days 39 and 40 – getting ready for the final!
Continuing to catch up…
I can totally see Sergio in a shirt with the same pattern as the couch!
June 28, 2012.
The team – plus all their families and friends – traveled to Kiev on Thursday, leaving their hotel in Donetsk at 09:30h in the morning to take a flight to the Ukrainian capital.
They arrived around noon, and then headed to the Opera Hotel, which will be their home for the next three days.
The team then had the rest of the day off (they had the previous night off as well, but had to regroup to make the trip).
According to Marca, the majority of the players, including Sergio Ramos, Jesús Navas, Jordi Alba, Andrés Iniesta, Álvaro Negredo, Álvaro Arbeloa, Pedro, Javi Martínez (!!!), Santi Cazorla, Fernando Llorente, PF Juan Mata, Juanfran, David Silva and Xabi Alonso – spent the rest of Thursday at the hotels, such as the Holiday Inn, where their families and friends were staying. Sergio had lunch with his family, Jesusito and his friend Ángel Martín. Many of them also watched the Italy-Germany game together. And since the kitchen of the hotel was closed, Pepe Reina organized a group to go out and buy some fast food to feed everyone. Near the end of the night, Iker appeared, and watched the second half of the game with his parents and Sara Carbonero.
June 29, 2012.
The press conference & training session.
Unsurprisingly, it was Cesc and Sergio Ramos who spoke to the press.
Cesc on the semifinal win: the important thing is to play well on Sunday. We’ve already made history, and we’ll make more history if we win. We will give everything we have until the end to be able to have wonderful vacations and rest well to face the upcoming year with energy, and above all to celebrate the win with our families and all the people waiting for us in Spain.
Cesc on the upcoming game: when a team defends well, it’s because it has great defenders. Italy is having a fantastic tournament. It knows when to attack or defend, it has experience, it works hard. It also has a leader in the goal just like we do.
Cesc on the fans: luckily, our country loves football. It’s always great to win on penalties, but people were out on the streets in every moment. They have supported us. Many have come here to support us despite the difficulties. It’s satisfying to feel that our country is there. We hope we won’t disappoint them on Sunday and we hope to give them another satisfaction and celebrate it on Monday in Madrid with them.
Cesc on Iniesta: Andrés outdoes himself with each game. It was a difficult season for him in terms of injuries, but he arrived in the Eurocopa in an extraordinary moment. When it comes time to attack, he has this creativity that not many have. We need him to take charge in each game.
Sergio on his penalty: the penalty was a personal issue, related to my mood and confidence, it wasn’t to show anything to anyone. Many things were said when I missed the penalty against Bayern that hurt my pride as a professional, but I know that what has brought me here is my way of thinking and overcoming adversity. In the end, the penalty is just an anecdote and we should focus not on that, but on the fact that we qualified for the final.
Sergio on Iniesta: I will always consider him the visionary, one of those players who has been touched by a magic wand. He makes the difference and we’re proud that he gives his best to the national team.
The team trained behind closed doors at the installations of Dynamo Kyiv on Friday afternoon. It was a light, recovery session.
Cesc spoke with Cuatro several days ago, and this was the result of their “one minute without football” test.
Define yourself. I’ve never liked to talk about myself, and so I prefer to leave it to others to do. How do you spend your free time? I started watching Brothers and Sisters, I play ping pong, I have a competition going on with Andrés. What kind of music do you listen to? Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, catchy music, a bit of everything. A movie: The Blind Side, it’s about a rugby player who comes from poverty… [American football, Cesc!]. Tell me something about Poland. It’s a very, very tranquil place. What is the risk premium? The truth is that I don’t like to get involved in these types of debates [translation: he doesn’t know]. The last compliment you received: That I’m ugly, no, that’s a joke. Why are we going to win this Eurocopa? We hope to do it for all the people who have faith in us, and for all the effort they’re making to come here to support us and so we have to do it for them.
Meanwhile, Andrés Iniesta spoke to “El Partido de las 12” (have a listen here) and answered their eight question, 30-second test in this way.
