Here are some excerpts from Xabi’s recent interview with France Football. Hopefully nothing got lost in translation, as it’s a translation from Spanish to English, courtesy of AS which translated it from French to Spanish.
Many footballers are moving from Spain to England, but you went the other way…
Yes, in 2009, and I think it was a good choice. After five years in Liverpool, I needed a change. And what better way was there to do it than going to Real Madrid, the greatest and most demanding club there is. The moment had come to take this opportunity. The day-to-day in Madrid is very intense and tougher than at any other team. What this club asks for is to win, win and still win, and while playing well. Liverpool won five European Cups, but it’s not the same. There, the day-to-day is more relaxed, easier. In Madrid, there are always pressure and demands. I wanted to see if I would be able to live up to this challenge.
… here are two moments from the game against Elche that got us there.
We have Xabi being muy jefe from the start to the finish, and Gareth Bale’s golazo leaving Sergio openmouthed in amazement. It’s a good time to be a madridista. And thanks to Real Sociedad and Osasuna for their stellar efforts!
Here’s a collection of recent moments that made me happy as a madridista, and that I wanted to share.
ONE. The presentation of the Ballon d’Or at the Bernabéu. A lovely golden and CR7 mosaic greeted our golden boy Cristiano when he emerged from the tunnel to play Celta.
Cristiano then presented the trophy to the fans. That was a wonderful enough moment (Mamá Dolores got all emotional, prompting Junior to give her a kiss), but then Junior’s father called his teammates over to share it with them.
El Pirata’s tweet says “all madridistas to Cibeles to celebrate that Xabi will continue for two more years. Best midfielder ever #14.”
The announcement of his contract renewal would be the best “regalo de Reyes” for us madridistas, no? Anyway, Xabi Alonso was recently interviewed by El Mundo’s revamped Magazine, Fuera de Serie. Here it is, plus pictures and a guide to Xabi Alonso style.
Those who know about football agree: Xabi Alonso is the player who brings balance to teams. He’s also a man with clear ideas and an icon of style and elegance on and off the field.
Receiving a long and unquestionable ovation in the Bernabéu is, probably, one of the biggest morale boosters a Real Madrid player could receive, especially if it’s also a desperate attempt to retain a crucial piece of the team. On the night of Dec. 18, the fans seemed to be saying to Xabi Alonso, “don’t leave my love, stay with me.” It’s obvious, as Ancelotti said after this display of love, that Alonso is “very good.” It’s not a surprise that the chaotic Madrid from the beginning of the season began to find itself after the midfielder returned to direct the play following his recovery from injuries. If there’s anything that personifies Xabi, it’s balance.
That night, as half of Spain watched the final of La Voz and the other half the final of Top Chef, he arrived at his home in the Madrid neighborhood of Salamanca feeling very loved. His three children, Jon, Ane and Emma, who are five, three and less than one month old, respectively, were already sleeping. He had difficulties falling asleep, as he usually does after games.
I hope 2014 will be full of excitement, (fulfilled) dreams, (made) history, passion and joy for all madridistas, as this video says, plus good health. I also hope the long-awaited La Décima will finally make an appearance next year, and that 2014 will bring us many more years of number 14.
Fernando Manso, Madrid’s bus driver for the last 14 years, is getting out from behind the wheel. Fernando, whom Iker affectionately nicknamed “Frenando” (braking), drove Madrid for the last time in Pamplona for their game against Osasuna on Dec. 14. He started this job in January 2000 (more or less the same time as Iker), and has witnessed Madrid winning two Champions League, five Ligas, a Copa del Rey and six other trophies. In a previous interview, he said he has been a Madrid fan for all his life, and his idols were Butragueño and Fernando Hierro. Fernando Manso has also driven La Roja, having worked for the RFEF for two decades. He says, “it has been an honor.” Here are some amusing anecdotes that Fernando shared with Marca.
Problems with an Atlético-supporting police officer: Del Bosque was the coach and we were running late to catch our flight to go play a Champions League game. We got caught in traffic and I drove onto the shoulder to save time. A police officer stopped us, and asked me for my documents. I told him to let me bring the team to the airport, and then I would return and show him everything. But he didn’t relent. Del Bosque, Toni Grande, and even Hierro and Figo came down to convince him to let us continue on our way. But there was no way. On the bus, the players were joking, “that guy is an Atleti supporter for sure.” He didn’t let us leave until he wrote out the fine.