a full first day in Miami
César plus Javi? Yes, please!!!!!!!
On Wednesday in Miami, there was a press conference, a training session and surprise drug tests for all 23 players, courtesy of FIFA.
On Thursday night, the team will head to the AmericanAirlines to catch game one of the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs (GO SPURS GO!). Two of my favorite teams together? Perfect! Hopefully the Spurs will win the series and Spain the Confederations Cup so that the disappointing season my third favorite team had can be forgotten. Anyway, we have several huge basketball fans on our team, including Gerard Piqué, Álvaro Arbeloa, Raúl Albiol and Javi Martínez, so I’m sure they’re all very excited at the opportunity to catch an NBA game (by the way, I have also watched a game at the arena!).
In fact, during the press conference, Javi, who is looking more like Juan Carlos Valerón each day (side note: I cried seeing Juan Carlos cry and kiss his shirt as he retired and Depor was relegated), was asked about the game and who the favorites are. He responded, “I’m a big fan of basketball… if I had to choose a favorite, I would say Miami.” He then looked over at César Azpilicueta, and asked him who his favorite was, and César responded, “I don’t know,” which prompted Javi to exclaim, “it’s because you don’t know who the other team is, cabrón.” Later on in an interview with AS, Javi said, “I love the NBA and I’ve stayed up until three in the morning when there were games I wanted to watch, even if that meant I was a little sleepy for the training session the next day… Miami is an equipazo.” When asked who he’d rather take a photo with, Manu Ginobili or LeBron James, Javi confessed, “I’d choose (Chris) Andersen, with his tattoos and that hair, he has to be a character, and with LeBron as well, who is the best in the world.” Obviously, I don’t agree with Javi since I love my Spurs! Actually, it’s not surprising because he and LeBron have a lot in common: after losing finals with the small teams they debuted in their respective leagues with, they took their talents to big teams in the east where they could team up with superstars to win (was that too harsh?).
Going back to the press conference, when asked about Vicente del Bosque, Javi said, “the míster is a good person, and he gives us a lot of freedom, which is fundamental when we spend so much time together, both on and off the field.” For his part, Azpi said, “I haven’t been here as many times as Javi, but it’s true that freedom is something fundamental in the way that the míster is.” He also said the team is still hungry despite all of its success.
I love Paloma for teaming them up for the press conference! What a lovely, lovely sight, no? Muy guapos los dos!
The team also trained for the first time in the United States, at Barry University.
And here are some photos the boys shared with us fans. Víctor gave us this one of him and his best friend Andrés…
… while Álvaro Arbeloa posted this one of him with “Solider y Santi.” Jajaja, I love that Roberto Soldado has been nicknamed Soldier!
There weren’t any big surprises when it came to the choosing of numbers for the tournament.
1. Casillas. 2. Albiol. 3. Piqué. 4. Javi Martínez. 5. Azpilicueta. 6. Iniesta. 7. Villa. 8. Xavi. 9. Torres. 10. Cesc. 11. Pedro. 12. Valdés. 13. Mata. 14. Soldado. 15. Sergio Ramos. 16. Sergio Busquets. 17. Arbeloa. 18. Alba. 19. Monreal. 20. Cazorla. 21. Silva. 22. Navas. 23. Pepe.
La Energía de La Roja.
Iberdrola/La Energía de La Roja posted these videos several days ago, where Sergio, David Villa, VV, Cesc and Santi talk about their childhoods, dreams and aspirations. We’ll start with Sergio and Santi!
