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Iker & his ‘pandilla’ at El Larguero

March 11, 2011

What a great idea from “El Larguero”!  Last night, they got Iker together with seven of his lifelong friends (some of whom appeared in the Mahou commercial), and special musical guest Dani Martín (the former lead singer of El Canto del Loco) in one of Iker’s favorite restaurants, El Acebo, in Boadilla del Monte, and concretely in the Iker corner.  (Iker and his friends usually get together there to eat, play cards and watch games, which they just did, having enjoyed seeing Villarreal beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 in the Europa League.  The corner started off as a gathering place, then photos were taken, added to the walls, and it took on a life of its own.  Iker says it has its charm, because it’s a little like being at home).

Iker’s “amiguetes” are asked to talk about their childhood together, and their famous friend.  Iker started things off by talking about his younger days (this is all paraphrased below because the friends, as they often do, interrupt each other and get sidetracked).  The seven friends are: Bici, Álex, Isma, Juancar, Antonito, Miguelón and Chema.  Bici is the nickname of David, Iker’s cousin.  Chema was the last one to join the group; he is 40 years old and was introduced via another friend, Julio, who couldn’t make it yesterday.  Antonio is “a character.”  Miguelón is “a good kid,” “knows everything,” and wants to be a politician (his father is the mayor of Navalacruz).  Isma and Iker have known each other since they were six.  With the exception of Juancar and Chema, they’ve all known each other since they were six or seven, because they all spent summers together in Navalacruz.

On his childhood: I always liked playing football.  My dream of owning a Scalextric (a car racing game) never happened, because my father tricked me and got me a motocross game instead, which was “muy diferente.”  [Iker must be quite bitter about this because he’s been talking about it ever since he became famous!]  I got my first ball at the age of two, and by the age of four I was in the goal.  I liked it because I liked falling to the ground.  I broke my parents’ bed in our first house because the ball bounced off the wall and I went to get it.  My aunt Tere, the sister of my mother, gave me my first goalkeeper’s shirt, I still remember it was half black and half blue.

On his grandparents: my paternal grandfather Eusebio died six years ago.  He was the one who liked football the most.  My grandmother Nicasia (Eusebio’s wife) gets very nervous, and doesn’t understand anything about football, and she always tells me not to leave the goal.  So if I make a mistake and people ask me why I didn’t come out, I always say it’s because my grandmother told me not to.  My maternal grandfather Mariano is in a residence now, and he doesn’t like football, since he never understood the point of 22 guys going after one ball.  My grandmother Lorenza died when I was 14, so I don’t have many football-related memories of her.

On school: I attended three schools in Móstoles – Picasso, Vicente Aleixandre and El Canaveral.  My grades were pretty good, I scored sevens more or less [the Spanish scale is one to 10, with everything above a five as passing].  In the first years of high school, I was “notable” [in the 7-8 range] but when I started traveling a lot with the lower categories of the national team, my grades fell.  My first trip in a plane was to Mallorca at the age of 10, to play in a tournament, where we faced Barcelona in the final.  I was a substitute.

On Real Madrid: I never had a neighborhood or school team.  I tried out for Madrid when I was eight, in September, and I joined them when I was nine, when they called me up to play for the Torneo Social.

Then they bring out Julio, who’s the same age as Iker.  Julio, at the age of 11, had beaten Iker out as the starting goalkeeper in the Brunete tournament.  The team was coached by Antonio Mezquita back then.  As Julio was much bigger than Iker back then, he got the starting nod (Iker was nice – he said he had the merits to start).  They haven’t seen each other since then, and Iker says he didn’t recognize him because now his hair is very curly.

And then it’s on to the banda.

Bici talks about the king and the autograph: Bici became popular over the last few weeks because of a certain autograph from the king of Spain.  He explained that he had spoken to Iker one day before Iker was to go to El Pardo to receive an award from the hands of the king.  He thought it would be a good idea to ask for a photo.  And to his surprise, he got one the day after.

Iker tells the story: in a moment when the king and I were alone, I asked him for a small favor, an autograph.  He said yes, he’d be happy to do it, but that he didn’t have a photo on hand.  I told him it was okay, we got one and he signed it.  That’s the story.

Isma’s memories of Iker: Isma remembers the group bicycling all over the place when they were 14-15.  He describes himself as being very bad at football, so he never played.

Juancar’s memories of Iker: Juancar says the majority of them can’t be revealed.  He started coming to Navalacruz when he was 16, and Iker was 15.  They always went around on their bicycles, and one day they biked 96 kilometers as they went all around the area.

Álex’s memories of Iker: one day Iker came by with half orange hair.  We asked him what happened, and he said it was because of the sun.

