Sara Carbonero on Iker Casillas
Sara Carbonero graces the cover of this month’s Elle España (which Iker posted on Instagram along with a couple of exclamation marks, jajaja!!!!) and in the interview inside, she speaks about life with Iker and that kiss. Post updated!
The last time we spoke was three years ago. You had just left for the World Cup and you predicted that Spain would win. How has your life been since then?
Yes, I remember that… Professionally, I’m still presenting news for Telecinco, I write for Marca and I also collaborate with Televisa in Mexico. On the personal level, after that trip I became a bit of a famous person. I would say that my life is the same, what has changed is how others see it.
And how do you handle all this attention?
In the beginning, you don’t like the idea. You recoil each time you see yourself in magazines and when things are said about you that you have no control over. You’re not prepared to have a camera behind you the entire day, and when I say the entire day, I mean 24 hours a day, from the time you go into a bookstore until when you go to buy bread on a Saturday. In fact, what bothers me the most is that it appears I’m always shopping. The bad thing is not having your picture taken, it’s how you’re viewed later on, how it’s trivialized. My life isn’t how it appears to be in magazines.
Has this constant attention weakened you?
Without realizing it, to protect yourself, you change your character a bit. You become more of a recluse, more introverted, less confident. I know this because many people who know me well have told me. It’s not anything traumatic, but it’s difficult to handle, especially when you’re working in what you’ve always done, which in my case is sports, a passion I’ve had since I was a kid. The truth is that I would like to go unnoticed, like the rest of my colleagues.
Raquel del Rosario told us, “fame and the lack of anonymity got the best of me and I had to choose between getting mad at the world or saying that this is my life and I want to be happy.” What have you decided?
I remember that interview, and I remember this phrase, because I’m completely in agreement with her. I’m still deciding. Having cameras follow you affects your life. But I’m now learning who I can tell a secret to and who I can’t. I see that I’m getting better again, I’m more relaxed, because I’ve decided that I don’t want to stop being who I really am.
You’re a timid person.
Yes, very. And sometimes people confuse that with being in a bad mood, because I try not to draw attention to myself when I go out and I always need to be doing something with my hands.
Is being able to help others the good side of fame?
Without a doubt. It’s the most comforting part. There’s nothing better than helping someone.
Tell us about your work with the Red Cross.
I love the cause, because it’s very palpable: it’s the donation of food for those whom the crisis have made economically vulnerable. It’s very sad not to have anything in life, and also when you had everything and lived well, and all of a sudden you have nothing. Right now there are people who go to the Red Cross with shopping bags from department stores so that when they return home, they appear to have come back from shopping. For me, that’s tough. Very tough. I saw that for myself during the Día de la Banderita. Telecinco didn’t even ask me to collaborate because they didn’t think I would want to stand in one of the busiest plazas in Madrid. But my friend and colleague Isabel Jiménez told me about it, and I said, “why wouldn’t I go?” And I felt very comfortable. We filled the donation box. It was a triumph. And that day I went home happy.
How long has it been since you took a tranquil stroll around Madrid?
Before, that was one of my hobbies. I love the noises of the street. It’s been some time since I’ve done that. The other day, thanks to the Red Cross, I got to do a bit of that. I went into El Corte Inglés. And I thought, “of course, it’s like returning to the past, when I went to FNAC in Callao and I spent my Sundays buying CDs.” There’s nothing I like more than music.
Yes. To give you an idea, when I was small, while the other kids were listening to Parchís, I was taking in the concerts of Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel. I was only three! This was due to my father. He played everything for me. In fact, my dream is to do a radio program related to music. I would love that!
What is your cathartic song?
“Local Hero” by Dire Straits [she means Mark Knopfler, as reader Nora informs us], I always put it on in the car. At top volume.
Do you play any instruments?
Yes, the guitar, since I was eight. I have an acoustic one at home, although in the last three years I haven’t played very much, because when you’re not relaxed, you can’t be creative… but the other day I saw it there, inside the closet, and I thought, “it’s time to take that out!” (Laughs).
How are you treated by users of social networks?
At times it makes me a bit crazy that people who insult others through social networks make more noise than those who use them to be constructive, and especially because they’re usually a minority. I prefer people who support and encourage, who make me feel loved through Facebook and Twitter.
What is your opinion on your lapsus about Iniesta’s goal?
I’m human, so I’ve had and I will continue to make mistakes professionally. With regards to this particular one, we had just finished eight hours of live filming, we had just done 15 interviews. When you’re on the sideline, you move, you get up. It’s easy to miss a play. But you can’t forget it’s just a football game. There are some who have made comparisons that I believe are a bit unfortunate, such as saying it’s the same as making a political mistake. The first one to get upset with making a mistake is me. It’s true, it was a mistake. An absurd lapsus that I realized as I followed the interview, but when you’re live, you can only keep moving forward. I think it’s fine for someone to comment that you’ve made a mistake, but not overdo it.
Do you believed you’re judged more harshly than other journalists?
Yes. Sometimes I get the feeling that with me, nothing is forgotten. I’m not saying this as a victim, I say it from the heart. I don’t have Facebook or Twitter, but if I had them, I would never criticize a colleague like that.