Would you be capable of explaining to us what is the risk premium in 10 seconds? More or less, I suppose it’s the debt of Spain or something like that. It’s up to you to take the last penalty in the final, who is the last person you think of? Pfff… I don’t know, the goalkeeper that I have in front of me. If the king comes into the locker room after you win the title, who would tell the joke about the elephant? Whoever dares to. And who is that? I don’t know. Almost everyone had the same answer: a centerback from Sevilla. Oh, okay. Yes, it could be. The centerbacks will decide. “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 have no idea, but it’s true. When you have doubts, you… well… don’t blow the whistle. Why are football players always seen on television spitting on the field after missing a goal? Because we put that as an excuse. What country was the current pope born in? Country? Germany. Could this be one of the three worst interviews you’ve ever done? Well, we’ll just say that there are all types.
And El Larguero interviewed Carmen, Mari, Paqui and Eva, otherwise known as the mothers of Iker, Andrés, Sergio Ramos and David! Watch the interview here. José Ramón de la Morena starts off by saying Carmen makes him nervous, and so she tells him to start with Mari. He describes what each of the mothers is wearing, and Carmen says she’s wearing all white for Real Madrid. I adore her!
Carmen goes on to say that it’s not difficult being the mother of a footballer, but there are some moments and aspects which are difficult. Paqui says she suffered a lot and “I wanted to die” when they were told Sergio was going to be taking a penalty, and that she didn’t actually watch him take the penalty, because she couldn’t bear to watch. Meanwhile, Mari says she didn’t expect that Andrés would take a penalty, and then she struggles to remember a penalty that Andrés had taken before, and adds, “he didn’t make it.” She says that’s why she didn’t want him to take another one, because he had such a bad time when he missed that one. Eva says she wasn’t upset when David was subbed out, and that the experience with all the family members has been great.
Mari also says she didn’t watch the penalty shootout, because she left with her daughter Maribel and Iker’s mother. Mari and Maribel went outside (Mari later says she found out the result via WhatsApp), while Carmen went to the bathroom (she had also spent the end of the World Cup final in a bathroom because she was so nervous). Carmen says she waited 15 minutes in there, she could hear positive noises, but didn’t know which team it was for, and finally left when she thought it was sure to be over. She ended up seeing Cesc’ penalty, and that was the only one she saw.
Paqui explained her penalty experience. She says she was sitting in the stands, but didn’t see the penalty because she was remembering what a bad time Sergio had of it when he failed in the penalty shootout against Bayern Munich. At this point, she was carrying one of Pepe Reina’s daughters, and so she buried her face in the girl. Then Yolanda, Pepe’s wife, told her that Sergio had made the penalty, and that’s when Paqui finally looked up. De la Morena then asks her if she had known Sergio was going to take it in the Panenka style, and she confesses that she doesn’t even know what it means to shoot a la Panenka! She adds that she knew Sergio would be taking a penalty, because if it came to that, he absolutely wanted to be one of the players tasked with the responsibility.
Then the presenters ask Mari what José Antonio Iniesta was doing during the penalty shootout, since he was at home in Spain, due to his phobia of flying. Mari responds, “well, when I called him, he already knew that we had qualified for the final. I don’t know where he was. When I told him that we had qualified after the penalty shootout, that Andrés had scored one, he said, ‘no me jodas.'”
Eva talks about how David matured quickly when he left home at the age of 14 for Valencia, how proud she is that everyone always talks to her about what a good person her son is and how she likes that in photos, he’s always on the side or in the back, never in the center. And it seems that Carmen still holds grudges against people who wronged Iker in the past, including Vicente del Bosque!
David Villa and Carles Puyol are said to have accepted the federation’s invitation to attend the final on Sunday in Kiev. I hope Rafa Nadal will be there too! Something good can come out of that Wimbledon defeat!
Various media outlets report that an Asturian club, Club Deportivo Lealtad, in Villaviciosa was in danger of having to shut down after 95 years of existence, after its former president mismanaged funds and left the club with almost €200,000 in debt. Around 180 kids would be affected by a closure. Lealtad’s president then got in contact with the federation, and Gaspar Rosety, from the department of communication, told him that Iker and the two Asturians – Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata – had agreed to donate their shirts from the final against Italy so that the club could auction them off and raise money. What a great gesture!