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Xabi Alonso at Marca

November 6, 2010

Xabi Alonso is the cover boy of Marca today, ahead of the Real Madrid-Atlético de Madrid match (he really is everywhere, isn’t he?).  This interview was a bit too football-centric for me, so I didn’t translate everything.  Here are the parts that I found at least slightly interesting.

Q:  How are you doing ahead of the derby, after the kicks from Ibrahimovic and Gattuso and the shoving from Inzaghi that you received in Milan?

A:  I’m good, without any problems.  Nothing happened there.  That’s the way it is.  Physically, I’m good [Yes Xabi, you certainly are].

Q:  How does Mourinho prepare for games?

A:  He’s very detailed, as he should be.  We’re an elite team both in the Liga as well as in Europe, so we should anticipate and predict what can be done during games and what the rivals will do.  The daily work dynamic is great.

Q:  What has Mourinho brought to Madrid?

A:  He has a very defined way of working.  He wants to delineate a style of working to make sure everything goes well.  This will take time, but he has a method of working that, bit by bit, will lay the foundation.  We have confidence in him and that’s important.

Q:  Is this style based on being an aggressive team?

A:  Aggression, intensity, intelligence, unselfishness, knowing how to read games, being patient when necessary… there are a lot of things.

Q:  And what is your role on the team?

A:  One of the functions of a midfielder is to know how to read the game.  I’m in the center of all the plays, with my teammates around me, and I have to communicate a lot so the team will be well-balanced.

Q:  Do you feel important on this team?

A:  Yes.  I’m playing a lot and in my position you need to be in command at times.  I’ve noticed that I have a specific role on this team.

Q:  But it seems that you never shout or get angry on the field, like Gattuso, for example?

A:  I’m not one for making big scenes, but I do continuously communicate with my teammates.  I do shout on the field and I get angry often.  I speak with the rivals, with the referee, with my teammates.  I don’t stop.

Q:  How is your understanding with Khedira?

A:  Good.  We’re learning more about each other, bit by bit.  The communication is quite good, as it is with other players such as Özil.  We speak in English and that helps make things easier.  They both work very hard and want to steep themselves in what is la Liga and what is Real Madrid.  We’re in that process.  They’re great players who want to do things well.  Khedira brings us balance and Özil knows how to read games.  They’re different.

Q:  But it appears that Khedira is neither elegant nor flashy?

A:  He’s a team player that helps out a lot in defense and in the attack.  He’s complete and he brings stability to the team.  He’s strong, runs a lot, interprets plays well and does things well.

Q:  Do your teammates view you differently since you won the World Cup?

A:  No.  And if that gets to the head of any one of us, there are four others here to remind him that life has continued and we can’t stop.  I believe we’re behaving well in that respect with our teammates.

Q:  How are you preparing for the derby and what has Mourinho said to you all?

A:  Not a lot yet.  In the end, we’re playing three games in one week and there’s not a lot of time to train.

Q:  It’s the first derby in a long time without Raúl, a specialist in these types of games.  Do you miss him?

A:  I only spent one season with him, but it’s true that he did really well in the derbies, and he was very competitive.

Q:  How do you approach these types of games?

A:  They’re special because there’s an extra dose of passion in the stands and a lot of times it infects those who are on the field.  But you have to keep your cool when things get heated up.  You have to know how to combine that extra motivation with coolness.

Q:  Xavi said that he wouldn’t enjoy playing with this Real Madrid.

A:  If he said that, it’s because that’s how he feels.  That’s his opinion.  I enjoy playing in Real Madrid.  I’m very happy where I am.  We’re doing things well.  Can we still improve?  Of course.  That’s a good thing, to have the ability to improve and to be ambitious.  I don’t pay attention to what happens in other clubs.

Q:  Who is your favorite to win the Ballon d’Or?

A:  A Spanish player.  I believe there are enough reasons for that.  In my opinion, Casillas had an incredible World Cup and he was a decisive factor.  I would love it if Iker won.  It’s more complicated for a goalkeeper, but if he receives it, it’s well-deserved.

Q:  What are you all doing to help Benzema integrate further?

A:  Last season he had problems with the language.  But now he’s loosening up a lot more and with things going well for him on the field, he’s gaining confidence.  I’m sure he will demonstrate his quality.  We want to get the best out of him.

Q:  Were you happy for Pedro León, for his goal in San Siro?

A:  Yes.  It was a decisive and important goal.  I’m happy for Pedro León, as I am for all my teammates.

Watch a video of Xabi looking good and talking (in that order) here.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. LaBlanca permalink
    November 6, 2010 12:25

    thanx for the translation una. Its interesting. Its always a joy to read what he says.

    theres also an interview by Sergio in El Pais today. Also pretty football related, but maybe some things are interesting for you. Plus the pic they come up with. 😉

  2. November 6, 2010 13:41

    THE FATHER has spoken! Lovely! Thanks for translation!

  3. Canederli permalink
    November 6, 2010 16:52

    Sigh. I just love all this Xabi coverage. He’s just…awesome in every way. I’m glad he stuck up for Sami. Khedira may not be flashy, but he’s solid and that’s important as well.

  4. Gilly B permalink
    November 6, 2010 18:44

    I love how articulate and bright Xabi is. Moving to Real Madrid has been a great move for him, although I miss having him in the Premier League 😦

  5. Pam permalink
    November 6, 2010 19:11

    I think it’s interesting that he didn’t mention anymore, that he wants Xavi to win the Ballon d’Or. He’s been gushing about him a lot. (while Xavi has only mentioned him in passing…)

    Thanks a lot for the translation! It’s interesting to read what he thinks about the team mates and the team in general.

    • November 7, 2010 11:45

      Thank you for the translation 😀
      Xabi is such a classy man – and I love of course especially the things he says about Sami 🙂
      (Q: But it appears that Khedira is neither elegant nor flashy? – Now, what a stupid question is THAT????) 😦

    • Michelle permalink
      November 7, 2010 21:15

      I noticed that too. 😉 I attributed it to the fact that he was talking to Marca, which I think is a relatively pro-RM sports paper. (See the slightly loaded “did you hear what Xavi supposedly said about you?” question right before. I appreciated that Xabi kept his response neutral.) Previously when he’d tipped Xavi for it, that was to DT, which I believe is more of a lifestyle mag that wouldn’t have made a big deal about the Madrid/Barcelona rivalry. Xabi is just opting not to create unnecessary smoke & fire in the press, I think. Classy como siempre 🙂

  6. Michelle permalink
    November 7, 2010 21:30

    In shallower commentary, that second pic — there is nothing not at all perfect about that man in that outfit. 🙂 Jeans, buttondown, v-neck sweater, watch, brown nubuck desert boots, just a touch of hair gel… he should give everyone lessons in how not to overdo it!

    Also — he is TOTALLY smizing! Isn’t he?!

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