day 27 – the “P” edition

June 16, 2012.

In this post: players, porteros, play time, press conferences, porras, plus PF Juan Mata and of course, lots of perfection.

The training session.

Sergio Busquets trained normally with the rest of his teammates at the afternoon training session.  Jordi Alba also trained at the same intensity as the rest of the group, despite having the area right below his left knee taped up.  The session started with rondos and progressed onto possession exercises with the footballers divided into two groups of 10.  Once these exercises were completed, those players who had started the game against Ireland (minus Iker) were allowed to skip the rest of the session.  The rest of the team then played some three on three and then five on five games, during which they were joined by the three goalkeepers.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Spain training session without players chasing each other around… (chasing Gerard Piqué must be the most enjoyable thing in the world, judging by the expressions on Víctor and Cesc’ faces…)

… and hugging it out.

Here’s the whole “chase… hug!” sequence.  Keep an eye on Fernando Torres… he doesn’t catch anyone to hug!  But that’s okay, because later on, once Javi (!!!) and Pepe got Fernando in their grasp, they didn’t want to let him go.  Who can blame them?  And I wouldn’t mind being on the bottom of that pile!  I wonder if Javi (!!!) was thinking, I can’t believe I just tackled my idol!

During the morning, the team had studied how Croatia plays during a video session (see, they did do some serious things on Saturday).

The press conference.

Álvaro Negredo and Raúl Albiol spoke at the press conference.  It was quite an entertaining 15 minutes, because interesting questions were asked and interesting answers given.

Raúl on whether he expected to be called up: I knew that it was going to be difficult to be here, since I hadn’t played many minutes with my team, but I always had the hope that I would see my name on the list and I’m very happy to have been in Austria and now here.  I’m trying to make the míster see that I’m at a good level and when he needs me, I’m here.

on the game against Croatia: Spain will come out to win as it always does.  Italy will have to come out and win its game, Croatia as well.  We’re all going to come out to win so we won’t have to depend on others.  There’s no pact of any kind, that’s nonsense.  Each team will come out onto the field with a victory in mind.

on the porra: it’s a porra that the whole team is doing, it’s been a tradition since before I came.  We predict the results and the match-ups in the next rounds, and we’re watching all the games together to make it more emotional.  Right now I’m in third place, Cesc is first and Silva is second.  That’s the podium.

on his prediction for the Spain-Croatia game:  I don’t remember the result I put [the journalists there makes noises of disbelief].  I put down a win for Spain… I believe it was a 1-0.  But I can assure you, it wasn’t a 2-2, for those who are thinking that.

Álvaro on his first big competition with Spain and the forwards debate: I’m very happy to be here.  It’s a reward to be here with these teammates in this Eurocopa.  With regards to the debate, I’m experiencing it calmly.  I know there is a lot of competition and players who have played phenomenally.  I will try and take advantage of the opportunity when it comes.

on whether he’s spoken to his Sevilla teammate Ivan Rakitic: I congratulated him after the game against Italy.  In Sevilla we have a great relationship but we didn’t go beyond saying congratulations and asking each other about our families.

on his prediction for the Spain-Croatia game: I put a 2-0 in favor of the national team.

Here you can see that scar that everyone has been asked about…

During the press conference, there was also a question from an English journalist who wanted to know if Raúl and Álvaro Arbeloa continue to play as England in Play (the first part of the question had to do with Albiol’s impression of England in the Eurocopa).  Raúl took the opportunity to tease Negredo, saying that he (Negredo) always teams up with Juan Mata and they always lose to the pair formed by Albiol/Arbeloa at videogames.  Later on, Negredo told Radio Marca that “I’m a regular player.  We asked to be the Netherlands and they wanted to be England.  They beat us 7-0.”  Jajaja!!!!  I’ll say it again, I love this team!

Xavi and PF Juan Mata were the two other players that the press was allowed to speak to.

¿Los porteros?

Cuatro dedicated a video showing Javi (!!!), Álvaro Negredo and Raúl Albiol attempting to be goalkeepers.  As you can see, Javi (!!!) mostly stands around watching balls go past him into the net, Álvaro keeps feinting to no avail and out of this lot, Raúl is the one that manages to actually make more than one save.

Since we’ve seen many scenes like this before Spain’s training sessions, and with other players playing the part, Raúl and Álvaro were asked about it at their press conference.  Álvaro explained that, “it’s something we have to worry about in case the goalkeeper is sent off.  Sergio Ramos is the one who does it the best, in my opinion.  We try out our luck as goalkeepers to kill some of the time before the training session begins.’  Meanwhile, Raúl lamented, “I’m not able to make many saves because my scaphoid bones are messed up.”

