A Quiet Day for the Finalists

29 Jun


Hmmm…maybe quiet wasn’t the best adjective to use, since there are a lot of interviews in this post. 😉 Still riding the high of their semifinal win, the boys traveled to Rio, where they will play the Confeds Final tomorrow. Eeek! I’m excited and nervous, especially after barely making it through those nerve wracking penalties.

In preparation for the final, the team met for a light, evening, training session. Sergio & Pique trained apart from the team, going through a recovery session, though they haven’t picked up any injuries. VdB organized four mini games to finish practice off.




Today, FIFA released the nominees for the Golden Ball, those nominated are:

Brazil – Neymar & Paulinho

Spain – Ramos & Iniesta

Italy – Pirlo

Uruguay – Luis Suarez

The two runners-up will receive the Silver Ball & the Bronze Ball…..no word on who will be given the Blue Ball(s) award…



On to the interviews, Iker is up first – he is captain after all! He spoke with Cope, to talk about RM, the NT, and his career.

From Marca.com

Iker Casillas welcomed the Italian manager: “Ancelotti is a good choice. There’s no-one better for the club,” he told ‘Cope’.

The keeper looked back on a tough season: “This has been the worst year of my life because I got injured. It’s tough to be out for four months after playing for 14 years. What hurts the most is that we didn’t manage to win anything.”

He is delighted to be back between the posts: “I’ve learned to appreciate and savour it more when I play. I enjoy every game as if it were my last.”

He is not writing himself off any time soon: “I haven’t decided to retire from international football after the World Cup.”

Regarding Arbeloa: “We have a friendly relationship, although saying that it’s bad sells more. I’m not going to take the bait any more. What matters to me is my club and the national team.”

Casillas clarified a statement picked up by fifa.com: “I was talking about crying for Real Madrid during my lifetime, not now.”

The tough times made him think: “There were times when I thought about leaving Madrid. On the bad days, you think the best thing is to leave, but I’m delighted to be here.”

He does not feel lonely: “In the dressing room I’ve felt the appreciation of 100% of the players.”

Nevertheless, he assured: “I’ve bitten my tongue on several occasions for the good of the club.” Casillas feels that he can speak his mind: “I’m not going to change my relationship with the press. You’ve seen me grow, and vice versa.”

As for the alleged party which has been splashed all over the Brazilian papers, he said: “The RFEF made a statement and is dealing with the matter. They’ve contacted a lawyer here.”



A short interview with VdB for Radio MARCA.  They always try to get the lineup out of him, but the man isn’t going to give it up! When will they learn? *sigh*

Vicente del Bosque took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk to Radio MARCA, and gave his ideas as to why Spain gets booed at so much in Brazil: “It’s normal for the fans to back the underdog. They see us as a threat, but in all the cities they’ve treated us very well”, he said.

The national coach assured that “the players are all excited about this final. I think we´ll be able to rise to the occasion.”

It looks like Fernando Torres will continue as a striker, and that Cesc Fàbregas will start instead of David Silva, but Del Bosque didn’t want to give anything away: “We will try to pick those who are supposedly better. Whoever plays will do a good job.”

Remembering the tough match played the other day, he said that “against Italy, a lot was asked of the players, but we can’t go making excuses. We haven’t complained about having one day less of rest. I believe my players are up to playing this final because they’re in such great shape.”

Finally, he warned that “Brazil has a very consolidated team, that works very well together. We can’t afford to undervalue them. They don’t play in the same way as Italy. Marcelo and Alves are very attacking players.”



Pedro also sat down with MARCA for a short interview:

Q: You hadn’t even been born when the last official Brazil-Spain match was played.

A: From that game in Mexico I’ve seen pictures of Míchel’s goal.

Q. Now it’s your turn to experience it, and try to beat Brazil in an official game, something that hasn’t been done since 1934.

