That would be Xabi Alonso, Nagore Aranburu and Zinedine Zidane, all of whom make appearances in June’s crop of Spanish magazines.
And I loved this answer from Xabi, so I’m going to put it here, at the very top.
After so many years with Madrid, do you feel madridista?
Yes, I’ve adopted this sentiment without any hesitation. I will be madridista for life.
Xabi Alonso – GQ España.
The Number 14 warrior.
Xabi Alonso is a modest, educated, cultured and elegant man. At the age of 30, the tolosarra is facing the last stage of his career with the integrity and stateliness of a gentleman.
Let’s begin with your collaboration with Hugo Boss. It’s been said that you were chosen for the mastery with which you exercise your profession, your ambition, your dynamism and your confidence. Do you see yourself in this profile?
If we speak of my profession, then yes, I have to identify with these values, because I have confidence in myself and I’ve tried to be dynamic. I believe it’s very important to evolve in my profession. Outside of it, there are many times when I don’t have such confidence in some things.
Do you feel that you’re in a plentiful moment both personally and professionally?
I believe I’ve reached a point of maturity and experience. Physically, I still feel good and I’ve progressed a lot in the way I read games and in playing for the collective. If I look back five years, I do see that I’ve progressed as a footballer and I feel that the margin of improvement is smaller each time.
Do you still have problems sleeping after a game?
Yes, it takes a lot of effort. During those times, I’m trying to get rid of the tension and adrenaline, and sometimes I can’t fall asleep until five in the morning.
What do you do on those nights of insomnia?
A bit of everything: I read, watch TV series, surf the Internet… I stay at home if I don’t go out to eat with friends or something like that. In the concentraciones, I also have time to read and watch series and I use that time to do that.
It’s quite unusual for a footballer to like reading so much…
Well, I believe that’s a stereotype. We read much more than people think. There are all types. And yes, I do like to read the written press, magazines, novels, biographies, thrillers… everything.
We get the impression that you’re well-read, or that you have sophisticated tastes. Are you like that?
(Laughs) I don’t know what it means to be well-read, I don’t define myself like that, but I consider myself a bit inquisitive, whether it’s with movies, music, economics, design, architecture… I like to get magazines and look at what there is, to read, listen and observe.
But in your twitter, there are many references to Kubrick, Lars von Trier, Leonard Cohen… these are all individuals who are quite rare in their fields.
Yes, but they’re geniuses as well. They have very defined personalities and they’ve left an impression. I like people who are different, who have something special. Leonard Cohen with his lyrics, Lars von Trier with his films… I like to follow people like that, different, with charisma and talent.
Is it possible that you identify with those people and that it influences the way you play?
It’s not something that I had as an objective, but rather a consequence of my way of understanding football. I always try to do my own thing with honesty, to be respectful and to help the team. I would not like to play populist football, the kind that caters to the audience and only entertains.
I’m not going to ask you if certain footballers do play that way…
(Laughs) I didn’t say that.
But you think it?
(Laughs) No, no, no. You said that. You could say that there are singers, politicians or journalists who do the same, who are populist. I don’t like cheap populism and when I see it in someone, they lose many points with me.
You’re also a big fan of Dexter. Have you ever thought after a game, only metaphorically, that you would like to put someone on Dexter’s killing table?
Yes, I believe that we’ve all thought that at times. Dexter has a very attractive personality, for this lack of sentiments combined with a human touch that gets to you. And sometimes you think: perhaps I’m getting more emotional with him than I should. On those occasions, you share that “dark passenger” that he speaks so much about.
Another of your favorite series is Mad Men. Do you feel like a footballer from another era?
Well, in some things yes. With the boots, for example. I don’t like so many colors. I always tell the people of Adidas to send me black boots, the ones they’ve been making forever. Perhaps I have a more classic profile than others and in this sense I do like the classic and elegant world of Mad Men.
You could play in black and white…
No, perhaps this classicism could be in white and black, but my speed is in color.
I believe you also admire Steve Jobs a lot. Does this charismatic personality, disregard for social conventions, being loved and hated in equal parts remind you of anyone?
No, I believe he’s someone unique, it doesn’t remind me of anyone (laughs). I’ve read his biography, and the truth is achieving what he achieved… he was a man with a different vision and a unique way of seeing things. The way in which he achieved it and how he treated people, sometimes very cruelly, can be discussed. But I don’t have any problems with any of my bosses. I have a very cordial relationship with them.
The Eurocopa is coming up. You all have a wonderful occasion to achieve a huge accomplishment, no?
Yes, but it’s going to be more difficult, it’s getting more difficult to keep on winning. We have a good team, we have the experience, but there are also other teams which are very well prepared and with a lot of desire. I think it will be even more difficult than the Eurocopa and World Cup that we won, we’re going to have to do things almost perfectly to win the title.
This year, the way the calendar was arranged meant that one of the last games was between Barcelona and Madrid. Is that bad for the national team?
I believe it’s independent of that, they have nothing to do with each other, we’ve always been able to differentiate. We’re tired of people talking about this subject. They ask you, you respond and they write something else. In the end, you think, “don’t ask me anymore, write and be done with it.” The two things don’t have anything to do with each other, when we’re with the national team and in the final phase of a competition and fighting, we don’t care how the season ended. If someone won, you congratulate them, if you won, they congratulate you, but you’re already fighting for something else.
