day 8 – last day in Austria
May 28, 2012.
This really is the prettiest and most handsome team in the world!
The morning session: on Monday, Spain held its last two training sessions in Schruns, as the team will travel to Bern on Tuesday. Monday was a holiday for the local population, and so they filled all 3,000 seats in the training grounds to watch La Roja. And their time wasn’t wasted, because Javier Miñano had planned some fun exercises to begin the session with (perhaps to get certain players’ spirits up), where half the team got onto the backs of the other half and ran around poking at each other, before switching partners and positions.
It really looked like fun, no? And for those of you who have been worrying (you know who you are), notice the pairing on the left below.
Pepe, who got to take home the most beer from Cruzcampo four years ago due to his tipping the scales at 95 kilos, appeared to be too heavy for Fernando Torres, who toppled over with the weight. I loved that no one put Negredo or Domínguez on Santi Cazorla; instead he got David Silva, because he also probably couldn’t handle anyone heavier. Meanwhile, everyone was very affectionate with Roberto Soldado, trying to cheer him up, including Jordi Alba and Juanfran.
The rest of the session was taken up warm-up, ball exercises, a partidillo and of course the “recess” activities.
Xabi looks like a shoe model instead of a football player.
A bunch of children invaded the field at the end of the session, all of them wanting to get an autograph, a photo, a shirt or just a piece of the players. Iker was the most sought after player. As you can see, first it was few kids, then some more as they saw the first ones meet with success and then finally an entire crowd, completely mobbing Iker. You can also see Paloma Antoranz trying to extract Iker; unsurprisingly, she wasn’t successful. Antonio Limones was also out there trying to “save” the players and usher them to the locker room.
Iker also posted this photo on his Facebook, saying that if you can spot him, you’ll have his admiration. Yay, I have his admiration! It wasn’t hard, because I’ve been spotting Iker for years now (not stalking mind you, spotting). Álvaro Arbeloa and Pepe were stretching when this invasion took place, and so they had to stop what they were doing. Pepe ended up giving away his boots, while Álvaro returned to the field to sign autographs once things had calmed down. PF Juan Mata also got stuck out there with Paloma once again coming to the rescue.
After the session, ten players were called in for a surprise drug test by UEFA. Iker, Raúl Albiol, Jordi Alba, Álvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Álvaro Negredo, Juan Mata, Álvaro Domínguez, Javi García and Bruno Soriano were chosen randomly for the test, during which samples of their blood and urine were taken.
The press conference: Alba, Arbeloa [no, not Alba Arbeloa, though wouldn’t that be adorable?] and Mata, along with Fernando Torres, were supposed to speak with the press after the training session, but since the former three were busy getting their bodily fluids removed by the “vampires,” Fernando Torres spoke alone in the press conference.
Regarding the first call-up and the second one, he said, “when Mata and I were waiting for the communique from the federation to know if we were called up or not, we were nervous. You always have to respect Vicente’s decision. When they called me, it was like the first time. You also feel bad for those people who don’t make it because it’s very tough. Both Soldado and Adrián are sad but they know that being here is a merit. We were giving them our support yesterday afternoon because we understand their situation… If I’m here, it’s because the coach believes I can contribute things and I have a desire to pay him back for this confidence. We’re all here due to our own merits.”
When asked his thoughts on being the team’s fourth captain, due to the absence of Puyol (Iker, Xavi and Xabi are ahead of him), Fernando said, “I’m a veteran and I’ve always lent a hand to Xavi and Puyol. It’s not going to be anything new. We’re all here to lend a hand to the new players who are coming in, since we were all new at one point. The atmosphere is great, everyone feels like they’re at home, there’s humility and I believe the new people have integrated very well. We can see that everyone is equal.”
By the way, I hope he wasn’t thinking about how wonderful his hair looks in the photo on the above left, because it doesn’t.
The afternoon session: Sergio Ramos sat out the afternoon session due to problems in his back as the team trained for the last time in Schruns under the watchful gaze of 2,000 fans. Despite the field invasion at the morning session, Spain did not close off its training session to the public, but did station more security guards around the perimeter. The team went through their usual exercises and game, and Xabi Alonso and Álvaro Negredo also practiced penalties at the conclusion of the session.
The session began with a photo of the team with the canteranos of Schruns, and each member of the team received a good luck charm from the children in the form of a necklace with a crystal from the valley of Montafon, which is supposed to transmit strength and energy. Each of the children wore a shirt with a player’s name on the front (Fernando Torres had two, and that’s probably because he was the most popular player in Schruns) and they were responsible for presenting that player with the necklace (you can see they wore it first, and then took it off to give to the players). The backs of their shirts read “good luck in the Eurocopa!” Álvaro could be a jewelry model…
There was also a time for a photo of everyone, with Iker taking care of Sergio’s kid until he (Sergio) was located and came over to accept the necklace…
… and for jokes as well. How cute are VDB and the kid?
The mayor of Schruns also presented a gift to Vicente del Bosque, and as the session wound down, the team also applauded the fans for their affection during their stay in Schruns, while one fan managed to make it onto the field despite the extra security to get Santi Cazorla’s shirt.
Other things: according to EFE, Carles Puyol and David Villa will visit the national team on June 1, the day in which the Barcelona and Athletic players are expected to join the concentración. I’m sure that will be a great morale booster for the entire team! EFE also reports that according to sources in the federation, Carles and David could attend some of Spain’s game in the Eurocopa, as long as their recovery schedules won’t be affected.
Vicente del Bosque spoke to the radio program “Radiogaceta de los Deportes” on Monday night, saying that Raúl Albiol was chosen because “he never lets us down and he’s coming in fresh, and we preferred not to call up those who could go to the Olympics so that they would be fresh for London.” As for Álvaro Negredo, VDB said, “he’s not coming because he’s left-footed, but rather because we had to make a difficult decision and we believed Negredo was the best option for our interests.” He also showed that continuity is important to the team: “if Villa and Puyol were healthy, 21 out of the 23 who played in the World Cup would have gone to the Eurocopa.”
And I loved this little exchange between U-21 players Isco and Nacho, with a guest appearance by Nacho’s brother and U-19 player Álex. Isco started things out by tweeting, “retweet this so that Nacho will change his look, he’s had this hairstyle for 15 years, let’s help him to improve, jajaja.” Nacho responded with “I’m sorry Isco, with the passing of time you’ll be bald and I won’t.” Isco then tweeted Álex: “guapo, what’s your take on your brother’s change of look? He has hair like those on “Cúentame” [“Cúentame cómo pasó,” a TV show set in the 1970s] and that’s not the plan.” Álex defended his brother, saying, “jajaja, well, he’s handsome with that hairstyle although you can pass him the electric shaver if you want, jaja.”
Posted on May 29, 2012, in daily, la rojita, training and tagged alba, albiol, arbeloa, cazorla, del bosque, iker, juanfran, mata, puyol, soldado, torres, villa, xabi. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.