Let’s finish Los secretos de la roja so we can move on to El mundo en nuestras manos! The fun anecdotes and stories from the last four chapters of the book are your advent gift for today.
The boys and their pregame rituals
– Iker used to cut off inches off the sleeves and bottom of his shirt, and the utilleros would help him put on the captain’s armband, because it was difficult to do with gloves. Puyol always has to enter the field on his right foot and can never step on the lines, including while the game is in play. He always folds his socks inward, while Xavi does the opposite.
– Villa has worn the same shinguards since he was 18 because he believes they bring him luck. Piqué always warms up without shinguards and he puts them on right before he goes onto the field. He always enters the field on his right foot. Sergio Ramos always puts on his right boot first and enters the field on his left foot.
– Cesc usually kisses a ring that his girlfriend gave him four times, and Senna always prays before the game, asking for protection for him and for his teammates, that none of them will get injured. Marchena likes to look in the mirror before going out onto the field “to see if I’m sufficiently motivated or not.” Silva and Mata prefer to enter the field on their left foot.
– for a while, Güiza had to eat Oreos before games, and even sent the utilleros to the supermarket if he forgot. He also would wear a shirt with the image of the Cristo de los gitanos and the Virgen del Valle on the front to sleep on nights before games.
Today’s advent treat!
In part two of the chapter on the porra (part one can be found here), we get to see some of the results! Were they what you expected?
In Austria [2008 Eurocopa], Iker and Pepe both played individually, and teamed up as a duo, although their predictions as a duo were a complete failure. Sergio García won the first prize that summer, attributing his win to his head, and a bit of luck. He had predicted that Spain would win all their games and that Villa would be the pichichi. All in all, that summer was quite the success for Sergio García, because he won the porra (pocketing €1,050), he won money playing pocha and Spain won the Eurocopa. Rubén de la Red was second (winning €630) and Pedro Cortés came in third (taking home €420).
In South Africa for the Confederations Cup, Vicente del Bosque & Paco Jiménez jointly shared the first prize of €1,150, while Antonio Limones was second, winning €690 and Xavi came in third for €460.
For the World Cup porra, the winners were Piqué and Mata (tied for first) and Capdevila (third).
And now, some anecdotes about the porra:
I think this is a chapter that everyone has been eagerly anticipating, no? So I’ll skip the lengthy introduction and get right to it!
Chapter 9: DJ Ramos
– Sergio Ramos always had a set of speakers, a laptop and an iPod in his suitcase. In the beginning, he only used them in his room or in the Cíber. But the positive reaction of his teammates led him to ask Luis Aragonés if they could listen to music in the locker room before and after training sessions and games, as they changed. Luis: “I told him that they could play music while they were changing, but when they were ready to go onto the field, they had to turn it off.”
– Sergio has always viewed music as a stimulus and a motivation. At Sevilla, it was welcome, and at Madrid as well, though Capello didn’t like it too much (good thing then that Madrid kept on changing coaches!) For the national team, Sergio has made his first attempt in the 2006 World Cup. However, the locker room in Kamen where they were staying was too small to fit all of them, so the team was divided in two, and music could be heard in only one of the locker rooms, the one where the “Mesa de Triana” changed. [That would be Reyes, Joaquín, Reina, Torres, Juanito, Marchena and Sergio.]
More from Los secretos! The chapter covered in this post deals with Luis Aragonés and his unique sense of humor. I was going to combine it with the chapter on DJ Ramos, but it’s quite long, so I’ll save DJ Ramos for its own post. And we’re skipping the chapter dealing with Raúl and all the drama regarding whether he should have been recalled to the team or not because it’s kind of boring.
Chapter 8: Con Luis te partes
The chapter talks about the relationship between Luis and his players, as well as his sense of humor and some of his memorable sayings. Here are some of the favorite memories the players have with Luis.
We’ll start off with the one that will get your imagination up and running!
