AS published an interview with Iker Casillas today, billed as his first since the World Cup. And of course, it was with his friend Carmen Colino (he even attended her wedding). I’m glad he’s back to talking to the press, since he kept quiet for the first month or so of the tournament. It’s a really nice interview, so read on for words from nuestro capitán. And once again, it just affirms how much I love him, and what an amazing leader the team has, and what an amazing person Spain has. The entire country, and all fans from elsewhere, should be proud of him.
And I love the recollection of his conversation with Cannavaro!
Q: A week has gone by. Has it sunk in that you’re champions of the world?
A: Of course. We’re conscious of what we achieved. People remind us of it on the street – they thank me, hug me, and after what we experienced on Monday, we know that we’re champions.
Q: It was celebrated more than the Eurocopa.
A: A lot more. What I went through on Monday was impressive. The streets weren’t the streets of Madrid, they were the streets of all of Spain.
Q: You know that people came from all over to the capital?
A: Of course. We were told about that from the first moment. It was something very special.
Q: You all were not conscious of what you achieved until you stepped onto Spanish soil.
A: In South Africa, we had a strange feeling, being so far away, not knowing how people in Spain were living the tournament. The experience upon arriving was unforgettable. All we wanted to do was exit the airplane and see how Spain was. We wanted to see the flags, live it in first person. I took photos from the bus because it was marvelous to see so many people in the streets. Now, when I pass by an empty Gran Vía, that image comes to my mind.
Q: The most surprising thing was seeing people only wear the shirt of the team, no?
A: That is the best thing. We’re above politics. We’re a national team that has brought happiness to the people. We don’t get involved in politics. We respect the ideologies of each person, but we focus on sports.
Q: Let’s talk about the final. What did del Bosque tell all of you before going out onto the field?
A: He told us to enjoy ourselves and that we had to win. On the airplane back, we said, “Imagine if we had returned as the runners-up.” But no. We would have had a great reception, but it would have been a different sensation.
Q: How did you stop Robben with that foot?
A: It was a lot of luck. I held on until the last moment and when he had already beaten me, I had the luck of stopping it with my foot. Robben came over, he gave me a hug and told me that I had played well.
Q: Did Iniesta surpass himself?
A: When he said, “if I had known, I wouldn’t have scored the goal,” he spoke the truth. He doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into. He’s shy, but such a good person.
Q: Why did you start crying when he scored?
A: I saw the ball enter and all the tension left me. We deserved to win, we had been the best. That was the moment when I realized we had achieved our goal. There were four minutes left and I saw us as champions, something I wanted from the time I was small. I had seen Matthäus, Dunga, Deschamps, Cafú, Cannavaro lift the cup, and I also wanted that memory. Not for the Cup, but to be champions of the world.
Q: The moment that Blatter gave you the Cup, what was it like?
A: It was like the presentation in the Eurocopa, but much stronger. When I lifted it to the sky, my dream came true. I think what we achieved in the last two years erased 90 years of history. Blatter congratulated me, he told us that we deserved it, and that we had been the best team in the tournament.
Q: Cannavaro was the one in charge of bringing the Cup before the final. What did he tell you?
A: When we won the Eurocopa, he told me, “I’m happy for you because it’s something great for Spanish football, but until you lift up la bambina you won’t realize what it is.” He called the World Cup la bambina and never told me why. And now that I’ve lived it, I realize what he told me was true. The game ended and he sent me a message saying, “Now do you understand?” Yes, I do understand. I have a lot of affection for the Eurocopa and it was fantastic, but this is four times better.
Q: What was it like in the locker room?
A: It was a party, happiness… Xavi, Marchena and I remembered winning our World Cup in Nigeria. And then what we wanted to do was leave, fly to Spain immediately and celebrate it with the entire world. It was our obsession. Ufff, it was the bomb!
Q: Were you concerned with what the octopus Paul was predicting?
We were, but only for kidding around. We thought it was great when he chose Spain before the final.
Q: You’re also an oracle, because in the 2006 World Cup, before the game against France, you said this generation would win a World Cup, and you were right.
A: I knew that. There was a magnificent generation of players in the youth categories. It was a matter of who would form this team, and it was first Luis and then del Bosque. This team is made up of great veteran players with many titles, and that’s important.
Q: Del Bosque says all the credit goes to the players. Which part is for him?
A: All of it. He’s the coach and he knows how to handle the players, which is not easy. There was a maximum amount of pressure on him after we won the Eurocopa after 44 years. He’s lived up to expectations, and has put his own stamp on the team.
Q: The queen was great with all of you.
A: And the princes, Rafa Nadal, Lissavetzky… Rafa loves football and I think if he could have chosen, he would have chosen football over tennis.
Q: The game against Germany was the easiest one?
A: No, it was the most serious one. It was the one in which we said, we want to win the World Cup. I won’t forget the people on the outside helping the team. It’s not easy for people who start on their teams and not here. I’m talking about Mata, Reina, Valdés, Albiol…
Q: Will Puyol retire?
A: He has his ideas. He told me that he wanted to lift up the World Cup and then say goodbye. But now we’re all tired and he’s very much needed on the team. He can keep playing until 2012.
Q: Do you want to play against Mexico on Aug. 11?
A: Of course. I would go anywhere with the national team. The calendar has already been decided and if I have to go, I’ll go. Happily.
Q: Now all women long for a kiss like the one you gave Sara…
A: That’s something that I won’t talk about anymore. It was spontaneous. We’re two people that had the luck of living through a World Cup, she in her work and me in mine, and that’s it. If people like it, great, if not, I don’t care. I don’t get involved in the lives of others.
Q: Did you think about those players who didn’t make it to the World Cup?
A: Continuously. I exchanged messages with Negredo, Cazorla… It’s a shame because they also participated in this and they had to stay at home. They are also part of this victory.
Q: Enjoy your vacation.
A: Thank you. I will rest and recharge. The upcoming season will be tough.
Originally from AS but translation via the lovely Con La Roja
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