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Xabi Alonso at El Mundo

August 16, 2013
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Here’s the second post, an interview with Xabi Alonso on the back page of today’s El Mundo!  I chose to translate it because well, it’s Xabi Alonso.

Do you all speak to Ancelotti or his eyebrow?

We speak in Spanish directly with him.  The first thing he said when he saw me was, “you owe me a European Cup.”  I responded, “no Carlo, you’re not wrong, you’re not wrong” (laughs).

Has the legend of Madrid’s locker room gone from fiction to science fiction?

You find people speaking completely naturally about what happened inside, leading to myths and legends.  At times it makes you laugh.

What do you play as at home?

We (referring to his wife) are two midfielders who complement each other very well.

You have two kids and are expecting your third, when will your marksmanship be this effective on the field?

Those are natural things that you don’t learn.  You’ll also have to compare how many shots were taken. 

Are you more like Omar, Bunk or McNulty?

Lester Freamon.  I liked him because he was in the shadows organizing everything, he was very patient.  McNulty is more visceral, unpredictable.  And Freamon is methodical.

Who would you choose out of the characters of Madrid?

I’m telling you, you could also make a good series about us.

Who did Mou respect more in the locker room?

Those who were generous with their efforts.  This is a chain of command and I respect hierarchies very much.  My father was a coach, I grew up respecting that figure.  Being in charge of 25 players is extremely difficult.

Are you already throwing in the towel?

I’m not saying yes or no.  I have experience, but there is one part that I don’t know if I have, which is knowing how to get through to the players.

Who do you respect outside of Madrid?

I started in La Real with Aranzábal, Idiakez, Rekarte and De Pedro, I fixated on them.  In Liverpool, Hyypiä was a model professional, honorable, an upright guy.  Hamann was a German who knew everyone and a bit of a troublemaker.  Carragher was the typical Liverpudlian guy, extremely tough.  And Gerrard, who was a symbol there.  I knew all four of them very well.

And in Madrid?

I didn’t play with them, but Hierro showed me what a captain should be like.  Redondo as well, from what I heard and saw back then.  Men who have won the Champions League multiple times, who got to the quarterfinals and began competing with everything they had.

In what moment of the 3-0 against Milan did you believe you could win?  

When it became 3-2, seeing their faces.  You wouldn’t believe it.  You notice their disorder, you see them doubting themselves, how they exchange looks.  I thought, “Joder, we’re doing it.”  That was a fantastic, brutal team: Dida, Cafú, Nesta, Stam, Maldini, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Kaká, Shevchenko, Crespo.  We were the huge surprise of the Champions League.  Winning like that was a miracle.

You gave it all there, leaving you nothing for the game against Dortmund.

When we scored the second goal against Dortmund, and there were only five minutes left, the faces of the Germans… their life was on the line.

When you show up on a list of the sexiest men, does your wife ever say anything like, “weren’t you going to dedicate yourself to football”?

Sometimes, I tell you.  I find it funny.  I suppose the brands want, I wouldn’t say coolness, but naturalness.

How many times in big games have you spoken about the weather?

I play Comunio, which is a virtual league, and one day, I had to defend Nacho, the one from Betis, and I told him, “hey Nacho, thanks.  You’re giving me a lot of points on Comunio.”  He was gobsmacked.

Which Barça player would you choose to shoot looks at in the tunnel?

There are some, ¿eh?  You watch how this one comes, the appearance of another.  For their positions on the field, I need to be aware of Xavi and Messi.  One time, I screwed up, I joked with Busi, “Busi, don’t kick us too much.”  That was the 5-0.  I could have been quiet.

Is there anything bad about being a redhead?

Nothing more than when I was a kid, they called me Guille after the character in Farmacia de Guardia.

When you manage to put your children to bed, do you also stand up on the bed and take a photo of yourself?

You don’t know the courage it takes.  It’s like winning Waterloo.

You speak to them in euskera.

They understand it and when they speak it, they still lack fluency, but they will naturally learn how to speak in euskera.

Is your father a madridista yet?

Now that his son plays for Madrid, he supports Madrid, but that’s different from being a madridista.

But you are one.

I’m very madridista.  I arrived as a professional and here you become madridista no matter what because it’s inevitable.  I’ve played for three special teams, all with their own mystique: Real Sociedad, Liverpool and Madrid.  I will always be of those teams.