A. It’s a match to dream of. The final, against Brazil and at the Maracaná. It’s going to be magical living through it.

Q. Can you imagine winning the World Cup in Maracaná?

A. Winning the World Cup again, and doing it in Brazil would be the dream of all dreams.

Q. Are you all ready to go into such a tough atmosphere?

A. They’re playing at home, and we´ll be put under a lot of pressure. It´ll be hard for us, the hardest game yet. But, whatever – we don’t think about the public, but in going out their focused to win and playing like we always do. It’s true that Brazil is raring to beat us. I think that if Brazil were playing is Spain they wouldn’t be treated like this. You just have to accept it – it´s a part of football. We have to get out there and play. It’s logical that they want to beat the World Champion.



Save the best for last, right? The media are spoiling us with these lengthy Nando interviews, love it!

Translation via the fabulous en-prosa:

“He speaks like a veteran yet he still looks like a child, and now that he’s entering the stage of his career in which the end seems nearer than the beginning, he reflects and looks back with a quiet experience, the one that has beaten the continuous, relentless criticism. In his own words, it’s “unmeasured”, but he’s gotten used to it and has learned to live with it.” – La Vanguardia (Spanish newspaper).

You’ve said before that you didn’t speak to Del Bosque whenever you didn’t get called up. How did you deal with your exclusion?

“As naturally as I could. In the last few years I’ve learned that in these types of situations, I can’t ask for explanations to anyone but myself. If I wasn’t called up it was because at the time, Del Bosque thought there were people who were better than me. I could only work my hardest to try to turn my situation around, to get back in shape and feel good about myself again. If I hadn’t, someone else would be here doing this interview. I didn’t have much time to react, to try to fix it, but I finished the season in a great way and it was enough for me to make it here. I hope next year it won’t be as rushed, I hope that I can do well from the beginning and maintain that shape and that mind set until the end.”

History is repeating itself. You’ve been getting more and more minutes as the tournament has gone by and you’ve become one of Spain’s main men yet again. You’re Spain’s all time top scorer in European tournaments and you’re one goal away from being so in the history of the Confederations Cup…

“Time makes you adapt, it makes you appreciate getting playing time and supporting your teammates from the bench just as much. When you play in a team like the Spanish National Team you get these types of opportunities, to make it to the final stage of a competition and to be able to achieve certain individual accomplishments. Only work can get you there, team-wise. I hope I am lucky enough to score in the final and to equal the top-scoring record, yes, but only if it’s necessary for Spain to become champions.”

Have you got used to the idea of your name being written in history?

“As long as Spain continues to be successful, I could get used to anything. I’ve played for many years here, and I hope I still have many more to look forward to, so when the time comes and I retire, I can look back and realize, serenely and peacefully, that I did the best I could, with the satisfaction of knowing that that it all turned out well in the end.”

Do you feel like you have to fight more than the rest to be recognized and respected?

“It’s a bit tricky to give my point of view on the matter. I’ve always had a bigger mediatic transcendence than most of my peers, regarding the good and the bad. Because I come from where I come from, because I fought for what I wanted the most for longer than usual, because I stayed at Atleti and stuck to my beliefs, and because I rejected offers from certain teams… I’ve had to carry that with me wherever I’ve gone to. Practicing what you preach is necessary in order to be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and the way you’ve accomplished it. I’ve tried my best to chase a dream by sticking to certain principles till the very end, regardless of what everyone else’s opinion was. And to this day, I can say that I can hold my head up high and be proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I think there’s still plenty to come. Twice I’ve seen the ending coming closer and closer, before the Euros and the Confederations Cup, and twice I’ve decided that it wasn’t time yet, that the end was still very far away, and now I want to be here next year for the World Cup, and then again for the next Euros. I don’t think the end is near now, not at all.”

