day 4 – preparations continue
May 24, 2012.
Several media outlets have reported that the boys won’t be allowed to use social networks during the Eurocopa, and the lack of tweets and posts and photos from them in recent days had me wondering if this was true and/or if it also applied to this “pre” Eurocopa period. Luckily, yesterday, Álvaro Arbeloa came through for us when he posted this photo of “Il Capitano.” I’d like to think that Xabi tied the shirt around Iker’s neck.
And Sergio Ramos contributed this photo of the “veteranos y noveles.”
After a morning of relaxation in the spa (where are the pictures?), the players returned to training on Thursday afternoon. Many people came out to watch La Roja train, despite the €8 entrance admission fee. David de Gea joined the 18 field players as they trained, while Iker and Pepe did specific goalkeeping exercises with Ochotorena. I love how chummy Sergio and Santi look, while that height difference between Jordi and David is 22 centimeters!
Earlier in the day, the team had once again sent out four players to speak to the press. Highlights from the press conference:
Sergio Ramos on taking penalties: I’ve never had a problem in facing up to this type of pressure, whether it’s with my club or the national team. I almost always practice them, although perhaps you aren’t able to watch the complete training sessions, so you don’t see what we practice. If there’s a penalty, I’ll take it without any problems. [Sergio was also seen practicing penalties at the training session later on.]
Sergio on Puyol’s absence and his position: it’s sad news for us. He’s an emblematic player, but if there’s anything that enriches this team, it’s the variety. In my case, this season I’ve played more as a centerback and the truth is I’m playing at a good level, from my point of view. As a fullback, I became champion of the world and of Europe, but it’s true that I feel very comfortable playing as a centerback.
Juanfran on his feelings after two days with the team: they are good sensations. This is my first time with the national team, and I am very happy to be here and to be able to play with these teammates whom I admire, and I have a lot of desire to stay and be here for a long time. It’s the most important thing in my life right now, to be able to be with the national team, and hopefully I’ll be able to play in a game and stay, since the expectations I have are enormous.
Álvaro Negredo on the competition in his position: it’s a healthy competition. All of us who are here are trying to win a position and be on the definitive list. I have the luck to be here, I have to fight and work hard to do things well, so that the coach can see that we’re available for whatever he requires.
Isco on the possibility of debuting this Saturday: for me, it’s something new to be called up and I’m living it with a lot of desire and expectations. We hope to have an opportunity on Saturday, since it is complicated to be called up for the best national team in the world.
And Sergio is deliberately showing off that hair, isn’t he, since he must know how jealous we are of it.
Other things. Click here to see the jersey numbers for the next two games.
In declarations on his personal web site, Fernando Torres admitted that he didn’t see himself playing in the Eurocopa, and so “I’ve never reacted to a call-up with so much excitement.” In addition, he said he doesn’t feel that his presence is unquestionable. With regards to the absence of David Villa, Fernando said, “I can only send him my support, my affection, my respect and my personal admiration. He made a good decision. He deserves more than anyone else to be in Poland because he’s shown that he’s fundamental to this national team. We’ll miss him. And if the absence of Carles Puyol is confirmed, those will be two very important absences for us.”
And for those who are missing La Roja’s Athletic and Barcelona players, here are some photos commissioned by adidas for the Copa del Rey final. I’m so glad Javi (!!!) got a haircut. He looks like a mushroom here.
Today, the team will train, Iker/Bruno/David Silva will speak to the press, and the team will travel to St. Gallen, where Fernando Torres and our favorite PF Juan Mata will join them.