If you hadn’t become a footballer, which beaches would you have ended up on?  

Well, when I was playing on the beach as a kid, someone saw me and wanted me to cast me for Julio Medem’s film Vacas.  They went to speak with my mother and she told them no, that at this age I was only going to be studying.  I didn’t care.  I’m all for the Basque matriarchy.  Whatever la ama says, that’s it.

I hope you don’t notice that I’m out of practice in translating from Spanish to English…  and I will get around to that Q&A!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Pammie permalink
    August 16, 2013 17:24

    thanks for the translation ^^

  2. August 16, 2013 17:51

    Thank you so much for this interview!
    And I had a thought just this morning while reading that interview in Spanish:”How am I gonna understand everything here without Una Madridista?” Thank you!!! 😀

    And I knew you would be back some time around since I saw that Illara’s photo =)

  3. Real Oro permalink
    August 16, 2013 18:21


  4. Alyssa permalink
    August 16, 2013 19:13

    Haha out of practice or not, I’m very grateful 🙂

    “But you are one.”
    “I’m very madridista.”

    Now I’m crying.

  5. rojafan permalink
    August 16, 2013 19:32

    I waited longer than usual to check my email today. Then for some reason I thought maybe you would have a post, just to catch us up on all that has happened over the summer. I was so happy to see that you did and what a treat! Xabi ! He sounds unusually playful in this interview. I can’t wait for the season to start, but I also hope all those who departed do well at their new clubs. (Mostly Napoli!) I also can’t wait for the first match against Real Sociedad! (Pirata!) I’m getting so tired of the transfer rumours, though. If this is a tense time for me, imagine how the players feel!

  6. yvette permalink
    August 16, 2013 23:05

    What I got out of this is, Xabi and Nagore are expecting?? 🙂

    • unamadridista permalink*
      August 23, 2013 16:15

      Yes, she announced the news back in May.

  7. kiki permalink
    August 17, 2013 04:45

    UNA! YAY! Great to see you back! *lovelovelove* You have answered my secret wish to get this interview translated…and our Perfect Man did not disappoint! I just can’t find words to express how Xabi is just so unfperfect..Lester Freemon!!! How many shots he took!!! “I’m all for Basque matriarchy”!!! Why can’t we all have one like him? ps. Hope you are doing great, our dear & legendary Una! 🙂

  8. ane permalink
    August 17, 2013 06:59

    Classy as always, but a bit boring and I’m really tired of seeing him and Arbeloa supporting Mourinho so much when he left so many wounds behind.

  9. August 17, 2013 15:37

    Xabi alonso is undoubtedly the best in world football! His passing accuracy and quickness is just outstanding!

  10. camille permalink
    August 18, 2013 09:19

    You did a great job translating this AMAZING INTERVIEW. Thank you, this is a true gift.

  11. August 19, 2013 16:24

    Does this mean you’re back, Una? I sure hope it does! 🙂

    I find Xabi’s reply to the fourth question hilarious, by the way. And I didn’t know Nagore is pregnant again! Another perfect child to ogle at, for sure.

  12. August 19, 2013 19:48

    Thanks UnaMadridista for translation and posting this! I miss you;-)

    Xabi dreamy as always…;-)))

  13. Jessie permalink
    August 20, 2013 20:26

    love, xabi, thanks for the interview and welcome back una!

  14. August 20, 2013 20:46

    I miss you Una! I hope you had a great summer. Did u do anything fun?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      August 23, 2013 16:05

      It’s been great so far! I got to travel a bit, which is what I love.

  15. August 21, 2013 04:47

    Thanks for this post. Where can I find the original interview in Spanish? Not that your translation has mistakes, but I speak Spanish and I’d like to read it to notice the slight differences between the European Spanish Xabi speaks and the Latin American Spanish I speak. I’ve looked for it on Google and can’t find it.

  16. cpquin permalink
    August 21, 2013 20:32

    hoping xabi recovers quickly from his recent foot injury!

  17. Madridista permalink
    August 22, 2013 17:55

    thank you for the translation una! i’ve missed your posts!

  18. Cosi permalink
    August 26, 2013 15:58

    Aww this was a fantastic translation- gracias, Una!!! Best part: “Whatever la ama says, that’s it.” ❤ Hope you're having a great summer!!

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