day 17 – humility makes you champions
June 6, 2012.
Fernando Llorente is a boy after my own heart, because he had this reaction, which I suppose is very similar to some of yours, to Sergio Ramos’ new hair.
Okay, not really, but it does look like it, no?
There are various phrases written on the fences and walls of La Roja’s headquarters in Gniewino, including “history doesn’t make you champions, humility does,” “history doesn’t win games, effort does,” “history doesn’t score goals, talent does,” “history doesn’t stop rivals, concentration does.” In this way, the federation hopes to motivate the players and prevent them from relaxing. I like it, and I agree with all of the phrases.
The morning session.
For the fans, the morning session started with a performance by a band, a group of cheerleaders, other dancers and the releasing of balloons. Unlike the previous day, Xavi managed to walk by without looking, but Juanfran and PF Juan Mata both sneaked a peek.
Then La Roja trained for the first time in Gniewino. The session was held without the goalkeepers (who were training on another field with Ochoto), but the good news was that Álvaro Arbeloa and Jesús Navas trained normally, having recovered favorably from their neck and hand problems, respectively. The team trained for 75 minutes, doing warmup exercises, stretching, ball exercises and either rondos or exercises to build up physical strength. The session ended with a partidillo without the goalkeepers and the goals they guard.
Have we gotten a little used to it yet?
The Osborne bulls made it to Gniewino, and Sergio couldn’t resist living out his childhood dream of becoming a bullfighter.
Following the session, Iker took the time out to meet with a young fan in a wheelchair. The kid, who was wearing a Madrid shirt, just wanted to get a photo with Iker. But then Iker took off his training shirt, and gave it to the boy, and chatted with him for several minutes.
Later on, Xavi also met with the fan, and they posed together with one of his Barcelona jerseys.
The press conference.
Álvaro Arbeloa and Javi Martínez (!!!) were the two players who spoke to the press on Wednesday. Álvaro was asked about Xavi Hernández’s recent statement to Canal + regarding Real Madrid: “we [Barcelona] congratulated them when they won, this is the essence of sports. We were very respectful with them when they won the Liga or the Copa del Rey in the Mestalla. However, I did not see any of that reciprocated when they lost. It’s a very personal sensation that I have.” Although the players were not supposed to answer club-related questions, Álvaro did want to respond, saying, “I believe the relationship here between everyone is good. We know how to differentiate when we’re with our clubs and when we’re with the national team. We all have the same objective, which is to get to the final and try and win the Eurocopa. Obviously, if there are differences, we are here to iron them out. At the moment, the co-existence is very good.” I love his diplomatic response! And I think it’s great that there are players who are attempting to pacify things instead of stirring things up. By the way, Álvaro also took questions in English!
Meanwhile, Javi (!!!) spoke about his role on the national team: “until this year, I had always played in the midfield. Bielsa thought I could play an important role in the defense, and he put me there during the training sessions so that I could improve. In the beginning, it took a bit of effort to adjust but I’m feeling better there all the time. I’m lucky enough to be able to play in two positions if that’s what Del Bosque needs.”
While Álvaro was speaking, Javi (!!!) stared into space with his mouth open. Not a good look for Javi (!!!!).
The afternoon session.
The team held another training session in the afternoon, with the goalkeepers participating in this one. For 40 minutes, the players did exercises with the ball, and ended with a partidillo. While Xavi was practicing free kicks, Cesc and Gerard played games off to the side.
I love our goalkeepers…
… even the not so successful temporary ones!
Javi (!!!) was interviewed by Cadena Ser on Wednesday (have a listen here). He was asked about the “Proyecto Durban,” and said it’s a restaurant he’s opening in Ayegui, with the grand opening in about a month’s time. The chat ended with a little “test,” and these were the questions and answers. Vintage Javi (!!!).
The last call of the day is for… my girlfriend. Do you think Spain will be bailed out during the Eurocopa? Uff, I don’t know, I have no idea. A character from “Verano azul.” (Pause) Chanquete, no? Why are Catalan people called polacos (Polish people)? Joder, I have no idea. I don’t know, why? Do you have any friends who are unemployed? Yes, I have three or four. What advice do you give them? I tell them they have to look for work, because if not… A song by Shakira. Ehhhh… “Waka Waka.” Another one? Ehhhhhhhh… joder, you got me… “Rabiosa!” Your favorite girl’s name. Ehhh.. Fortu, which is my mother’s name. Do you have any weddings to go to this summer? No, I’m not getting married (laughs). Weddings of your friends, teammates… no, not this year, and besides I can’t go, because I also have the Olympics. With lights on or off? To do what? With the lights on, to get a good view. Did you forget to bring anything? Ehhhhh, nothing, I didn’t forget anything, I think this is the first time where I didn’t forget anything. Do you know how much the risk premium is? You got me, I knew it yesterday… I have no idea.
Meanwhile, in an interview with TVE, Jordi Alba said he really, really admires Xavi Hernández, and Víctor Valdés told Liga BBVA/Sportyou that he only has words of praise for Iker. And Sergio tweeted this photo of himself. I think he’s trying to get us used to the hair.
Bonus: The Xabi Alonso pose section™. Hopefully, this is a sign that Xabi now has a protégé (besides PF of course).