Iker explains: my mother was studying to be a hairdresser, and she had to take a final exam.  She used my hair, and she had to dye it blond.  And when she dyed my hair back to normal, it came out orange.  I spent three to four months with half orange hair.  I was 13, and I said it was because of the sun and that it was in fashion.

Iker and Bici: we went to the candy store, we were seven or eight years old.  They had some jars in there with candy, and while the proprietor wasn’t looking, we took some candy.  Bici fled and left me there, and I got caught.  My grandmother told my father, and I was grounded for three to four days.  Bici: what a bitter person you are!

Bici tells the box on the head story (Iker says he hopes all the photos are lost): we were at a Christmas party with our friend Ángel and Clínica Menorca, and Iker and I left separately.  Ten minutes later, we ran into each other again on Gran Vía, looking for a taxi.  There was a strike going on, so getting a taxi was very complicated.  There were lots of people out on Gran Vía, and they kept stopping him for autographs, so we decided to get this cardboard box from the entrance of a store, cut some slits in it for eyes and put it on Iker’s head.  We went all the way from the intersection with Alcalá to the Plaza de España like that.

On the Ibiza anecdote: no one wants to reveal what happened, and Álex says it’s like football – what happens on the field stays on the field.

Bici on the moment when he knew his cousin was famous: I went to buy some gum, and out came a picture of my cousin on the sticker.  I was like, what is this?

All of them coincide that Iker hasn’t changed at all, and that he’s the same person as he’s always been, and that they consider him just one more in the group.  They say that Iker’s much better with the fame thing than the rest of them.  Chema says people must think Iker owns a clothing store, because they’re always asking for them for his shirt, his gloves… Iker says that each time they get together, they have a million things to say to each other, they talk about the past, they play cards… He adds that he’s always the one in charge of informing everyone about the plans, but not making them because he’s not the “jefe de la banda.”  They do bring their partners along sometimes, and Bici says that “the one from Toledo” (which is how the presenter referred to Sara) is an exceptional, wonderful person, and that she’s from a small town like the rest of them.  Álex says “Sarita” is very normal, and like Iker, the image of her on TV is different than in real life.  His girlfriend has become friends with Sara.

Q&A time

on the meaning of the hug with Mourinho: it was an anecdote, I prefer for the míster to explain it, not me.  (Everyone else encourages him to).  Next week, we don’t have the concentración before the game against Atlético.

on the Valdano-Mou conflict: they have their own territories, both know how to get what they want and what both want is for Madrid to win a title this year.  [Iker should have been like Cris, and just denied that there is even a conflict.]

on who he would add to Madrid: someone from the cantera.  They can do as well as anyone from another team.

[Iker adds that out of the 70-80 footballers from his first teams, he was the only one who made it to the first team, and he believes it’s easier to get to the first team than to stay there.  He adds that he doesn’t know many of the current canteranos.]

on Cristiano (Iker is asked if he and Sara have ever gone out to eat with Cris and his girlfriend, just the four of them): think about it, if I don’t even see my friends that often, and I see Cristiano every day… [again, Iker should not be so bluntly honest, no?]

on missing Raúl and Guti: yes, I miss them, and also Míchel Salgado.  We had 10 wonderful years together, with both good and bad moments.  I miss them because I grew up with them, and I learned a lot from them, especially Raúl.  And I learned a lot with Guti too.  I still talk to Guti, he came to my charity game, I exchange messages with Raúl and I congratulated him for making it to the final of the German Cup, and I’m in contact with Míchel as well.

And Dani Martín sings his two hit songs, “16 añitos” and “Mira la vida.”

Have a listen to the entire thing here (part 1) and here (part 2).  Dani’s performances come at the end of each segment – I love “Mira la vida,” and “16 añitos” reminds me of one of my favorite ECDL songs, “Peter Pan.”

By the way, Iker may soon be competing against Mou and Cristiano… in terms of banks!  BBVA (one of the leading Spanish banks and official sponsor of the Liga) has chosen Iker to be their new spokesperson.  It should help – Iker is even the third most popular person in Cataluña (!) after Pep Guardiola and Leo Messi.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. ulong permalink
    March 11, 2011 11:00

    this comment –> “I liked it because I liked falling to the ground.” just PERFECT

  2. Milleca permalink
    March 11, 2011 12:00

    Oh wow I always love Iker’s (or any Iker-related anecdotes). The sun, really? Hahahaha! And the candy store! And that one time with the box on the head!

    Thanks for this Una! 🙂

  3. Debsen permalink
    March 11, 2011 13:23

    Thanks for the translation Una! Love the stories his friends tell. I wonder what this Mou and Iker hug is all about.

    On a separate note, it’s little Jontxu’s 3rd bday!