Sergio (who once again rambled): I started playing football when I was six, with my neighborhood team in Camas. When I was nine, I signed with Sevilla. I have great memories of my childhood. When I was younger, I played in more attacking positions, and I remember a goal I scored for Camas with a scissors kick, which is something that I have always been quite good at. The first autograph I ever got was at the Hotel Colón, and I remember I was climbing over the wall and the security found me. And then (Miguel Ángel) Nadal, Rafa’s uncle, saw me, and he told them to let me go. That was when (Barcelona) had Nadal, I think Ronaldo, and Rivaldo, and that was my first autograph. And then with Sevilla, I was a real pain at the hotel and the training ground trying to get autographs from my idols, ones I later had the good fortune to play with, Pablo Alfaro, Javi Navarro, Antonito, Carlitos, Darío Silva, players whom we kids looked up to. Rivaldo was an idol of mine, Ronaldo, during his time with both Barça and Madrid, and then for my position, Fernando Hierro, Paolo Maldini, who have been references for me during my career. As a kid, you dream about debuting with Sevilla, after spending almost your entire life there, with good and bad moments. At least you get this payback, not just for yourself, but also for your family, who are the ones who do the most for the kid to triumph. And in this case, my only objective was to satisfy my family for all the sacrifices they made for me. I have the shirt from the day of my debut, in my museum. I have many souvenirs there, and one of them is my first shirt with Sevilla, with the 35 on the back, and also Valerón’s shirt, who is a footballer that I loved, one of those magical and different footballers, since I debuted in a Sevilla-Depor game, and Depor was my other preferred team, and my first shirt I exchanged with Valerón, who was more than happy to do that with me. I also have the shirt from my debut with the national team, in Salamanca during a friendly, and then against Serbia, these are two shirts I have kept, my parents have one in their house and I have the other one for my museum. I would tell children to dream, to wake up each day with the hope of achieving something in life, everyone wants to be footballers, but that road is very long and very difficult, and requires many sacrifices, but you should never lose hope, lose ambition, and you should enjoy the moment, because football doesn’t have a memory and you have to prove yourself each day, and you practically don’t have time to enjoy it or appreciate it, in the future you’ll realize what you achieved. You should always have happiness and hope, and don’t forget to study as well, of course.
Santi: I began playing at the age of seven, with Covadonga, and my parents bought me my first pair of boots so I could play futsal, I don’t remember the brand. I don’t remember how I celebrated my goals as a kid, since I was so young. During the Dream Team era, I really liked Michael Laudrup, who was a spectacular footballer, and he also played the same position as me, and so I always watched what he did on the field. I debuted in La Coruña with Villarreal, with the 41, and I have the shirt. With the national team, I debuted in Huelva, also a special field for me, in a game against Peru that we won, and I also have that shirt. It’s difficult to make it as a footballer, when you get to the first team, and a couple of years pass and you see yourself as part of the elite, then you begin to believe that you have achieved it, but until that moment, it hasn’t even gone through your mind. I would tell children, especially ones at the age at which these spots are aimed at, to enjoy themselves, when they grow up and have opportunities, they can take things more seriously, and try to make it to the elite. But when they’re young, they should just enjoy themselves and do what they like. An unforgettable memory for me would be the penalties in the Eurocopa, a great moment for what we achieved, it was a turning point for the national team, I was lucky enough to be part of that moment. Tell a joke? Well, there are some who tell jokes better than me, I’m not that good at it. (Cesc, who is sitting beside him, says he is good at joke telling.) I have many that Capdevila told me, but they’re quite bad. Cesc knows it. (Cesc: I assure you I don’t know, he does.) There are many legendary ones, such as: sabes el chiste del camello? (Cesc: no). Te jorobas [Do you know the joke about the camel? No. Too bad. It’s a play on words in Spanish – “joroba” is the hump of a camel, and the verb “jorobarse” in its form as “te jorobas” means too bad]. It’s nice and short.
As for La Rojita, the team is already in Jerusalem, where they will take on Russia tonight (19h local time, 18h Spain time) in their U-21 Euro debut. They held a training session at Teddy Stadium, and media reports have the starting line-up made up of De Gea, Montoya, Bartra, Iñigo Martínez, Alberto (or Muniesa), Koke, Illarramendi, Tello, Thiago, Isco and Rodrigo. Good luck to La Rojita!
By the way, David de Gea, Thiago, Iker Muniain, Martín Montoya and Diego Mariño are the holdovers of the team that won the championship in 2011.
AS also did a little test with Illarra (and his very stylish mohawk). Asier came off as pretty timid, despite the bold hairstyle!
How many times has Spain won the U-21 Euro? (Shakes his head) Four. How much did Barcelona say it paid for Neymar? 57 (million). Who is the top goalscorer in the history of the U-21 team? (Exhales, shakes his head) Adrián. What did you do with your first salary? I kept it, I think. At which four cities are this competition being played at? Jerusalem, Tel Aviv… I don’t know the other two. What symbol is on the center of the Israeli flag: a cross, a star or a crescent moon? A star, I believe. Which footballer has played the most number of games with the U-21 team? De Gea. Where did you watch Spain win the World Cup? It was in… South Africa. No, where did you watch the game? I don’t remember. Who was the first Israeli footballer in the Liga? I’ll give you a hint – he played for Celta. I don’t remember. How many tattoos do you have? Zero. What do you think about before games? About winning. Which Israeli city is the Wailing Wall located in? Jerusalem. Last question: your favorite player on the senior national team. Xabi Alonso. Did I get any of them?