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Donosti gets a little more perfect*

January 20, 2011
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The perfection that is Xabi Alonso and Nagore Aranburu traveled to Donostia yesterday so that Xabi could receive the 2011 Tambor de Oro (Golden Drum) award, in a ceremony that kicked off the city’s annual Tamborrada festival (the ceremony is usually held on Jan. 20, but was moved up by one day for the first time ever so that Xabi could attend.  That shows just how important Xabi Alonso is to the city!).

And yes, that’s him as a seven-year-old Tamborrada participant on the left.

The mayor of the Donostia, Odón Elorza, presented Xabi with the award, the highest one given out by the city government to the best ambassador of the city in the past year.  He described Xabi as “a man with great human values” and “an example for millions of children because he represents the values that any city would desire – sacrifice, caring, team work, passion and creativity.”  So true, all of it!

Xabi, for his part, called it “the most beautiful and beloved award anyone could receive” after a “special year” in which his daughter Ane was born and Spain won the World Cup, and had affectionate words for the two clubs of the city that formed him as a footballer, Antiguoko and Real Sociedad.  He also revealed that he participated in the Tamborrada as a kid, and that even while living in Liverpool, he kept Donostian drums at home.

Xabi’s wife, his parents and grandmothers were all in attendance, along with that lucky woman, the president of the Basque parliament, Arantza Quiroga (she said that she’s proud that her children’s idol is Xabi).  Xabi thanked his family by saying the following.  To his grandmothers:  “thank you for coming today looking so beautiful and elegant, and because you have been my favorite cooks from the time I was small.”  To his parents and brothers:  “thank you for being a professional and personal example for me.”  And to Nagore (once again, I love how he’s looking at her):

Thank you for all these intense years that we’ve shared together, for always being there for me, for the two children that we have together, because that’s the greatest project of our lives.

(Yes, I’ll wait while you get a stiff drink/eat some chocolate/buy a pair of expensive shoes so that you can make it through the rest of this post.)


Xabi also thanked Madrid for giving him permission to attend.  Before the ceremony ended, a video was shown with images of Xabi’s life and career, and with a congratulatory message from Vicente del Bosque as the icing on the cake.  After the act, Mr. Perfect went out to greet some children that were taking part in the festival.  He was back on a plane at 20:30h to get to Madrid’s concentración as quickly as possible – he arrived at 21:45h and it started at 22h.

Some facts you may not have known about Xabi:  he was born while Periko was playing a Copa del Rey game with la Real.  When he played football with Mikel as a kid, he would have to be the goalkeeper because he was younger.  And as a seven-year-old (the first picture in the post), Xabi Alonso was a sapper in one of the Tamborrada companies because “I was too small to play a drum and they wouldn’t let me, so I could only be a sapper, with the axe on my shoulder.  The next year, I got to play.  I paraded with my friends from school, and had a great time.  I will never forget those moments…”

Real Madrid’s web site and TV channel followed Xabi throughout the day.  At Barajas airport for his 15:30h flight, Xabi confessed that he was nervous, and he didn’t know what to expect.  Once in San Sebastián, Periko Alonso said, “It’s a special day, I’m almost as emotional as my son… As a kid, he was a little rascal and he always went to see who got the award.  Now it’s him that’s there.”

In an interview, Xabi said the following:

Q:  How was your day?

A:  It was very emotional; I can’t describe what I was feeling.  All of it was great, and it really touched me.  This is the maximum and I’m so grateful to everyone.  Before the ceremony, I didn’t want to know too much about how it would go, so that it would impact me even more.

Q:  You had a lot of supporters there.

A:  Everyone that knows me well was there.  My parents, my wife, my grandparents, my cousins…  I also want to thank the club and the city government.

Q:  Did you ever think you would receive this honor?

A:  Never.  I also never thought I would play for Real Madrid.

Q:  What have you told your teammates about the Tambor de Oro?

A:  They’ve asked me about it since it was announced.  I explained to them that on San Sebastián Day, the drums come out onto the streets for the Tamborrada and each year they honor a city ambassador.  And this year, it was me.

Q:  So now you’re an ambassador.  What’s special about San Sebastián?

A:  The best thing for people to do is to go there and get to know the city themselves.  But the atmosphere, the people, the views, the food and the quality of life are incomparable.  I took my first kicks at the ball at the Playa de la Concha.  That’s where we all started playing football.

Q:  During the ceremony, they put a chef’s apron on you…

A:  I love gastronomy and cooking.  I like all types of food.  Hake jaw, pork chops… I enjoy good food and we have a lot of great chefs here such as Berasategui, Arzak and Arguiñano.