It’s so interesting to see the clash of your shy personality with your fierceness on the pitch…

“In many ways, I do think that the way you behave on the pitch reflects who you are as a person, the way you were brought up, the principles you deem as important and the ones you were taught at the club you come from. I belong to Atlético, and we’ve always been in the shadow of Real Madrid, so I’ve always had to fight against people who in almost every way, were better than me and had more possibilities to triumph than I did. I’ve always competed in disadvantage, and I’ve made the best of it, and that’s something I apply to every aspect of my life, every day.”

We get it, we get it… you’re from Atlético. You won’t stop mentioning them.

“(Smiles) I’ve been there for so many years… from the age of 10 until 24. I was part of the working class, and no matter how much things might’ve changed and how much different it all might seem now, that’s what I cherish the most, that’s what’s stayed with me, what they taught me, and that’s what I try to convey to other people.  It works the same way on the pitch. I’m not like Xavi or Iniesta, you know. They have the serenity of knowing that if nothing goes wrong, they’ll be able to play under those very same extraordinary conditions until they’re forty, if that’s what they want.”

Do you feel like you play more maturely now?

“I think it’s something that’s come with age. It makes you much more careful, thoughtful, meticulous… it makes you realize that there are things you can do and things you cannot do. When you’re younger you feel like doing everything. You feel like scoring, defending, passing, playing in the wings… you look for the ball anywhere you are. You have all the energy in the world but not much experience to brag about. But then you realize. And that attitude is commonly seen on senior players, but there are people like Xavi or Andrés that have had it since they were about twenty. I’ve acquired it progressively.”

You’ve grown a lot because of the criticism, and it must’ve been very hard…

“It’s true. But too much compliments also make the soul weaker and either way you’re forced to get up and start over again. In my case, criticism, good or bad, was always been unmeasured, and I’ve always thought of it as being linked to where I come from.”

Can you really develop the ability to not care about the criticism?

“It happens in stages. There were times, when I was younger, when I genuinely didn’t understand what’s happening around me… I felt angry, willing to fight against everyone… I was frustrated, thinking it was all very personal. And there are other times, like the one I’m going through right now, where I truly couldn’t care any less, and I think that’s because now I can clearly see how it all works, how it’s “staged” for it to work. Look, I can’t say what I really think… those words could cause a mountain of trouble, they would create plenty of conflict and would involve many people. In this world I’m living in, I can’t say what I think, not now. But I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to say it in the future.”

José Mourinho just became Chelsea manager and the first thing we hear is that he doesn’t want you and Mata in his team…

“Considering the way he left Spain, and how unhappy the Spanish media is with him, I’m not surprised. But in an attempt to harm him, they harm me and Juan as well, and with rumors they fabricate from nothing.”

Don’t you think the rumor might have come from England?

“I don’t think so. If it had, I would be the only one involved in it, not Juan and I (smiles).”

Which version of Mourinho do you prefer, Casillas’ or Arbeloa’s?

“Like you just said, they each have their own personal experience, and I’ll wait to get my own, and then I’ll have an opinion and something to say. I’ve had managers with whom I’ve had a great personal relationship but not a professional one, and other way around. Iker has his own opinion on the matter, and so do the rest of the Madridistas that I know. I’ll speak to Mourinho and he’ll tell me what I think; I hope they’re mostly good things, but if they aren’t, I’ll do my best to try to change his perspective, through hard work, good training sessions and matches. I am very clear on where I want to be next season and I’ll continue fighting for it. It’s what I’ve done all my life. I refuse to leave Chelsea in this manner, when it looks as if I’ve have finally turned the corner.”


We’re at the end of this tournament so the twitter action is getting lighter & lighter, sadly. I’m really going to miss the photo-offs between Mata & every other, less-worthy, wannabe photog on the team. 😦 Here is what could possibly be our last landscape comparisons!

(Right) Javi Martinez , (Left) Juan Mata

BN8kHgfCUAAgPZK.jpg large

I love this shot that Cesc shared, though I can’t tell if he’s imitating Lia or she’s imitating him….