  4. March 11, 2011 13:42

    The first thing I noticed was the shirt. Why does Iker insist on wearing shirts that look like they were designed to be worn by 5 year olds?

    Most of the time, I like that Iker’s so honest and upfront, there are times when I want to thwap him on the head for the things he says. As the captain of Madrid, as high-profile he, his girlfriend and Ronaldo are, he really should know by now how to answer those questions in a way that the media can twist/misconstrue.

    Do you know what the incident in Ibiza is about, Una?

  5. Maddi permalink
    March 11, 2011 15:19

    Referring to Debsen’s comment: Happy b-day Jon!!! I wonder if Xabi tweeted anything.

    This is one of my favorite Iker interviews!!! I love everything about it. I tried to find the pics with the cardboard box (for some reason I cannot stop laughing over that) but was unsuccessful 😦

    Also, the anectdote about Iker’s sticker coming from the gum machine is really adorable. And the orange hair “I said it was because of the sun and that it was in fashion.” HAHAHA!!

    Thanks for translating!!

  6. Emily permalink
    March 11, 2011 15:30

    Very interesting to hear Iker and his friend’s stories! Thanks so much for translating 🙂 I do have one question, I’m a new follower of the sport (I started watching in November) and I still don’t really know what the concentración is. What is it exactly?

    • DebS permalink
      March 12, 2011 02:43

      As I understand it, it means that the players (coaches too) meet the night before the match (probably day before for away matches), have dinner and spend the night in a hotel together. Not all teams do this but it’s used by some coaches for team unity building as well as getting them to focus on the game only and not be distracted by other things or stay out too late the night before a game, etc.

    • March 12, 2011 05:04

      A concentracion is when Mou has the called up players stay in a hotel the night before the game. He’s keeping them off the streets, out of trouble and their minds on the next days’ match.

  7. clara permalink
    March 11, 2011 16:27

    Iker is even the third most popular person in Cataluña after Pep Guardiola and Leo Messi. o.O!!! What?? I hit my head and lost my consciousness???

    Contrary to what I thought until yesterday, I think Mourinho and Iker is not understand very well … I speak of the concentrations.

  8. Emily permalink
    March 11, 2011 17:48

    I love it! He seems so fun and clever.

    But awww, he makes it sound like he doesn’t like Cris.

  9. mar permalink
    March 11, 2011 19:14

    Wow! I like stories like those so much! He was so cool when he that his hair were orange from the sun! Well done! I hope mou will not get angry that he said that about the contretacion.

  10. Pam permalink
    March 11, 2011 20:19

    Shame Iker for blaming your grandma for your mistakes 🙂

  11. barb permalink
    March 11, 2011 23:17

    When you read this and see pictures of Iker with his friends, it emphasizes the point that he is a “regular guy” – albeit amazingly handsome and talented – who likes to hang out with his buddies, have a beer and watch sports. It helps to explain the complete lack of fashion sense!

    Love the cardboard box story and the orange hair. Thanks for a fun post.

  12. March 12, 2011 05:45

    You know, Iker could probably go ahead and buy himself that Scalextric set now. He’s got enough money that he could probably get someone to build him a lifesize version for him and his amiguetes.

  13. Michelle permalink
    March 12, 2011 08:17

    This was FANTASTIC, Madridista! I’m so glad you were able to listen to this superlong one for us (I might give it a shot, but suspect I won’t be able to understand a single word out of Iker’s madrileño mouth anyway) and bring us the highlights! They were really all highlights, too, such good authentic stories, not the usual warmed-over familiar recycled stories that we often get with famous sportsmen. I think my favourite of the lot was Failed!Blonde Iker. I’ve totally heard that there’s a risk of orange hair, but thankfully it’s never happened to anyone I know. The box story was a close second, though it’s SO implausible it’s verging on made-up…

    Also, I am currently judging whoever they polled in Catalunya SO HARD right now for liking Iker more than Puyi or Xavi. Or even Inieste! REALLY, PEOPLE — ciutadans de Catalunya, ja els tenim aqui!

  14. Noor permalink
    March 12, 2011 09:11

    i dont get the reply iker gave in response to that cris part

    • DebS permalink
      March 13, 2011 05:33

      Iker’s basically saying that he spends so much time already with Cris that when it’s not soccer related, he likes to spend time with someone other than his teammates. So that he and Sara have not ever double dated without Cris & Irina.

      I’m sure that will stir up controversy about there being a rift between Cris & Iker but, in truth, it’s normal for people to want to separate themselves from work at the end of the day/week. We all need that “down time” to relax with our friends & family.

      Personally, from what I see on the pitch, Madrid’s team get along a lot better than a lot of teams. I just don’t see the bickering, etc. that I see on other teams.


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