* To me, it’s already one of the most perfect cities in Spain, in one of the most perfect regions in the world, and not just for the men it’s produced!  Like Xabi said, if you have a chance, go experience it yourself!  (Jaja, with this promotion, maybe I can win the Tambor de Oro in the future!)

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. LaBlanca permalink
    January 20, 2011 12:00

    Una, have you seen Nagores tweets about it?

    something else, how come I only see this post because I have got it per email, but not when I visit your site using the main link? Not just this also the news update article. Ive pushed F5 several times but nothing. Whats wrong?

  2. Pammie permalink
    January 20, 2011 13:33

    His speech leaves me speechless. Too perfect! *dies*

  3. faith permalink
    January 20, 2011 13:40

    Oh he looks so cute as a little kid.
    This caps the perfect Xabi day – first the Vogue spread then this. Oh what a man, what a man.
    And what he said about Nagore …..

    chocolates anyone?

    Una, I’ll nominate you for the Donostia award. Does the previous honoree present it to the new winner? If so, wow a kiss from Mr. Perfect.

  4. blanco for life permalink
    January 20, 2011 14:08

    Does anyone know where I can download ‘los secretos de la roja’?

  5. blanco for life permalink
    January 20, 2011 14:56

    http://www.marca.com/2011/01/20/futbol/equipos/real_madrid/1295506940.html

    It seems like there is a third interview…

    • January 20, 2011 15:05

      It wasn’t an interview, it was a half page article. And I didn’t see anything interesting about it.

  6. Louise permalink
    January 20, 2011 16:12

    Aww, tiny soldier Xabi! He doesn’t look like a rascal, but I’ll trust Periko. I love the picture with his grandmothers–if only they were actually pinching his cheeks!

    He needs a show, either Cooking with Xabi or Eating with Xabi. His love of food is just to great to keep to himself! I wish Jose Andres wasn’t a Barca supporter because they would be fabulous together.

  7. IsaBella permalink
    January 20, 2011 16:38

    Una you seem a fan of the Basques 🙂 You would perfectly fit for one of the posters promoting Euskadi all over Spain 😀
    Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to go there, I’m all over central and southern Spain at the moment.

  8. January 20, 2011 17:10

    If there was ever anything better than TheXabi Alonso Pose Pics, it is Xabi and Nagore Pics. Geez, the one of them in a plane!

    and the whole post is too much too handle when it comes to being lovely. It did not help me fighting with my newest crush of yesterday that is This Couple. 😉

    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!

  9. Jenny permalink
    January 20, 2011 17:43

    It’s odd – they are even more beautiful when they are being all natural and the photographs aren’t touched up.

    I mean, they REALLY are perfect!

    I agree with people who say they can’t feel jealous of this perfection because their life is like a dreamy fairy-tale – it couldn’t be true for anyone else.

  10. RealLisa permalink
    January 20, 2011 17:52

    Oh Xabi, there’s no words to describe you. Perfect is not enough! It-is-not!
    Una, how many brothers does he has? Two? I know only Mikel. Is Periko the other one? I guess I have missed some details. Can’t let that happen again! 🙂

    • RealLisa permalink
      January 20, 2011 18:04

      ooops, Periko is his dad. Then really, who’s the other one?

  11. Michelle permalink
    January 20, 2011 20:39

    NGHAAAHHH. It is a good thing I have a pan of brownies by my side. MORE CHOCOLATE IS CALLED FOR.

    (No, I’m not eating my feelings. Why do you ask?)

    In all seriousness, what he said about Nagore was… awesomesauce. You mentioned that he thanked her while looking at her — is there video of this? (I know you normally link to it, but in case it was an oversight?) Because, you know, I need extra fodder for my depression. Is okay. I have a whole box of cookies here once these brownies are done.

    • January 21, 2011 08:58

      I meant in the picture below, so no need to get out that box of cookies (yet)!

      • Jennifer permalink
        January 21, 2011 11:12

        “Yet” being the optimal word. Really, it’s just a matter of time before he does something perfect and despair-inducing again, so keep the cookies handy.

  12. Jennifer permalink
    January 21, 2011 11:09

    I’m not a fan of chocolate, so I decided that shoes and booze would be the best option, except that all I could think was “… those aren’t as nice as Nagore’s heels. No, those either. No. No no no.” And then I ran out of wine. So I’m still sober and I have no (new) shoes…

    Since attempting to clone Xabi would probably be impossible, perhaps when he retires he could start a finishing school for young gentlemen? Teach them the ways of The Force. (Or just how to dress and be über-classy, that works too.)

  13. Ebrahim permalink
    January 23, 2011 08:05

    Mr perfect! love the suit. simplicity :).

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