What things help you to handle this pressure and lead a normal life?
The best comfort is my loved ones. My family lives in Toledo, and from the time that I moved to Madrid nine years ago, I’ve spoken with my mother by telephone each day. Everything is better when I talk to her. And I also have a lot of support from my colleagues, they’re wonderful people and they help me to play down what happens around me and to laugh at it. Another fundamental thing is knowing your origins. I still have the same friends I’ve always had and I would like to have a free day to spend with them. Several weekends ago, we made gachas and migas, which is a very traditional meal in Castilla-La Mancha. It was raining very hard, but I was happy there, speaking about mus and not about football.
Has Iker helped you to handle the persecution from the media?
When I met Iker, he had already been famous for 11 years, for good and for bad. I knew what it was like to be exposed to criticism. And yes, he has helped me to handle everything and to laugh at myself. When I arrive exhausted at home, he always listens to me. And in the end, he always says, “Sara, get over it. Live your life. You have to be happy, to relax, it’s alright.” And he’s telling me that from experience, from everything he’s been through. He has already gone through that, he’s come, he’s gone, he’s looked himself up on Google, he’s stopped looking. He knows all this. And that reminds you what’s important in life. Yes, Iker has helped to calm me down. He’s given me advice. And it has helped me.
Everyone loves him.
I’m with him because he’s good and noble. All the values that people see are real. And if from the outside he appears to be a good person, up close he is an even better one. For me, it’s important to have a good person next to me, because this energy always affects you positively. I feel the affection that people have for him and vice versa. Being together multiplies that.
What other things enrich your daily life?
A loyal companion is my dog. His name is Doce, he’s a very intelligent golden retriever. He’s the most well-known dog in Spain! (Laughs) Animals give you an incredible peace, and they don’t hold grudges. He’s always by my side when I’m at home alone.
Do you spend a lot of time alone?
Yes. Both of us travel frequently, but I’m one of those who enjoy my time alone. Sometimes I don’t do anything special, I just get to know myself better. I believe solitude is good for everyone, whether you’re in a relationship or not.
What do you think about the most recent Príncipe de Asturias award for sports?
It’s a deserved award. It’s the first time in history that someone has won two of those awards. Iker and Xavi won it two years ago with the national team. I’m happy for this recognition. I believe that, at times, we’re not conscious of what our national team is doing. They have helped to unite a country and make us forget about the bad times. And it’s even better if we remember that Xavi and Iker have shared many things. I think it’s wonderful that two people who have known each other since they were 15, who play on two teams with the biggest rivalry, who were both winners in Nigeria, won again in South Africa and received this award. It was a bit questioned, since some believed it would have been more logical to give it to the 23 players. But it’s an award that was given from the heart rather from the head.
How was that kiss?
I received it just like you saw. I didn’t expect it at all! I was working hard and concentrating on the interview, and it was very spontaneous. In that moment, you forget about everything else, even the cameras. And we didn’t expect it to get so much attention. We realized it on the way back, on the plane, because everyone was talking about it. The reason for the kiss was a bit conditioned by what happened in Africa, for the criticism from the international press that Spain lost the first game against Switzerland because of me. It was too much for me. It was my first World Cup and I was only concentrating on my job. It’s hard to see yourself on the cover of The Times with the words “the one to blame.” Because I had made the goalkeeper lose his concentration. People at times forget that we’re people. We have families, we have friends and we have respect for ourselves. In addition, we suffered a lot in this World Cup in sporting terms. So many sentiments were mixed together and suddenly, this tremendous final comes and you look at yourself and in a tenth of a second you remember everything that has happened and that you felt. Iker’s kiss came from his soul because he’s like that. And I thought it was a wonderful thing. There won’t be any other moment like that. It made me laugh, it made me emotional, because many people stop me on the street and tell me, “I was at home, and when I saw you two, I grabbed my wife and I also gave her a kiss.” In the end you think that this is what is needed, that good things should happen to us, almost as if it were a chain of events. So I’m happy that this kiss inspired others to kiss as well.
Beauty, friendship, success, love… tell me what you aspire to do, what you dream about, since it appears you have everything.
My biggest aspiration is to continue working in journalism for a long time, and not only in sports, but to have the opportunity to present another type of news. There are things that I worry about, such as cancer, because I know many people and friends affected by it. So an aspiration would be to have my loved ones stay healthy for many years. For me, having dreams seems to be a bit egotistical. Each morning, I’m grateful to get up, to have my routine, to write my news, to be with my colleagues and to feel good about what I have.
When you weigh the good and bad things about your life, what are the good things that prevail?
I could tell you about heavenly beaches, beautiful places where I’ve had unique experiences. But what comes to mind are those moments that I spent with my grandfather as a child in my family’s vineyard. I would get up on a tractor and I remember getting up at dawn to stomp on grapes in a barrel. The scent that the land had. I still love going to vineyards in September and rainy days and the grape harvest in the village. People here in Madrid tell me that they have no village. And I think about how fortunate I am to have come from one so that I always have some place to go back to.