like little kids in a candy store

It was so fun seeing many of the players of La Roja like little kids when they attended what was for most of them their first ever NBA game!  They talked about how excited they were, they posed for pictures with everything from trophies and rings to players, the stadium and each other, and they watched with rapt attention as the Spurs beat Miami 92-88 to go up 1-0 in the series.  I think they had a good time, even the Heat fans!

On Thursday, the team trained again at Barry University, though longer than the previous day.  The session ended with a game without goalkeepers.  Those who didn’t wear vests and were in blue were Azpi, Albiol, Ramos, Monreal, Javi Martínez, Cesc, Cazorla, Mata, Navas and Torres.  Those who wore orange vests were Arbeloa, Piqué, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Silva, Soldado and Villa.  Afterward, Iker joined the blue team, and Valdés the orange team.

That dimple!

It was really also adorable how Sergio held on to Jesús in the golf cart.

During the evening, the team (minus a few of the players), headed to AmericanAirlines Arena to catch the first game of the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs (along with a banana, apparently).

They watched the game from one of the premium boxes, and during the second time-out of the game, their image was shown on the Jumbotron.  Soccer!  And where was the kisscam when we really wanted it?

David Villa, Pepe Reina, Sergio Ramos and Álvaro Arbeloa wore Heat jerseys (Sergio and Pepe wore LeBron’s, while Arbeloa wore Ray Allen’s and Villa was in Wade’s), so we can surmise that they are Heat fans.  Javi Martínez and Juan Mata had said the previous day they believed the Heat would win the finals (PF Juanín also said the players were already beginning to bet on the outcome).  Is Jesús trying to get Sergio to calm down here?

It appeared that only Gerard Piqué was rooting for the Spurs, as he tweeted “Spurs to win! Tim Duncan MVP!” – I couldn’t agree with him more!  He followed that with “Tony Parker… Wow!!” and this tweet: “Spurs win the first game! Tony Parker is sick.. And what about Tim Duncan?? 20 points, 14 rebounds!! I think Spurs are favorites now.”  As for César, I think he was neutral, given that Javi thought he didn’t even know who the teams were.

Sergio Ramos, despite rambling a lot about how much he loves basketball in the past (notice that I did not include him on the list of big basketball fans in the previous post), didn’t even know which two teams were playing in the finals.  He tweeted, “Partidazo!!  The final Miami Heat against San Francisco.  It’s clear who I’m supporting!!”  He then deleted the tweet after realizing he had committed yet another “muy Sergio” mistake on twitter.  In this context, it makes perfect sense that he’s a fan of the Heat.

The players also got to meet former Heat stars Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, and Andrés and Iker presented them with autographed Spain shirts, receiving Heat jerseys with their names and numbers in return.

Sergio even tried on Zo’s championship ring…

They also got to touch the NBA trophy!

Good thing Sergio didn’t pick the trophy up like Iker did, no?  I don’t want any dents in it when it’s presented to Timmy, TP, Manu, Pop and the rest of the Spurs.

And check out a video of the players’ boots, complete with flags, names of children and names of wives!

Here we have Javi promoting Marca’s Simpson dolls collection.

La Energía de La Roja.

Today we have Cesc!

The first memory I have is from when I was four years old, I have it on video, of my parents giving me a ball as a present on the day when I was going to play my first futsal game with my friends, there was a triangular tournament for the three schools in the town.  I’m not from the city of Barcelona, I’m from a town of 15,000 inhabitants, and I think that also helped me in being able to go out with my friends, playing pétanque near my house until midnight; we had a great time, especially during the summers.  I always had a ball with me, because I was always the first one to arrive, so I got bored.  My idol was Guardiola, from the time I was small.  When I went to Barça, I played in the position he played in, and so I always watched him, because you focus more on those players who play your position.  I remember taking a penalty with Barça when I was really young, against Espanyol, there was already a lot of pressure then, since it was a big game even though we were small.  I have the shirt from my debut with Arsenal, with the 57 on the back, it was my debut as a professional and I remember it well.  I also have the shirt from my debut with the national team, with the 8, against Cote d’Ivoire in Valladolid, it was white.  My first coach was my father, in that famous game that I spoke about, in the triangular tournament, he knew that I loved football and I spent many hours playing, so we started this futsal team with my friends.  Advice for children?  To enjoy themselves, to study, to give it all they have in everything, to have hopes and passion, to want to improve and have a good time and fight, to listen to their coaches, their parents and to enjoy themselves.  An unforgettable memory would probably be giving the pass to Andrés in the final of the World Cup, because this World Cup hadn’t been going well for me, and to be able to play those minutes in the overtime period and to be part of the most important goal in the history of Spanish football, that was very satisfying for me, just like Santi, with that famous penalty kick round against Italy, he said that was the turning point where everything changed, of moving on from the quarterfinals to the semifinals, of removing the mental barriers, and of winning.  [It ends with the Santi camel joke which I covered in the previous post.]

