Who brought the pretty today? Pony did! Damn him for making me think of Pretty Boy and getting it stuck in my head.
Have you had contact with Benzema and how you see him in the EURO?
I spoke with Karim Benzema, we maintain very good relationship and we are in touch by phone. He may not have had a good start for scoring goals but he is a striker who works and makes a difference, and any second you dawdle he could score. Hopefully it’s not his day tomorrow because it could hurt us.
What do you remember and what has changed in the Spanish team since the 2006 World Cup?
It’s been a while, it was a team that was beginning to form, with players practically new, inexperienced in the world, and the maturity and experience is a significant degree for World and European Championships. We try to follow the same philosophy of play and respect every opponent. We try to do things well because when Spain does well, it is hard for things to go wrong.
What remains of the problems between the players of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona?
This is a topic that is fully settled. Talk of crisis in the selection is wrong, what we have defended for the year is one thing and defending the national team is another, there is no wound and the target of the selection is to win tomorrow, it’s the national goal.
How do you feel with Pique as a partner in the center?
Pique is a new partner and young, each of us are important to our team. You will see the understanding little by little, what we give the games and think alike. The timing is better gradually from the first game and there has been a small evolution. There is a great squad, we know everyone a lot. For me it is a challenge to play in the center and Pique is a great center and we can seamlessly work together.
What game against France do you remember most?
The World Cup in Germany, football is a good thing that there is always revenge, the last was a friendly in Saint Denis. The challenge of tomorrow is a very important and to statistically meet the challenge and the impact it has. Since 2006 France has been through another time, another cycle and will be a matchup of young people with experience and will fight to pass Spain.
How would you describe your opponent?
France is a great pick, they like having the possession, they set the pace and pattern of the match, and I suppose that all coaches have a tactic to face Spain. We are clear in what we need to do on the field.
Do you think the potential problems between the French internationals will affect the meeting?
When you play and are in a EURO, there are higher goals and as professionals, we must leave aside the problems, yet each locker room is a world but I do not think they will hurt.
Do you think that high temperatures in Donetsk will be an influence for Spain rather than France since they have already played there?
Hopefully the heat is not a problem. We have to wait until tomorrow to see the field conditions and I do not think the temperature is a problem, hopefully it wont influence us.
On club rivalries – “All is forgotten, was solved everything and now we are united for the same purpose. Defend the same colors and everything is left behind.”
On what he expects of the game tomorrow with respect to midfield tactics – “I think France is a powerful selection and will be true to it’s game. I don’t think they have a tactical defense. They have players who attack and like to keep possession, and there will be a fight. He who has possession is he who has control of the game, it’s what both teams like. ”
On the disagreements between the French players – “When it’s time for the game, everything is put aside, against a major team. I’m sure that it was all forgotten, if anything. Now I’m sure they are focused on being united to face Spain. ”
On his role in the NT and the difficulty of making the starting lineup – “There are twenty players who played luckily in our team (at Chelsea) and we have continuity, in the selection, however, it’s more difficult. I’m doing what is in my hand and I look forward to my opportunity. I have really wanted to play, but I have patience and know that what matters is the team and we keep on going. ”
On France’s game – “They’re a team that is based on having the ball, have players in midfield who like to have the ball. If this selection has anything good, it’s that it has many variations. We have shown we can play with good performance against more populated defenses and if that’s the case tomorrow, we’ll try to find these alternatives to win the game. ”
On Iniesta – “Andres is playing very well. Technically he is perfect and he plays so naturally, almost without effort, It’s like when [Roger] Federer plays tennis, he barely sweats. Iniesta [appears as if he] makes no effort to play. It’s extraordinary that he is ours.”
On Cesc – “I consider him a starter, I hold him in great esteem. He is such a good player, but you have to understand that there is a lot of competition here. It’s hard to find room for so many good players and we have to be careful because every game is a final.”
Pics via GFSports.