day 18 – more preparations…
June 7, 2012.
Well, this photo is actually from the previous day (Wednesday) but it’s front and center on this post because I got a bigger version, because it’s adorable and because not that many exciting things happened on Thursday, or at least things we were privy to. In fact, it was quite a sad day, for the passing away of Manolo Preciado.
The refereeing chat.
The morning started with a chat from former referee Pierluigi Collina, who is now the refereeing coordinator for UEFA. He spoke to the team – in Spanish – about refereeing, special issues, rules and fair play, saying things such as “the referees are not your enemies.” Later on Juan Mata said, “I didn’t know that Collina speaks Spanish that well. He explained to us rules of the game, fouls, uncertain offsides, yellow and red cards… he advised us a bit about the new norms that are being implemented and which will be carried out during the Eurocopa. It was an information session and it was positive.”
The photo session.
As you can see, the players wore their game kits for that chat, because right afterward, they shot individual videos which will be shown on the screens at the stadiums before the games. I wish there were video of the boys heckling each other during the photo shoot.
The press conference.
Juan Mata and Pedro were the players scheduled for the press conference, although Pepe, Jesús Navas, Raúl Albiol and Sergio Busquets were also made available for interviews, leading to a lot of chaos, as you can see here, because there were too few players, too little time and too many reporters.
PF was asked about whether he would start, and he responded, “I haven’t spoken with Del Bosque. My goal is to play as many minutes and games as I can. There is a lot of competition, and only 11 of us can play. My objective is going to be to help as much as I can in all areas, to be ready and for us to always remain united so that we can support each other. We all want the same thing: to win the Eurocopa.” Juanín also confirmed that he is still hoping to be able to to play in the Olympics, saying a gold medal would be the best way to end a perfect year, and spoke about his impression of the installations at Gniewino: “the installations are very functional and comfortable, everything is close by. There are two game rooms and we’re close to the training fields, which is very important.”
So, so, so pretty!
Meanwhile, Pedro spoke about how there were times during the season when he didn’t expect to make it to the final list: “logically, in some moments, I saw myself outside of the list, I had injuries and it took a lot of effort for me to enter into the team. Luckily, I was able to end with confidence and the day of the Copa del Rey final, I felt good. Now I will work hard here to be at the highest level and the best rhythm. I feel in shape and in rhythm. The míster will decide whether I’ll be able to contribute to the team and I will work at 100 percent.” He also said it was important for the team to feel the affection of the fans, so that they will feel more supported and have more confidence.
While speaking to the media, Sergio Busquets confirmed that he won’t be in London: “I won’t be in London. It’s not because I don’t want to, because the truth is I really wanted to go, but given the circumstances that exist, I preferred to distance myself.” And Raúl Albiol told El Mundo that he believes David Silva will be the best player of the Eurocopa.
The training session.
Thursday’s session was a closed door one, but before it began, a moment of silence was held for Manolo Preciado, who passed away from a heart attack late Wednesday evening. The RFEF has asked UEFA to allow them to hold a minute of silence and wear black armbands in the game against Italy. VDB said, “we’re all in shock. We were having breakfast and the news shocked us. He’s always been an affectionate person and a great athlete. He was a man of football who represented well what a coach should be.”
Many of the players took to twitter to express their condolences, including Raúl Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Álvaro Arbeloa (who tweeted about how Preciado had just visited Valdebebas a while back and how they were able to speak to him), Cesc, Juan Mata, Gerard Piqué, Víctor Valdés, Pedro, Andrés Iniesta, Fernando Llorente, and Javi Martínez (here, here and here), who also changed his profile picture for one of Preciado and wrote that he’s always wished that he could have Precaido as a coach. Iker also posted his condolences on his Facebook.
On Wednesday, after dinner, Vicente del Bosque had asked the team who was going to handle the porra (see here and here if you don’t know what that is) this year in Carles Puyol’s absence, since it has become a beloved tradition, in addition to helping players to relax and kill time during the concentración. In the end, Xavi and Busquets raised their hands, and I’m sure Carles will be helping them with all the details from Spain.
In an interview with Marca, Jesús Navas was asked about how the parchís is going, and he responded, “we’re all tied, me with Sergio Ramos and Arbeloa with Albiol, as always.” Álvaro Arbeloa tweeted this photo, writing, “what a pair playing tennis on their PSVitas!! I don’t know which of them is worse!” and adding the hashtag “vándalos.” And Cesc got a picture with Collina!