La Rojita.

La Rojita started off the defense of the U-21 Euro title in good fashion, beating Russia 1-0 behind a cabezazo from (MFC) Álvaro (Borja) Morata (Martín) in the 81st minute.

However, the victory came at a price, as we lost Sergio Canales for the tournament, after he suffered a left hamstring tear in the second half after coming in as a substitute.  Poor Sergio!  ¡Mucho ánimo!  Recover soon!

Now, to go pack!

Posted on June 7, 2013, in la rojita, players, team, training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I don’t like Pique normally but I’ll have to stop side-eyeing at least sometimes considering he seems like the only non-bandwagoner (except for Arbeloa, he was a ray allen fan while he was at the celtics, no?).

    Oh, Sergio, I’m glad he didn’t pick up the trophy!

    I loved your #TIMVP post also Una!

  2. There is so much goodness in this post that I don’t know where to begin! First, I totally thought the same thing about the boys. It was so endearing to see them so excited about the NBA finals and acting like little kids. I mean, these are guys who have won the Eurocup, World Cup, Eurocup back to back, and countless other competitions in their respective leagues, champions league, etc. I mean, this is how most people feel about seeing them! It’s too bad the jumbotron didn’t announce that they were the reigning World Cup and Eurocup champions (for those Americans who may not recognize how accomplished these guys were).

    Ha ha, Sergio. I started laughing when I saw his tweet. And I love your witty comments Una (like he didn’t pick up the trophy). Kind of cool to see the Simpsons in La Roja wear.

    Well, enjoy your vacation!!!

  3. Thank you so much for these awesome posts! I was also conflicted that lots of the guys were Miami fans haha. Still gotta love em :)

  4. Canales can’t catch a break.

  5. Hee! Crackovia doesn’t need writers – Sergio comes up with his own lines!

    I’m surprised that Geri wasn’t there, I know he’s a big basketball fan.

  6. oh gosh, so much cuteness I don’t know where to watch. I adore them. Too bad so many of them support Miami, when I – like you Una – believe in the Spurs, supported them since early 2000’s and I do hope for a WIN!

    BTW I really like Greg Popovich, what a cool coach, that does not change teams all the time.
    I am starting to get nervous about the transfers of everyone in football, players, coaches, they move so much it gets boring. There are so few players that remain in one team and the retirement of Jamie Carragher just made me bitter. It was even more bitter for me when I accidentally watched the championship fiesta for Manchester United (ironically, as I support Liverpool) and saw Paul Scholes and Sir Alex Ferguson. maybe I just need a break…

  7. Thanks for the updates, just love it!!! Keep it up.

  8. UNA UNA UNA! I MET IKER!!! I! MET! IKER!

    i went to the spain v ireland match, and i had a really good seat, and i went down to the front row to take photos during warm up/practice, and as iker was walking off the pitch, these spanish guys next to me yelled at him to come over.

    i kind of rolled my eyes because i didn’t think he would, and i just kept taking photos of him walking and ignoring them, and then all of a sudden, i had to adjust the zoom, because he got too big for the frame. it’s a brand new camera — i actually just bought it FOR this match — and i thought maybe i had the settings wrong or something, but when i took my eye out of the viewfinder, i realised the reason he was too big was because he actually WAS walking towards us!

    so i kind of squeaked and then kept saying ‘oh my god oh my god oh my god’, and he kept walking very calmly and stopped RIGHT in front of me, like not even 2 feet away. i could have touched him (i didn’t … i am incredibly proud of my powers of self-control).

    immediately, the spanish guys around me started pushing in front of me and shoving things at him to autograph, and talking with him in spanish, and i just kind of stood there, completely stunned (i didn’t think to bring a pen or a marker, because it never would have occurred to me in a million, billion years that i would be in that situation) but then thought, well, maybe i should try to make my brain work and take a few photos (all the time, i’m STILL saying ‘oh my god oh my god oh my god’). so i got some great photos!

    he finished up with them and then turned to me with a look on his face that seemed like he was trying to figure out if i had something for him to sign and i managed to make my mouth sort of work and i mumbled ‘bienvenidos de vuelta’ (which i was terrified to even say because i don’t really speak spanish other than football terms and i was terrified i said i pronounced it wrong or that the spanish guys would laugh at me) and he smiled and said ‘gracias.’ and then that was it, and he headed off to the dressing room.

    i have zero recollection of the entire first half. none. i was just so freaked out and excited and happy and overwhelmed, i couldn’t even process what happened. it felt totally surreal!

    still processing the photos, but i’ll post them as soon as i have them!

    • unamadridista

      CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      When I have time, let’s discuss (even more) in depth!

  9. Thanks as always! Hopefully the Miami fans appreciated the greatness that was in their presence :)

  10. here are the photos:

    ... and then THIS happened.

    i still can’t believe it happened!

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