La Otra Roja: wives & girlfriends in Elle España
The July issue of Elle España has a feature on six of the wives and girlfriends of this Eurocopa team: Yolanda Ruiz (Pepe Reina), Úrsula Santirso (Santi Cazorla), Carlota Ruiz (Álvaro Arbeloa), Yolanda Cardona (Víctor Valdés), Alicia Roig (Raúl Albiol) and Carolina Martín (Pedro Rodríguez). Of course, they’re all beautiful, smart and successful women, because our players have great taste! And congratulations to VV, who’s going to be a father again!
Yolanda Ruiz: Yolanda is the wife of Pepe Reina, and this is her third Eurocopa. She hopes Spain will reach the final, because during the last final, she went into labor. At the age of 31, she’s the mother of three children: Grecia (5), Alma (4) and Luca (1). She studied business in her hometown of Córdoba and now handles the accounts of some of the companies owned by her husband.
Úrsula Santirso: after studying to become a physical education teacher, she began studying for her physical education sciences degree, which she didn’t end up finishing because she moved to Villarreal to be with Santi Cazorla. The two of them are from the same town – Lugo de Llanera, Oviedo – and have been friends since they were kids. She says, “when I was nine, I would go with my father to watch him play.”
Carlota Ruiz: the 28-year-old studied teaching in Zaragoza, where she was born, and later speech therapy when she moved to the capital with her then-boyfriend, Álvaro Arbeloa. They married in 2009, and are the parents of Alba, who is two. She was part of the women’s football team at her high school and she met Arbeloa at the age of 17. From that point on, they’ve been inseparable. [Yesterday, Álvaro tweeted “beautiful” along with this photo of Carlota.]
Yolanda Cardona: Yolanda will watch this Eurocopa at home with family, because this 30-year-old Colombian model and partner of Víctor Valdés is three months pregnant. They also have a three-year-old son. She says, “here, they live for football. It’s everything. Before, I didn’t like it a lot, but now I don’t miss a single game. Víctor has been teaching me about it, and when it’s your husband who’s playing, you see it in a different way.”
Alicia Roig: she was born in Valencia, although she’s lived the last several years in Madrid, because her husband Raúl Albiol plays for Real Madrid. Alicia is 25 years old and the mother of two girls, Azahara (3) and Alma (2). She just took the entrance exams for university, because her dream is to study medicine at the Alfonso X University.
Carolina Martín: she met Pedro Rodríguez seven years ago when he was 17 and she was 22. “He was playing in the juveniles of Barça and then in the third division. I went to watch all the games,” says Carolina, who is an accountant. She attended the World Cup in South Africa, but this will be her first Eurocopa: “we will miss David Villa because he’s a great teammate.”
Here is the article that accompanies the photos.
Our six protagonists don’t usually appear in the press, they prefer to remain in the background, and none of them are as popular as Sara Carbonero. Our La Roja girls are the extreme opposite of the stereotype of the WAGs, whose passion is shopping and whose intense social life inspired the TV series Football Wives. The majority of them have studied at the university level, but have put their professions on pause, at least for several years.
Carlota Ruiz says, “of course I would like to work, but it’s incompatible with the profession of my husband. What I don’t want is to be still, so as long as I can, I will continue learning. Right now my priority is him and my family.” Alicia Roig is another example. Three days before traveling to Poland with her two daughters, she took the university entrance exams, because she wants to be a doctor.
They’re not the only ones. Yolanda Ruiz was studying business when she met Pepe Reina. She says, “then I started economics, but we went to Liverpool and I got pregnant. That was almost eight seasons ago.” Yolanda, like many football wives, counts the years according to the competition calendar, and family events are intimately tied to big football events. She remembers how she went into labor after a Champions League quarterfinal between Liverpool and Barcelona “which we won.”
Carolina Martín says this life is fast paced, which is something they all agree on. Úrsula Santirso adds, “you’re young. You leave your friends, your family and you see yourself as a girl. You have to do a bit of everything, because it’s a life that obligates you to grow up fast. For example, the majority of us have become mothers at a young age. You do everything faster because a player ends his career at the age of 33 or 34. If I compare myself with my lifelong friends, I was the first to become independent and to have a child.” She will go to the Eurocopa with her son Enzo, who is two. She continues, “in the last edition, many of us were without children and we had a great time, because the federation organized excursions for the family members. Now it’s different, because I want our children to meet each other.” Carlota says, “on the national team, the partners of the Real Madrid and Barcelona players get together and we celebrate everything equally.”
We also found out during the session about some of the players’ manias. Pepe Reina has to eat a ham and cheese sandwich the day before the game. Yolanda adds with a laugh, “he calls me before the game, and if I don’t pick up the phone and we lose, he blames me.” She goes to as many games as she can, with their three children. And she also has a ritual: “I sit in the same place and when Pepe comes out onto the field, I whistle at him, and then he looks for me to blow me a kiss. Then, when he’s warming up on the sideline, the two girls imitate him.” As for Carolina, if Pedro doesn’t score, she has to prepare chicken wings for him “following the recipe of my mother. And since then, he’s always scored.”
And watch a making of video here!
Alicia: in the last Eurocopa, he promised to study English, and he made good on his promise. And this year, since I’m sure La Roja will get far, I hope he also promises to do something and makes good on it.
Carlota: I love football, I’ve watched all of Álvaro’s games since he played on the youth teams of Zaragoza, and we also watch games from other leagues, other teams from the Spanish league.
Úrsula: the truth is I’m very excited because four years ago, we were all unmarried and without children, different. And this year, all of us are going to get together, with all the children, most of them are about the same age. I’m very content. And I’m especially happy because two years ago Santi missed out on the World Cup and he has the privilege to be there this year and take part in this incredible experience.
Carolina: from the time that I met Pedro, I began following football a lot. I watched him as a juvenil and now he’s in the first division; once the games are over, we go home and watch the game again. We speak about the plays, what he did well, what he did poorly…
Yolanda Ruiz: it’s curious because in the last Eurocopa, I was pregnant with my second daughter, and around the time of the final, I went into labor. I started feeling pain at three in the morning, and I called Patricia, David Villa’s wife, who accompanied me to the hospital, she followed the ambulance and I gave birth to the girl.