Xabi Alonso at El Mundo
Here’s the second post, an interview with Xabi Alonso on the back page of today’s El Mundo! I chose to translate it because well, it’s Xabi Alonso.
Do you all speak to Ancelotti or his eyebrow?
We speak in Spanish directly with him. The first thing he said when he saw me was, “you owe me a European Cup.” I responded, “no Carlo, you’re not wrong, you’re not wrong” (laughs).
Has the legend of Madrid’s locker room gone from fiction to science fiction?
You find people speaking completely naturally about what happened inside, leading to myths and legends. At times it makes you laugh.
What do you play as at home?
We (referring to his wife) are two midfielders who complement each other very well.
You have two kids and are expecting your third, when will your marksmanship be this effective on the field?
Those are natural things that you don’t learn. You’ll also have to compare how many shots were taken.
Are you more like Omar, Bunk or McNulty?
Lester Freamon. I liked him because he was in the shadows organizing everything, he was very patient. McNulty is more visceral, unpredictable. And Freamon is methodical.
Who would you choose out of the characters of Madrid?
I’m telling you, you could also make a good series about us.
Who did Mou respect more in the locker room?
Those who were generous with their efforts. This is a chain of command and I respect hierarchies very much. My father was a coach, I grew up respecting that figure. Being in charge of 25 players is extremely difficult.
Are you already throwing in the towel?
I’m not saying yes or no. I have experience, but there is one part that I don’t know if I have, which is knowing how to get through to the players.
Who do you respect outside of Madrid?
I started in La Real with Aranzábal, Idiakez, Rekarte and De Pedro, I fixated on them. In Liverpool, Hyypiä was a model professional, honorable, an upright guy. Hamann was a German who knew everyone and a bit of a troublemaker. Carragher was the typical Liverpudlian guy, extremely tough. And Gerrard, who was a symbol there. I knew all four of them very well.
And in Madrid?
I didn’t play with them, but Hierro showed me what a captain should be like. Redondo as well, from what I heard and saw back then. Men who have won the Champions League multiple times, who got to the quarterfinals and began competing with everything they had.
In what moment of the 3-0 against Milan did you believe you could win?
When it became 3-2, seeing their faces. You wouldn’t believe it. You notice their disorder, you see them doubting themselves, how they exchange looks. I thought, “Joder, we’re doing it.” That was a fantastic, brutal team: Dida, Cafú, Nesta, Stam, Maldini, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Kaká, Shevchenko, Crespo. We were the huge surprise of the Champions League. Winning like that was a miracle.
You gave it all there, leaving you nothing for the game against Dortmund.
When we scored the second goal against Dortmund, and there were only five minutes left, the faces of the Germans… their life was on the line.
When you show up on a list of the sexiest men, does your wife ever say anything like, “weren’t you going to dedicate yourself to football”?
Sometimes, I tell you. I find it funny. I suppose the brands want, I wouldn’t say coolness, but naturalness.
How many times in big games have you spoken about the weather?
I play Comunio, which is a virtual league, and one day, I had to defend Nacho, the one from Betis, and I told him, “hey Nacho, thanks. You’re giving me a lot of points on Comunio.” He was gobsmacked.
Which Barça player would you choose to shoot looks at in the tunnel?
There are some, ¿eh? You watch how this one comes, the appearance of another. For their positions on the field, I need to be aware of Xavi and Messi. One time, I screwed up, I joked with Busi, “Busi, don’t kick us too much.” That was the 5-0. I could have been quiet.
Is there anything bad about being a redhead?
Nothing more than when I was a kid, they called me Guille after the character in Farmacia de Guardia.
When you manage to put your children to bed, do you also stand up on the bed and take a photo of yourself?
You don’t know the courage it takes. It’s like winning Waterloo.
You speak to them in euskera.
They understand it and when they speak it, they still lack fluency, but they will naturally learn how to speak in euskera.
Is your father a madridista yet?
Now that his son plays for Madrid, he supports Madrid, but that’s different from being a madridista.
But you are one.
I’m very madridista. I arrived as a professional and here you become madridista no matter what because it’s inevitable. I’ve played for three special teams, all with their own mystique: Real Sociedad, Liverpool and Madrid. I will always be of those teams.
If you hadn’t become a footballer, which beaches would you have ended up on?
Well, when I was playing on the beach as a kid, someone saw me and wanted me to cast me for Julio Medem’s film Vacas. They went to speak with my mother and she told them no, that at this age I was only going to be studying. I didn’t care. I’m all for the Basque matriarchy. Whatever la ama says, that’s it.
I hope you don’t notice that I’m out of practice in translating from Spanish to English… and I will get around to that Q&A!