the Sergio book – the XI of my life (IV)
And now we wrap things up with the last two sections in Sergio’s life XI – music and his beloved Andalucía!
Music, my secret refuge.
In my house, music was something ordinary, habitual from the time I was born. I grew up listening to flamenco. In the car, when my parents or brother drove me to Sevilla for the training sessions, we always listened to flamenco. Everyone has their preferences, and I remember listening to Camarón, Juan Luis Guerra, Triana… my sister liked Camela a lot.
Back then, we had cassette tapes and Walkmans, and we used pens to rewind the tapes so that we wouldn’t have to waste the batteries. From the time I was small, I always fell asleep listening to the radio. My brother René would come and I had to turn it off to save batteries. I listened to a bit of everything: Potito, José Mercé, Camarón, Niña Pastori…
I didn’t really play any instruments, and I can only dance a bit. I was better at singing. I spent the whole day singing. When I was small, I played the cajón and now I’m learning to play the guitar, but on my own, by sound. I read notes, I listen to the maestros…
I no longer fall asleep to music because the lyrics make me think and remind me of personal moments, and if that happens, I don’t sleep. Now, if I need to, I put on nature sounds, waves, birds, or piano music by Yiruma or Sakamoto. It relaxes me and I fall asleep.
In the locker room, I’m the official DJ, both for Real Madrid and for the national team. From my first year, I took charge, bit by bit. I asked around, I made CDs. Flamenco is always there, almost always before games, but there’s a great variety, from Camarón to Michael Jackson. I could spend all day listening to music, from Aventura to Alejandro Sanz [my dream would be a duet between Sergio and Alejandro!!!!!] to Marc Anthony.
I’ve sung choruses for Niña Pastori and I also recorded a song with Canelita, “A quién le voy a contar mis penas.” Luis said I was the biggest pain in the world. Capello didn’t let us put music on in the locker room. Del Bosque also says I like to stir things up, but for me it’s a lifestyle, a way of life. I’m young and young people live for music. I choose what I listen to depending on my mood. If I’m sad, I put on sad songs, and if I’m happy, happy songs. I’m told it should be the other way around, but I don’t care, I’m stubborn like that.
Andaluz fusion, countryside, bulls, horses.
I’ve liked the countryside since I was small and I’ve spent a lot of time there. On Sundays, my family and I would go out of Sevilla with my cousins to go eat, and we spent all day outdoors. I’ve always liked horses. I liked dogs, but since we lived in an apartment, my parents didn’t let me have one. Whenever we passed by a horse on the highway, I only thought about getting on. My father had to stop the car because he knew that if he didn’t, I would complain the rest of the way. It was better to stop and waste two minutes than for me to spend the whole day crying.
Now I have a ranch, which is where I go to disconnect. Just one or two days is enough to help me recover from the tensions of football. I’ve made up for not having any dogs, and I have more than 20. There are mastiffs for hunting and a rottweiler named Indio. When I had long hair, I looked like an Indian and so I was called that. I also have hens, roosters, a deer and a goat that grew up together…
I go with my friends, my family, many times with my brother-in-law Carlos. I love riding horses, but since I’m not allowed to do that, I give them food, I take care of them, I walk them around, I go look at the colts, the calves. I have a horse cart and I take rides around the ranch.
I’ve also liked bullfighting since I was a kid, which I inherited from both my grandfathers and my father. We’re from Camas, a bullfighting town. I’ve gone to the Feria since I was small. One day, at La Maestranza [the bullfighting arena in Sevilla] I was with my parents and I needed to go to the bathroom. It was in the middle of a bullfight, and there there is a tremendous respect for the fight and no one moves. And the bullfighter was none other than Curro Romero. There was a moment where everyone around me noticed me. “The kid is peeing right here, señora!” they told my mother.
When I was 10 or 11, I said I was going to be a bullfighter or footballer. I knew that football would take me away from bullfighting. I told my mother that many times and she responded that it would be better for me to play football because then my life wouldn’t be at stake and she would suffer less.
Although I’m not a bullfighter, I’ve never lost my passion for the art. What I most admire about this profession is that you don’t know if you’re going to return home at night. I’ve met many people from this world because of football. Football, bullfighting and music go hand in hand. I am now good friends with [Alejandro] Talavante, [José María] Manzanares, Morante, El Juli, [Sebastián] Castella…
Talavante is like a brother to me. He likes football, and he supports Real Madrid. He was at the first Eurocopa. During the time of Capello, there was one time where he was fighting six bulls in a row at Las Ventas. I was sanctioned and I couldn’t play. I went to the stadium because the rules say that you have to be in the locker room even if you’re not playing. With 15 minutes left, and seeing that my team was winning, I went to Las Ventas. People took photos of me there and I was accused of being unprofessional, of leaving my team to go to a bullfight.
I made a mistake and I admit it. I publicly asked my teammates and fans for forgiveness, but I wanted to be with a friend on an important day for him. I wasn’t fined, but that day I learned an important lesson, which is that I should have remained with my team. You learn from your mistakes. At least I learn.
We footballers are prohibited from placing ourselves in front of a bull, even if it’s a heifer, but years ago, when I was starting out with Sevilla, we had a bullfight with young bulls and I fought a heifer. If it weren’t prohibited, I would fight more. I like it and when I retire I would like to bullfight in a festival.