days 1 & 2 – ready to start!
May 21, 2012 & May 22, 2012.
We are now officially preparing for the Eurocopa! So far, that has meant suit fittings, movie watching and of course, training!
Day 1 – May 21.
The players called up for Spain’s two upcoming friendlies started arriving at 11h at the Ciudad de Fútbol. As always, the new players and Sergio Ramos spoke to the press. The new players all said things along the lines of how surprised they were to be called up, how happy they are and how they’re going to work hard. Meanwhile, Sergio spoke about how everyone wants to Eurocopa to start already, and how it doesn’t matter that Spain is the current European and world champions, because football does not have a memory. Raúl Albiol was also quizzed upon his arrival, and he said he’s going to try and make the final list, and also wished Puyol a quick recovery.
Santi Cazorla was by far the worse dressed. I don’t know where to begin. First, there’s that denim vest that was spliced unsuccessfully with a sweatshirt vest. Then there is that horrific belt. And lastly, the studded jeans! The pieces are awful enough by themselves, but put them together and this becomes Exhibit A in What Not To Wear 101. Second on that list is Jesús Navas for eyesore of a shirt and jeans.
I’m sure that inside, Iker – whose purse unfortunately made this call-up as well – asked Beñat where he had purchased his cardigan. It’s very much his style.
And while Raúl Albiol is often mentioned as Álvaro Arbeloa’s twin, on Monday, he was looking a lot like Xabi Alonso.
The rest of the players went for casual looks, which are neither bad nor good. By the way, Álvaro Arbeloa and Roberto Soldado arrived together.
In addition, Vicente del Bosque has called up Fernando Torres and Juan Mata. They will join the team on May 25 in St. Gallen.
The rest of the morning was spent doing medical tests, getting measured for their new suits from Brooksfield and having lunch. Again, I am reminded that I studied the wrong thing in school/chose the wrong thing for my career.
Later on in the day, the team attended the sneak preview of the movie “Campeones. La Roja,” alongside the coaching staff and special guest Luis Aragónes. The movie is 90 minutes long, and contains secrets from the locker room, unseen before images of the technical chats and how the team managed their success from the Eurocopa in 2008 to the World Cup in 2010.
It looks super interesting! I can’t wait to view the entire thing!
There was also a training session scheduled for Monday. It started with a brief chat, and then the players did some exercises to strengthen their ball possession, in which VDB mixed veteranos y noveles (sorry, those words just came into my head – plus the tune of course – when I saw footage from the session). Some of our favorite bromances also reunited.
After the session, Iker gave away his shirt and signed autographs, receiving a serenade of “cumpleaños feliz” for his efforts.
Over in Asturias, PF Juan Mata was receiving the award for “best Asturian athlete of 2011,” which he wasn’t able to pick up until now. I love the sweater with the elbow patches! PF told the press that he hopes Villa will make it and how happy he is that there are three Asturians on the team (PF himself, Santi and Adrián) so far.
“Showtime 2.0” is the official song of La Roja for this Eurocopa. It’s written and performed by Estopa, with Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and Vicente del Bosque lending their vocal stylings to the chorus. Have a listen here.
Day 2 – May 22.
On Tuesday morning, the team had an 80-minute long training session at the Ciudad de Fútbol, their last one in Spain before the two upcoming friendlies. Once again, the session was preceded with a technical chat, and the ball was the main protagonist of the practice. The training session ended with a mini-game, in which Álvaro Negredo and Roberto Soldado’s goals resulted in applause from the fans.
The little ones were looking adorable…
… while the jefes were being, well, boss. I love the similarity in these two photos of Iker and Ochoto, and VDB and Xabi. Each coach has his star pupil!
Beñat Etxebarria, Javi García and Raúl Albiol spoke to the press after the training session. Javi García said he would try and take advantage of this opportunity to convince the míster that he’s worthy of being here, while Beñat thanked VDB, saying it’s a dream to be here and he will enjoy it and take advantage of the opportunity. He also said that he immediately realized that “there is a fantastic group here, with a lot of humility. I feel very integrated and my teammates have helped me a lot.” Meanwhile, the veteran also said he will use this time to convince the coach to choose him for the final list. When asked if he had spoken with Villa, Raúl responded, “I spoke with him a while ago to see how he was doing and how he is recovering. His hope is to make it to the Eurocopa and I imagine he’s done everything possible to do that. This decision is one that will be made by the coach and David Villa and hopefully he can make it because he’s very important as a footballer and as a teammate for all of us.”
At around 16h in the afternoon, the team took a flight from Barajas to St. Gallen-Altenrhein. The players spent the trip chatting with each other, reading, listening to music, playing games on their iPads, playing games on their PSPs, such as El Chori and Sergio with their tennis game, watching movies and TV series or just resting.
They continued on by bus to Schruns and the Hotel Lowen Schruns, which will be the “headquarters” of La Roja for the next two games, like it was during the preparatory stage for the World Cup two years ago.
It was also announced that David Villa has ruled himself out of the Eurocopa, after coming to the conclusion that he’s not 100 percent physically. Villa spoke with Del Bosque before this decision was announced, and after the team had arrived in Austria. Via twitter, David said, “I tried until the end, but I won’t be 100 percent for the Euro. Today I called the coach to tell him that. It’s the most honest thing I could do. I wish the national team the best in this Eurocopa and I’ll continue working hard to return as soon as possible with Barça and Spain. Thank you everyone for your support. A hug.”
Bonus: The Xabi Alonso pose section.™