day 36 – the Xabi Alonso pose section
June 25, 2012.
Will Gniewino be remembered as fondly as Neustift and Potchefstroom once this tournament is over? Today, Spain is leaving Poland for Donetsk, as they’ll stay in Ukraine after the semifinal should they qualify for the final. Meanwhile, on the last day in Gniewino, Xabi spent much of the morning posing. Bonus gif here!
The training session.
There was a video session in the morning, and then the team held a closed training session in the afternoon. Prior to the session, a moment of silence was held in memory of Miki Roqué, with all the players, coaching staff, doctors and other staff members of the team joining in.
Pepe Reina and Xabi Alonso were teammates with him at Liverpool, while Sergio Busquets played with him in the youth system of Lleida. Sergio Busquets wrote a message published on the RFEF’s web site yesterday, which read, “after finding out this tragic news about the passing away of a teammate, I wanted to give all my support and strength to Miki Roqué’s family and friends. He was a great person, a great athlete, an example for everyone and above all else a great teammate. I shared many moments with him that I will never forget. I was in a state of shock and I realized just how unjust life is, but now I only have one thought: to do everything possible to be able to dedicate this triumph that we’re fighting for here to him. RIP Miki.”
We also found out that Carles Puyol had paid for all of Miki’s medical expenses at the Clínica Dexeus in Barcelona, where he was being treated. If you recall, Puyi also wore a shirt that read “Ánims, Miki!” on it while Barcelona was celebrating its 2011 Champions League title. The two were good friends, as Miki’s mother is from Puyol’s hometown of La Pobla de Segur, and Miki’s hometown of Tremp is located just 13 kilometers away.
The press conference.
Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fàbregas spoke to the press.
Xabi on Miki Roqué: I had reached out to him when I first found out the news of his sickness. I knew him personally, and it was a heavy blow to hear about his passing away. It was a shock for all of us and from here I’d like to send a big hug to his family, it’s a tough moment for them. It’s a shame that an athlete has to leave us in this way at the age of only 23 and we will be thinking about him on Wednesday because I knew him as a fantastic boy.
Xabi on the Italian press saying that Spain’s style is boring: if they get bored, that’s their opinion. We have confidence in our style and we’re not going to change.
Xabi on whether it was a good weekend to have the last name Alonso: yes, that doesn’t happen very often. We were able to watch a part of the race, and it was a fantastic one. Fernando was able to make a comeback and he’s a genius, not only for his qualities, but also for what he has here (points at his head). We congratulate him and hopefully he’ll bring us more joy during the season.
Xabi on reaching 100 games and scoring two goals: there’s no need to keep talking about that, I’m very content to pass onto the semifinals. I’m happy to reach 100 games and if I could also score two goals, well, that’s better.
Cesc on Miki Roqué: it was distressing news for everyone. I didn’t know him personally, but I knew he had been doing recovery work in the installations of Barça B. Puyol always spoke very well of him and he told me that he was a fantastic person. We already had many reasons to win this Eurocopa, but the loss of two important men in Spanish football – Manolo Preciado and Miki Roqué – give us an extra motivation to win. Thinking about how someone who is my age is gone is tremendous. A big hug for his family and loved ones in these tough moments.
Cesc on playing as the “false nine”: I play where the míster asks me. I only try and help the team, it’s a position that I like and where I have a lot of freedom. People know what my qualities are, they know my ability to finish and that’s what I believe people expect of me.
Cesc also said he put down Spain vs. Germany for the final, while Xabi said he doesn’t remember what he put, since he’s not going to win. The two also took questions in English!
The other interviews.
In an interview with Cuatro, Gerard Piqué revealed how he spent his day off: “we had the entire day off, we were able to sleep with our partners, we spent the day tranquilly in our rooms, as we had gone to sleep at five in the morning and so we woke up late the next day and then we watched the game between England and Italy.” During the course of the interview, he also spoke about Miki Roqué: “it was very difficult news to hear, I met him when I was with Manchester United and he was in Liverpool. When I found out the previous day, I was speaking with Puyol, who knew him personally. It was very, very tough. He was a charming person. And so young. I want to send a hug to his parents in these difficult moments… UEFA has its regulations, but I’m sure they’ll allow us to hold a minute of silence because he deserves it and everyone wants to see it happen.” As for Cristiano, Piqué said, “he’s one of the best players in the world and he has everything. We played together for two or three years in Manchester United. I get along very well with him. Neither of us spoke much English and so we often got together… we’ve always gotten along very well.” Someone else he gets along well with is Sergio Ramos: “I already said it in the press conference before the game, it’s absurd [to say we have problems], we’ve shown it on the field. Two people can’t play well together on the field if they don’t get along. The relationship is magnificent.” When asked who he’d dedicate the goal to if he scores in the semifinal, Piqué responded, “normally, I dedicate it to my partner, and I’m sure I will dedicate it to her, but I prefer to not allow any goals and qualify for the final.”
Meanwhile, at the AS Café, Gerard also spoke about Sergio and Cris. On the former, he remarked, “a lot of untrue things have been said, on the field the relationship is very good because if we didn’t get along, we wouldn’t be playing as we are doing.” As to the latter, he revealed, “in the locker room, Cristiano is a phenomenal person, charming. Outside of it, he may show things that people don’t like, that arrogance, but inside I knew him as a person and he made a great impression on me. He didn’t speak much English and I didn’t either, so we would get together often and we had great times together.” He also said he speaks to Carles Puyol almost every day. The interviewers also asked him to choose between “Waka Waka” and David Bisbal’s theme song for the Eurocopa, and of course Geri went with the former.
Xabi spoke to TVE, telling them he never expected to get to 100 games with the national team, and the best thing about the game against France was that Spain advanced to the semifinals since his great game wouldn’t have meant anything had Spain lost. He also reveals that he has been in contact with the three Portugal players who are his teammates with Real Madrid – Cristiano, Pepe and Coentrão – and that they have joked around.
Xabi also spoke to COPE (have a listen here). He told them that he hasn’t seen any replays of his goal yet, as his family came to Poland and he spent the free day with them. As for the test of “El Partido de las 12,” here are the results.
Would you be capable of explaining to us what is the risk premium in 10 seconds? More or less, it’s the debt that the government issues, the higher the premium, the more interest the state has to pay and the more expensive it will be for it. More or less, no? It’s up to you to take the last penalty in the final, who is the last person you think of? No one. I don’t think about anyone in this moment. If the king comes into the locker room after you win the title, who would tell the joke about the elephant? It wouldn’t be me. Who then? I don’t know. Sergio. “It’s not normal to sell an image of perfection because no one is perfect.” Who said this and about whom was it said? I don’t remember… When you have doubts, you… keep going forward. Why are football players always seen on television spitting on the field after missing a goal? Everyone does it? I don’t have an explanation. What country was the current pope born in? Germany. Could this be one of the three worst interviews you’ve ever done? Top 10 (said in English).
David Silva spoke to “El Larguero,” and here’s the little test he did. A song to listen to before the game: whatever is on in the locker room, it’s usually Sergio or Pepe who chooses. The last call of the day is for: well, the truth is that here, I’m messaging more using WhatsApp… with my friends, family. Have you ever watched an episode of Verano Azul? No, no. Parchís or pocha? Pocha. Do you have any friends who are unemployed? Yes. Spain will beat who in the final? I hope it will Italy, I have a teammate on that team. A nine or a false nine? Both. [What’s Balotelli like? He’s a very good guy. He might get caught up in the moment, but then you spend the day with him and he’s a great person.]
And Sergio gave us this photo from his day off. I like the hair like this.