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¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

During the last concentración back in November, the boys filmed their holiday messages.  With 2014 being a World Cup year, it was no surprise that the shiny gold trophy was mentioned time and again.

I do hope that 2014 will bring us many successes, including of course the World Cup.

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memories of South Africa

Spain has returned to Soccer City (now FNB Stadium) for the first time since winning the World Cup there on July 11, 2010.  La Roja will play South Africa in a friendly tonight at 20h.  Of the 23 players who were crowned champions with Spain on that unforgettable night, 15 have traveled with the team for this trip, and according to prognostics, VDB will try and play as many of them tonight as possible.  There are six more (Puyol, Piqué, Xavi, Cesc, Torres, Silva) who could make the final list for Brazil.  Only two (Capdevila, Marchena) no longer figure in VDB’s plans.

Just being back in South Africa brought back many memories for our team.

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ready for some La Roja?

A random assortment of recent and not so recent La Roja-related things – consider this post a warm-up for the international week!

Pepe Reina stars in a short film, “Invictus – El Correo del César,” which premiered at the Teatro Compac Gran Vía in Madrid on Monday.  The film is part of insurance company Plus Ultra’s (formerly Groupama) promotional campaign, as Pepe is their spokesperson (he took over from Iker Casillas – remember the famous “me siento seguroooo…”?).

Pepe stars as one of the Roman empire’s messengers.  He is tasked with bringing a message to Rome but of course runs into some trouble along the way.

The director of the short film, Javier Fesser, said of Pepe, “he acts better than some of those who have actor’s cards.”

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más secretos – champions of the world IV

I thought it would be nice ahead of tonight’s clásico (and all the craziness that can arise from these games) to take a look back at how Real Madrid and Barcelona players (and other teams’ players) worked together to achieve the greatest triumph in Spanish football history.  So, here is the chapter from Más secretos about the 2010 World Cup final.

By the way, are Luca Villa and Luca Reina destined to be best friends, or are they destined to be best friends?

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más secretos – champions of the world III

We continue with this walk down memory lane – I am really loving reliving the excitement and joy we felt during the World Cup, because when it was actually happening, it was too nerve-wracking and suspenseful!  Today, we see how Spain successively beat Portugal, Paraguay and Germany to set up a final showdown with The Netherlands.

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La Roja Por Dentro – Chapters IV, V, VI

Here’s the rest of La Roja Por Dentro, which are the last three chapters and the epilogue by Pepe Reina.  Speaking of Pepe Reina, this book was just as bad as his book.  I really wouldn’t recommend either of them, since I didn’t like the writing, and I didn’t learn anything new!

Chapter IV: The Convocatoria.

In this chapter, Silvia describes each of the players called up by VDB for the World Cup and the following convocatorias.  In other words, it’s a boring chapter.  Here are the best tidbits from the 57 pages of the chapter, which are not distributed evenly.  For example, Iker got eight pages, and Pedro less than half a page.

– Iker is one of the “experts” in coming up with nicknames for everyone.  Damián García, one of the utilleros, was named “Tiriti” because he’s a deejay on the weekends and always humming “tirititititi” and Iker heard that.  Damián has known Iker since the latter was 15.

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La Roja Por Dentro – Chapter III

So, with this chapter done, we are about halfway through the book, and I’m still not sure the point of the book is, since Silvia’s writing is very confusing.  In this chapter, she goes off on multiple tangents, and covers many more things than the concentración.  For example, on a section about spending time with Iniesta on the trip to Costa Rica, she speaks not only about that, but also Iraola’s wedding, shopping in the United States, team nicknames, playing bingo and inexplicably, Álvaro Arbeloa as a U-15 player with Aragón’s provincial team.  She ends the chapter explaining how one of her nicknames came about (I don’t get it either).  And the worst thing is, I haven’t learned anything new about the players or the team!

Chapter III: The concentración. 

The residence: the Ciudad de Fútbol in Las Rozas is made up of various football fields, a gym, a press room, game rooms (pool, video games, library), restaurants and the residence.  Some of the rooms in the residence are named after players such as Raúl, Fernando Hierro or Alfredo di Stéfano.  Antonio Limones is responsible for assigning the rooms: “I do it based on relationships and not hierarchy.  If Navas is called up, I give him a room near Ramos’ because I know they’re friends.  It’s the same with Arbeloa and Albiol, or Iniesta and Valdés.  The players always know which room they get.  They take the elevator up, all of the rooms are open and the keys are on top of the bed.”  This is how the routine always goes, no matter which hotel the team is staying at.

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the list for Puerto Rico & other things

This morning, Vicente del Bosque read out the list for Spain’s upcoming friendly against Puerto Rico in Bayamón on Aug. 15.

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina, Víctor Valdés.

Defenders: Álvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Raúl Albiol, Gerard Piqué, Nacho Monreal, Juanfran Torres.

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Santi Cazorla, Cesc Fàbregas, Andrés Iniesta, David Silva, Jesús Navas.

Forwards: Pedro Rodríguez, Fernando Llorente, Fernando Torres.

The team will meet up at 10h on Aug. 13 in Barajas’ T4; their flight is scheduled to depart for San Juan at 11h Madrid time, arriving at 13h local time.  The Real Madrid players will join the team in Puerto Rico, as they are already in the United States.  The team will stay at the Ritz Carlton San Juan, and return to Madrid on Aug. 15 at 20:30h local time, arriving back in Spain on the morning of Aug. 16.

¡Nos vemos en Puerto Rico!  (Video here).

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