Vicente del Bosque at Marca
To kick things off as we head into the Eurocopa (the team started the concentración today at Las Rozas; more on that later), here’s an interview Marca did with Vicente del Bosque several days ago. Highlights below.
After hearing Dr. Pruna rule out Puyol, is your message still one of hope?
As much as we can insist on it, the limit is May 27. It would be a miraculous recovery, but we know it’s difficult.
If he doesn’t go, who can fill his shoes?
Carles is difficult to substitute. He’s an example in all senses: in loving the national team, in being a positive leader, in being the first to arrive for breakfast; he’s always attentive to everything. When he speaks, he makes you respect him. He’s respected because there’s no better thing than leading by example.
Could he go as the 24th player?
No, I don’t think that would be a good idea. It would be another thing if he comes to visit us, because we’d be happy to see him. The logical thing is for him to recover. In addition, it is possible that he could suffer another injury.
For Villa to go to the Eurocopa, would he have to play beforehand?
It’s not an absolute condition. What has to happen is that he has to be good. I’m sure he’ll be good, because he has a desire to be here. But the doctors have to say that he’s good. I’ve already said that if he’s good, he’ll come. I wanted to be optimistic because David is working very hard and making an enormous effort. It’s a special case, but we have to act dispassionately when making the decision.
Torres was not on the last list in February. Has he improved?
Physically, he’s better. He’s slimmer, happier. And his spirits are also up because Chelsea is in the final of the Champions League. Everyone has benefited.
If Torres plays in the final of the Champions League, he should go to the Euro.
And if he doesn’t play, why not? It’s not a condition. The present is important, but you have to have a perspective of things. Those who come are coming because they fit our style, because they’ve played well. If you only consider recent events, we would be left with the image of Athletic in Bucharest, and that wasn’t the Athletic that was full of life and which put on a great physical display during the entire season. Their season has been extraordinary.
If Torres’ standing has gone up, then Soldado’s has gone down.
That’s how it is. It appears he’s fallen a bit, but during the time he was with us against Venezuela, he was good and he took advantage of the play of the others.
We have all types of forwards.
That’s a good thing. They’re special players. Some need to be more involved in the play of the team, others, like Soldado or Torres, need that less. Llorente has another style… it’s not better or worse.
Why haven’t players from Atlético de Madrid come until now?
Because there weren’t players who could do well with us. I don’t look at clubs, I look at players. I don’t look at where they were born or what their team is. It could be that we were slow, but there weren’t any players that we liked. In addition, they have many foreign players.
Raúl has said that if the national team calls him, he’ll come running.
Of course, like everyone. There hasn’t been the normality many times like there is now.
What sensation do you get from working with players who won’t go to the Eurocopa?
Good ones. I’m happy. The bad circumstance that forced us to start later than everyone else also allowed us to add to a team that is solid. Players such as Beñat, Javi García, Adrián or De Gea are coming and we know that if tomorrow we need a player due to an injury, they will be prepared, and we won’t have to improvise. In addition, the qualification for the World Cup begins in September.
Will the two games in Switzerland affect the final list?
We’re not going to tell anyone on the first day whether they’re going to the Eurocopa or not. They need to have an incentive to be on the May 27th list, but if they don’t go, we won’t have hurt anyone. These are two games in which some could debut and be waiting in the wings. On the morning of May 27, we will tell those who won’t go, but they’ll stay because there’s another game. This happens in other sports, such as basketball, and nothing happens. It’s actually positive.
How will Spain go into the Eurocopa?
Well, I hope. The season has been intense for everyone. We don’t want players who are okay just being on the list. They need to believe that they can be the protagonists of the Eurocopa, to have this emotion.
Can the team have the same hunger it did in South Africa?
Any decrease in emotion is bad. I fear this more than anything else. I prefer to have three players at a lesser level but with emotion than five good ones who complain about everything,. That’s dangerous. That’s why I brought up Athletic earlier. I want players that are excited about the Eurocopa.
Are you preoccupied with the season that Piqué had?
Well, it could be that he didn’t have a good season, but we won’t find a defender who is much better than Piqué. It’s impossible. The centerbacks that we have are great.
Is Sergio Ramos only a centerback now?
That was his position this season, but his versatility is an advantage. If one day he has to play as a fullback, he’ll do it.
And Javi Martínez?
He’s played there this season as well. It was hard for me to accept it in the beginning because he’s a player that goes from area to area and because he’s a physically exuberant player so it’s difficult to have the patience that a centerback requires, but he knew how to adapt.
How’s Xavi doing?
The impression is good. He’s played with that calf problem. He has two preoccupations, which are the same as mine: that the field is perfect, and that his calf doesn’t hurt.
Is the Xabi Alonso-Busquets pairing untouchable?
These two players have an extraordinary sense of the team. If we give Sergio more liberty, I’m sure he would do well, but he has such a sense of the team that he’s always attentive to whether he has to help out the fullback, whether he has to fall back… he’s always coming to the aid of others. And Xabi is the same, with this ability to make the sacrifice of shining less to benefit the team. He’s our third highest goalscorer. For me, both of them are very offensive.
What will Silva’s role be?
He’s a very important player for us. He’s had an excellent season. We all remember, and he has in his subconscious, what happened during the World Cup. With us, he’s played a lot, but it’s difficult, no matter how many games you play, to let go of this bitterness from the World Cup in which we really didn’t give him much of a chance.
Did you speak with him about his complaints?
We spoke of some things. It hurt all of us. We made this change as a technical decision to give more depth to Torres, but it wasn’t a punishment.
He’s a player on the Olympic team that could be in the Eurocopa. He’s one of those that I have a predilection for. He’s a devil, very good.
Will you continue on no matter what happens in the Eurocopa?
We don’t know. The idea is to continue. If I were tired, without emotion or I didn’t care anymore, I would leave. But I do care and I’m excited.
How was the first year without Hierro?
He was stubborn, he got that idea into his head and he left. We’re functioning well, but I have a lot of appreciation for him. We’ve had many discussions due to his stubbornness, but we worked very well together.
Busquets is attempting to play in the Olympics.
All of those who are on the senior team would want to go. It’s Milla’s decision. Sergio has been one of the most tedious ones regarding this issue. However, the coach has worked with a previous team.
What would you give to win the Eurocopa and Olympic gold?
I would give something to be able to speak English or to have a better education, but to win that, I wouldn’t give anything.