– Xavi: one night, close to midnight, while Xavi was taking a shower, someone knocked on his door. He thought it was Luis García, who had promised to bring him a DVD. So Xavi quickly tried to dry off while telling Luis how annoying he was. He opened the door naked, but no one was there. As he started to shut the door, someone made a sudden movement and spit out, “Me cago en la hostia. Come on, put on some underwear…” Xavi: “Míster, I wasn’t expecting you.” And then Aragonés sat down on Xavi’s bed and talked with him for a while.
We’re already on Chapter 6 – “The cyber café of room 422”! I’m fully expecting another book to be released about our boys and their 2010 adventures in South Africa, so let’s see how fast we can finish this one!
This chapter is another favorite, because we really get to see how close the guys are.
– Room 422 refers to the room of Joan Capdevila. It was their first day at the hotel in Neustift, Austria: “when I entered the room for the first time, I thought they had given me the wrong one. I thought it was Iker’s room, and since my last name begins with the same letter as his, they got confused.” (The captains usually get the biggest rooms during the camps.) So he went back down to reception, and it was confirmed that 422 was indeed his room.
– After that, he went to find Santi Cazorla to see if all the rooms were like his. He saw that Santi’s room was much smaller. And Santi stared open-mouthed at Joan’s room and declared, “we’re going to play pochita here at night!”
– The room was the size of an apartment: it had an enormous salon, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. There were a total of six beds.
– Joan’s room became known as “el Cíber” and became the place to be for the components of the team. A visit was practically mandatory after every game, where the guys would analyze and re-analyze the games. They also talked about life, cars, girls…
– It started with the guys playing pocha, and then others joined in to take advantage of the wi-fi connection: Silva, Navarro, Sergio, Juanito. They would use the connection to surf the Internet, chat, talk with friends and families. Silva said he was one of the regulars.
– Sergio: “we could be there just hanging out until two or three in the morning. Without realizing it, at least 10 of the players would get together. I brought my laptop with music to add to the ambiance.”
The second part of the chapter “Mofeta, Pelopo y Virus.” Here, we find out what the “Mesa de Triana” is, who loves Actimel and who left their suitcase in a taxi cab! But the best part is probably hearing the guys talk about each other in such glowing terms. You really get the sense that this is a team.
– Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta, Cesc, Fernando Navarro and Sergio García made up one of the tables in the hotel in Austria. Because Cesc loved strawberry Actimel (a yogurt-type drink) so much, the other guys would conspire to make sure that he couldn’t get one. But in the end, they felt bad and would give him one, according to Puyol. Puyol also founded the group “Sushi-Team” during the Eurocopa for those who loved Japanese food. At times, Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta and Xabi would join. Xabi: “I like Japanese food, but Puyol is obsessed with it. Once in a while, I’ll tell him, let’s have pork chops but there was no way of changing his mind… it was agony.”
And we continue with Los secretos de la roja! We’ve already done the first chapter, and the second chapter deals with how Spain got to the Eurocopa competition, so I’m not going to cover it here. The third chapter is one of the best in the book, since it talks about the nicknames the guys have given to each other. The chapter is entitled “Mofeta, Pelopo y Virus.”
The nicknames seem to have come about in three ways: from the actions of the person being nicknamed, from the physical appearance of the person being nicknamed, and from general immaturity on the part of the nicknamer.
Keep reading to see what cartoon character Dani Güiza was named after, what animal Iker apparently resembles, and what body part inspired Xavi and Albiol’s names. And did you know that Xabi is nicknamed after a TV character and Fernando Llorente after a playing card?
Everyone has one!
Chapter 1: Wallas Se Va A Querer Suicidar.
The first chapter of Los Secretos de La Roja deals with the 2008 Eurocopa final against Germany. The title of the chapter is “Wallas Se Va A Querer Suicidar” (Wallas is going to want to commit suicide).
And here are the best anecdotes from the chapter!
Before the game
– the title refers to something Luis Aragonés said to Pedro Cortés, head of the Spanish delegation, on the way to the stadium. Luis was convinced that this was Spain’s moment, that the Germans were scared and would have to go buy a ball if they wanted to see one, and that Wallas (Ballack) would want to commit suicide and knock his head on the post out of frustration.