Are you all still good friends?
Yes, yes, there is a great atmosphere.
I believe you.
Yes, believe it.
Someone said that football is not a matter of life or death, but rather something more important…
Yes, that was Bill Shankly. The phrase sounds great, but I’m not sure if it’s the truth.
Nagore Aranburu – Marie Claire España.
We travel to Donosti from Madrid in the company of what the British press calls a WAG. But Nagore Aranburu shines with her own light. She’s an entrepreneur, having recently inaugurated a store selling children’s clothes from the French firm Normandie, and also the ambassador of jewelry firm Links of London and Serum 7.
She’s beautiful, discrete and has a generous smile. She also has an air of timidness, and a base of friendliness and professionalism. She says, “returning here is returning to my family. I go to my neighborhood, Aiete, which is tranquil and residential, I go look at the sea, I take a walk through the Gros district, and I get lost in the alleyways in the center of the city. I adore my city. I was born here. I studied business management and tourism in the Universidad de Deusto and I went to London at the age of 26 to improve my English.” She goes on to say, “I remember the Ondarreta beach from my childhood, with its open air cafes, spending time with my friends on the beach in the afternoons, and how the father of a friend took us on his boat from Biarritz to San Sebastián and later invited us to eat anchovies in the port. Now, with my business, I come here once a month.”
The daily routine.
“If I’m not here with the children, I meet up with friends in the afternoon to go to the Ondarreta beach and drink something at the Koh Tao bar. I also like the outdoor cafes at Zurriola. Then I go for tapas in the old part of town and I have dinner at a good restaurant, such as Gandarias or La Madame. For unbeatable views, I go to Bokado, in the aquarium, or to the Mirador de Ulía.”
Gastronomy, culture, shopping.
Her recommendations include the sandwiches at the Narrika bar, the restaurants of those Michelin-starred chefs Arzak and Martín Bersategui, and the perfectly executed dishes of another of her favorite restaurants, Zuberoa. “You have to go have pintxos. It sounds like a cliché, but you have to do it. One of my favorite places is Paco Bueno.”
Nagore also regularly checks the schedule of the Victoria Eugenia theater: “it’s an architectural jewel that deserves a visit.” She also likes to walk along the port and view fishing boats returning to shore, and get something to eat in the nearby restaurants. She also recommends the Cristina Enea park, and the concerts during the Festival del Jazz in the summers. For Nagore, the songs of Mikel Laboa remind her of the city, as do the smell of salt on the skin and the feel of the sand under one’s feet while walking on the beach.
Recommended shops include Auzmendi (where she worked many years ago), Berriz, Noventa Grados, El Hangar and Auka. “Shopping in San Sebastián ranges from supercool items fresh off the runway to romantic and more affordable clothing from French firms.”
Her connection with Links of London came from her time in Liverpool, when a friend showed her their friendship bracelets, and she thought they were great: “I usually wear them every day and I wear several at a time, in rose gold or in silver. I also like their earrings and watches. The next thing I’m going to buy is a very fine chain made of gold with a small charm that I can wear on a daily basis.” She confesses that one of her dreams is to design a collection for the firm.
We ask her if she has any challenges left to accomplish here in San Sebastían. She answers with a laugh that it’s to learn how to surf or do some water sport. We also ask her what is the first thing that comes to mind when she thinks about Donosti, and she doesn’t hesitate before answering “family.”
Zinedine Zidane – GQ España.
This interview was conducted during the Baselworld watch fair earlier this year.
You never got to play for your favorite team, Olympique de Marseille. Do you regret that?
I was lucky enough to play for the best teams in the world, such as Real Madrid or Juventus, but it’s true that I’ve always greatly admired the team of the city where I was born.
What is the main reason why Enzo Francescoli is your idol?
For two reasons: for his elegance and his career. He knew how to impose a style of play during the years when he played in France and especially with Olympique de Marseille.
You’re considered one of the best players in the world. What do you have left to achieve?
My current objective is to bring my experience to Real Madrid so that the team can win as many titles as possible.
For a man who has known what it’s like to be impoverished and rich, what does luxury really mean?
I’ve had a lot of luck and I’m conscious of that. My luxury is to be able to lead a pleasant life with my family. I know where I come from and that’s why I’m conscious of the luxuries that I have in my life right now, and especially since we’re in a period of crisis.
You’ve always given people the impression of elegance and simplicity…
Elegance is something that you learn at home, principally through the education during your childhood. Elegance is not simply how you look on the outside. It’s something that I’ve experienced from the time I was small and that I try to transmit to my own children.
For you, there are two important things in life: football and family. What worries do you have at the moment?
Family has been and is the most important thing for me. First it was my parents, today it’s my sons and my wife who are the ones who occupy my thoughts. The most important thing for me is that they’re happy. I’ve dedicated myself to them since I stopped playing. I want to transmit to my sons the same things my parents taught me, the values that I’m faithful to: hard work, honesty, humility. And above all else, I want to support them in their passions, whether it’s sports or something else.
For IWC, 2012 is the year of the high flyers. Do you like aviation?
Yes, I like airplanes. I’ve always had a passion for the world of pilots and the Top Gun school. I know this name thanks to the movie, like the rest of the world.
And, Pipita quédate!