BNzgv8BCUAApq07.jpg large

Bless Sergio for sharing this shot of Jesus Navas getting a hand on what we’ve all wanted to grab, at one point or another. Along with the pic, he tweeted “I want to congratulate Navas,my little bird,for the match and scoring a penalty, three cheers for Camas and Palacios.” I really do hope this means Navas calls Sergio “my little pony.”


Lastly, Javi Martinez shared an in the air, crotch shot. Always welcome, Javi, always welcome.

Pics, Gifs, & Video via gfsports, sefutbol, fuchifuchi, & football-hqs.


10 Responses to “A Quiet Day for the Finalists”

  1. Backwards June 29, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    “I really do hope this means Navas calls Sergio “my little pony.”


    • kel June 30, 2013 at 4:47 am #

      And brushes his hair and ties ribbons in it.

      Too much?

  2. la-la June 30, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    What a brilliant and insightful interview with Nando. He just seems so articulate and eloquant doesn’t he? And the Spanish media must love interviewing him bc it allows them to continue to bang on about their favourite topic, the one, the only…Mou!

    Like SHEESH guys, give it a fucking rest already. I was probably his #1 fan and if I can get over him going surely you can? I fear he’s going to become Banquo’s ghost for some of these guys…

    Anyway…Spain v Brazil…Haven’t decided yet who I’m supporting…thoughts?

  3. jellyace June 30, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    “My Little Bird” and “My Little Pony”…Farmville?

    • Dr Heidi June 30, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      *waving like a loon* – volunteers to be the farmer*

  4. Anonymous July 2, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    “Regarding Arbeloa: “We have a friendly relationship, although saying that it’s bad sells more. I’m not going to take the bait any more. What matters to me is my club and the national team.” ”

    Uhmmmm… what’s that about? I must have missed the rumor that these two hate each other.

    • headbandsandheartbreak July 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      They don’t hate each other. Arbeloa made some pro-Mou comments which the press jumped all over. He also said that he and Iker have a good professional relationship, but they had some disagreements in their personal relationship and have had for awhile. He said someday they’d sit down and talk it out face to face. The Spanish press went apeshit as they have a tendency to do. Dude was just being honest.

      The press/people seem to think that any sort of liking Mou (Arbeloa said he always had a good relationship with him) and/or disagreement with Iker is tantamount to treason. People have been slagging Arbeloa off as a result.

      My thoughts? No one is perfect, no one is a saint. It takes two (or more) to tango. Arbeloa has a right to his opinion.

      Do I often disagree with colleagues on specific issues? Sure, but we still manage to work together. Do I have better professional relationships than personal with some colleagues? Sure. I have plenty of people I’m collegial with that I would never hang with outside the office.

      I’m not sure why people expect a football team (which is a business and a workplace) to be any different. Blind defense of any of the players in this drama is probably not a good idea as we’re not privy to all the details. The situation as it appears to the public is almost certainly not the reality. Heroes and villains are rarely as clear cut as you would think.

      That’s my 2 cents. 🙂

      • Anonymous July 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

        Wow, thanks for your detailed answer 🙂 I think you said everything that needs to be said about the issue, couldn’t agree more.

        BTW: I’m only creeping around here as anonymous because I can’t think of a decent name. Aaaah, first world problems.

      • Anonymous July 3, 2013 at 7:17 am #

        That’s almost exactly what I was going to say – especially about the Mou/Iker axis and the thing about work colleagues. One of my most favorite ever work mates said to me once (when we were talking about how rude and obnoxious one of our other colleagues was): ‘I don’t know what her problem is, I don’t have any issue being courteous and polite to people I can’t fucking stand’,

        (And then I got really paranoid – what if she can’t stand me and is just being polite! lol)
        But anyway, shouldn’t that be the basis of most human interaction?!

        This is la-la btw. I’m using a new browser in work and it doesn’t recognise me…

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