At the training session later that day, we did indeed see Sergio in the goal.

And to complete the alternate reality, we had Pepe Reina attempting to take shots at the goal (the likes of Fernando Llorente, Xavi and Javi (!!!) were the ones providing the crosses), and he wasn’t too successful.  When he finally connected on a shot (sort of), Sergio managed to block it.

They have so much fun, no?

Other things.

The RFEF invited all the journalists covering Spain in Poland to have dinner at the team hotel with Ángel María Villar, Vicente del Bosque and Jorge Pérez.

Meanwhile, the team had their own dinner, and Juanfran sat next to “Two Blues.”

Adidas listened!  They put Xabi Alonso and Álvaro Arbeloa together for the latest installment of the “En el vestuario de La Roja” series!  In the first part, both Xabi and Álvaro answered questions correctly when they were quizzing each other, showing that they’re both football geeks.  There were some fun questions this time around.  In response to the question, “after being together the whole year in Madrid as well as now, aren’t you getting tired of each other?”  The response from Álvaro: “Xabi and I have been together for five and a half years, since we were also together in Liverpool,  we get along quite well, and I’m not tired of him.”

Xabi was given the question, “if you had to choose a song for the moment when you all emerge from the locker room into the tunnel, which one would you choose?”  The response: “the song that I would like to hear and one that has potent energy is ‘Nightcall’ by Kavinsky, from the soundtrack of Drive.”  Meanwhile, Álvaro also answered the question, “which pair is better at parchís, Arbeloa-Albiol or Navas-Ramos?”  I ADORE Álvaro’s response: “that’s a very easy question to respond to, the Arbeloa-Albiol pairing has no rival, not in parchís, not in Playstation, and not in any game that we’re playing at the moment… I know I’m not being humble by saying this, but you have to be realistic.  When you’re the best, you have to let others know.”  At this point, Xabi interjected, “in everything except Trivial Pursuit, you all won’t dare to play that, I have the photo of the pie.”  Jajaja!!!!

I also love how they kept fiddling around with their boots, especially the studs, unconsciously.  And watch out for Álvaro losing all interest by the end.

Javi (!!!) was up next, but unfortunately alone.  He got some boring questions, but did talk about how great the atmosphere is, since all of the players are great persons, and how he spends his free time “playing Play, reading, studying… no, not studying, playing cards, watching games with my teammates.”  Javi (!!!) also revealed he wasn’t hazed the first time he was called up “thanks to God,” and said he hopes that will never happen.

It wouldn’t be a Javi Martínez (!!!) video without him struggling to sit still, constantly changing positions and fiddling with his sleeve and pushing it up, so look for those moments!

He’s adorable!

And check out this video of Pablo, who like Javi Martínez (!!!), is from Ayegui.  He and his friends traveled to Gniewino to cheer on the “Kaiser of Ayegui,” and Javi (!!!) ended up giving Pablo his training shirt!

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Posted on June 17, 2012, in daily, interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Thanks again for your posts Una! I loved the gifs of Pepe Reina trying to kick in a goal. Ha ha ha. As well as smotherng Fernando Torres!

  2. Perhaps Valdes and Cesc want to get back at Pique for all the pranks he pulls.

    “Valdes once got fined by the club for arriving late on training after he couldn’t find his gloves that had been hidden by Pique. [reuters]”

  3. Thanks for a great post, Una! :)

  4. javi’s moves remind me of cesc sometimes..

    and in that pic where valdes is chasing pique, look for torres and ramos’s expressions at the backround.. lol

  5. wonderful posts UnaMadridista -I have no time to comment them all separately, because I try to use the most of Euro and watch every single game, stalk the teams living in my city (not Spain unfortunately) and have work in the meantime;-), but I see there are many cool posts, so thank you!!!

    I cannot wait for tomorrow’s Spain game!

    PS I kind of got used to Sergio’s new hair, but still, nothing compares to the mane;-)

  6. I’ve always wondered, what does the PF in PF Juan Mata stand for? Otherwise, great work here. Thanks for all your effort! :)

  7. this was a fun little post. filled with all sorts of goodies! Thanks :)

  8. aw Nando in that hugging gif! Haha is that Alba who runs right past him? and Sergio, Sergio, trying his best no matter what you propose to him.

  9. i guess Albiol’s prediction was on point

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