La Roja Por Dentro – Chapters I and II
I don’t want the readers of this blog to feel left out after I posted on my other blog, so here are the first excerpts from La Roja Por Dentro, as promised! For those who enjoy good writing, I’m sorry to say that the writing in this book is as disjointed and jumbled as that of El Mundo en Nuestras Manos (despite Silvia having a Media Studies degree from La Complu, unlike Pepe), and there is also a lot of rambling going on. With that said, there are some great anecdotes from the point of view of “the other team,” so let’s start with those.
Chapters I and II: “Medals are for normal people” and “The other team.”
Anecdotes from “the other team.”
Raúl Martínez: during the Confederations Cup, we stayed at a hotel called the Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge. It had a watering hole connected to an observatory and also cameras so you could see the Big Five from the television sets in your room. We also went on a small safari, and we saw some animals – giraffes, zebras, rhinos – but we hadn’t seen elephants or lions, so we were a bit disappointed. That, combined with the cold, the loss to the United States and having to remain in South Africa to play for third and fourth place, made all of us anxious. One night, before the game to determine the third and fourth places, around two or three in the morning, I was chatting with Galán [Fernando Galán, another of the fisios]. In the background, we had the television connected to the watering hole on. We hadn’t seen many animals in the 48 hours that we had been here, but suddenly, in the middle of the conversation, I noticed the trees on the screen moving out of the corner of my eye. Then a mid-sized elephant appeared, followed by about 20 more. We began running rapidly towards the observatory and we could see others doing the same. When we got there, we saw about half of the team already sitting there, watching the scene silently and with amazement on their faces. The majority of them were in their pajamas. The rest of the players began filing in. I remember them saying things like “ostras, look at how many there are, at last, shhhhhh, silence!, sit there.” In the end, almost the entire team was there, united as always, finally able to see elephants.
Sadly there are no photos of the boys in their pajamas, but here is one from the previous safari…
During the World Cup, I spent a lot of time with Andrés Iniesta due to the physical problems he was having. He’s a great person. What I remember is that he told me one day that he likes Playmobil’s clicks (as the male figurines are called in Spain) a lot and that he has a room full of them.
Javi Miñano: in the gymnasium of our residence in Potchefstroom, there was a pool with cold water, I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said it was freezing. The first day, no one went in, but then Arbeloa was the first one to try it out. He wasn’t the only one, and as the days went by, everyone tried it out. It was great for them, since the contrast in temperatures is good for the recovery of the players. As for the hot water pool, the employees would cover it at night to conserve the heat. One day, Jesús Navas told me that he could walk across the pool so fast that he wouldn’t fall. I didn’t believe him. He showed me, and he did it. He was very fast and weighed very little. Some of the other guys tried it, but they failed. Jesús is a special guy.
Juan Cota: I have a lot of anecdotes, but I can’t reveal some of them. There is one that I can share though. Before the World Cup, Puyi told me that if we won the World Cup, I had to do an Elvis imitation during the celebration. When Puyol told me this, neither of us thought the team would get so far later on. I accepted without thinking too much, and look at how we ended. Fortunately, with so much revelry, Puyol didn’t remember about this during the celebration. It only occurred to him after we returned to the bus.
Silvia Dorschnerova: there was a lot to do after the game and very little time to do it. While I was running around, they told me that the queen wanted to come down into the locker room to congratulate the players. There wasn’t time to do anything. The players were half-dressed or in the shower, and Puyol was getting treatment. I only remember shouting at them, “the queen is coming!” The atmosphere was very festive and I remember that we were singing about how Paul the Octopus was our mascot.
Pablo Peña: I remember that Plácido Domingo was in the locker room singing… what a beautiful and strange scene to take place in a locker room, no? And then we began hearing whispers that the queen was coming, and so we should clear the floor and move to one side. I had my camera on my shoulder, as I had been filming since the players came in following the conclusion of the game. I do this for our souvenir video, it’s not part of my job, but it’s always nice to have these things immortalized [why is this video not shared with the fans???].
Paloma Antoranz: I knew that Puyol was receiving treatment with Raúl, and when the queen asked about the goalscorer, I went into the treatment room and found Puyol half-naked. He told me he couldn’t go out like that, so I told him to put on a towel. One of the members of the queen’s entourage shouted, “the important thing is that she sees you, a towel would be enough.” The rest of the players were waiting in the locker room, and when Puyol arrived, they began joking around and applauding. It was without a doubt the strangest situation I’ve experienced since I became head of press of the national team.
PP: when the queen was leaving, the head of press of the royal family – I think it was him – told me, “Pepe, you have to give us the footage.” At that moment, I didn’t notice, but later on I realized why he had called me Pepe. The next day, when the images were aired, they were credited to Pepe Reina! There was a lot of joking around with Pepe after that.