun of Álvaro Arbeloa, though Álvaro had advised everyone when Raúl first joined that he would not be tolerating any teasing of El Chori on “kangaroos, haircuts or anything else,” like a brother should.

In a chat with El País, Vicente del Bosque was asked many serious questions about his future, the team, the Eurocopa, and this question: “Don Vicente, tell me one thing.  How do you maintain such a luxuriant and youthful mustache?  Do you attribute any of your success to it?”  VDB’s response: “I don’t worry too much about the mustache.  When I was asked if I would shave it off if we won the World Cup, I always said, a bit curtly, no.”  Jajaja!


Posted on February 24, 2012, in la rojita, players, team and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. And Xavi was elected the Catalan player of the year and received an aword for it.

  2. may i ask where i can watch Cuatro’s program of Javi (!!!) (w/El Mentón de Fogarty)? Muchas gracias!!!

  3. Finally a new post! I’ve been waiting for it. Muchas gracias! :D

  4. So excited that our boys are back together! It’s been a long winter w/o them and your posts, Una!

  5. Pique has an IQ of 140? That’s interesting, because reportedly Shakira has the same.

    Don’t apologize for not posting here as much. I know that there isn’t a lot going on with La Roja, but at least we have some news. :)

  6. Oh, Torres! It’s not a surprise, but he’ll be missed, I’m sure! It must have been very hard for VDB to leave people out. I half expected Jose Callejon to be called up. He has such a great attitude and was scoring so many goals for so little time played.

  7. YAY!!!! Great to see a new post here, so thanks Una. A few things:

    -What is happening with Sergio in the gif next to Iker and Thiago dancing?
    -Awww Javi, you’re so lovely. And don’t we all have a little weakness for Xabi Alonso?! I certainly do!
    -Pique is very lucky to have such a great family!
    -On a more serious note, I’m glad VdB has made some tough but necessary decisions. I’m still rooting for Fernando to turn it all around though. Sad about Albiol being dropped, but I understand since he’s not playing very much right now. More importantly though, what will Alvaro do without his other half?!?!?!

    Looking forward to reading lots of new posts in the next week or so!

  8. Thanks for the Update Una….too bad for Torres, I hope he gets it together. He seems so depressed, and beat down, if not embarrased by how things are going for him.

    Also, is Pepe the third goal keeper now, and Valdes is the second? I thought it went by seniority, can someone please explain that to me?

  9. jaja, Del Bosque’s moustache is so iconic that I can’t even imagine him without it. Does anyone else find that gif of Llorente near the beginning simply mesmerizing??

  10. Thanks for the lovely round-up, Una.

    Well, in my opinion it’s more than absolutely just that Torres was left out of the list this time. As much as I love both, you’d have to admit that if VDB kept treating Nando like a teachers-pet it wouldn’t have benefited neither the team nor Fernando himself.
    I really wish him to rediscover his old form, though. (If he just didn’t leave Liverpool… sigh.)

  11. Aaaahhhh can I just skip over everyone else and go straight to Javi?! I know it’s totally club-related but I was at the Lokomotiv match on Thursday and Lezama on Tuesday and he was randomly at San Mamés on Wednesday when I went on the tour and oh god he is so hot but I want to burn all of his jeans. (I am having a bit of a dispute with a few Basque friends about this very topic, too. They say he doesn’t need fashion help. >.<) And his COPE interview was adorable, as always. <3

    Anyway, moving on. Super excited that "Muni" has been called up, he will do magical things on the bandas, and hopefully also get up to some adorable hijinks with the big boys, too! I can't wait for La Roja to be back together!

  12. i think that maksim belyaev’s shirt was a bit short for mr martinez, after all….!
    and in that gif where he is eating something, i think when he chews his profile is just like iker’s. look closely!

  13. i’ve missed this blog (and our boys!) very much. :) :)

    i’m gutted for nando and albiol both, but i know why it had to be done. i hope it will serve as impetus for them both to step it up before the euros, although that’s kind of hard if albiol isn’t getting any playing time … :(

    it’ll be weird/funny/cool to have two ikers on the team!

    i am trying very hard to picture pique listening to the smiths (!!!!) and i just don’t see it! although, he did play for man utd, so it makes sense …

    what IS sergio doing in that .gif? he looks like he’s trying to steal something out of that black bag. enquiring minds want to know!

    damn, valdes is hot. yolanda is a lucky woman.

  14. I love both your blogs Una! Keep up the great work ;D

  15. OK I’m getting a bit sporty, but I really hope that they don’t call any of the players to both the Euros AND the Olympics. It is just going to be too hard on their bodies and their clubs. They need a real break. Great post Unita!

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