I AM NOT BOLDING ANYTHING BECAUSE IT'S XABI, YOU KNOW YOU'RE GONNA READ THE WHOLE THING. TWICE. DON'T EVEN DENY IT GIRL.
Xabi Alonso: Life and Times of a Gentleman
Elegant, discreet, educated … Xabi Alonso embodies to a tee the image of the perfect gentleman who, in addition to playing football, is well-informed, takes care with his appearance and is a man of his times. His emergence in the world of lifestyle owes to [his stint as the new face of] Gillette [Moisturizer].
When a non-sports journalist is presented with the opportunity to interview a successful footballer – a midfielder, moreover, who plays in one of the greatest teams in the Spanish league – there will always be a battery of doubts regarding what it is we hope to achieve [with this interview]. Can we ask him about anything? How much time will we have? As a representative of Real Madrid, how much distance can he maintain from the club? Will he tell us anything interesting? Will he speak about anything besides penalties?
Keeping in mind these limitations, yesterday the thirtieth of September we attended a press conference in which the cosmetics brand Gillete presented Xabi Alonso (b. 25 November 1981 in Tolosa, Guipúzcoa) as the face of their new shaving cream. Xabi is a man who takes great care with his appearance – something you notice immediately at first glance; he takes care not just with his physical well-being, but his intellectual well-being. He knows what he wants and how he wants to say it. He has surpassed the expectations of even the the press specialist, elegantly dispensing information while avoiding controversy on such subjects as: Mourinho (“he’s a stupendous guy; he has a very elaborate way of working and he’s very clear about what he needs to do at any given moment”); the atmosphere in the changing room (“we get along great”); current events such as the recent case of doping involving a Spanish cyclist (“for me, Alberto Contador will always be a champion”).
Now that we are in private at close quarters, alone in front of the tape recorder, we see the family man (“right now I’m focused on my sport and on my children, who are two-and-a-half years and six months old, and between that and football I haven’t got time for anything else”); the sophisticate with his perfect English pronunciation (lololololololol) (“living in Liverpool from the age of 22 helped me mature as I had to figure everything out for myself”); the man of the world who regrets not having more time to visit countries both near (“I would love to make a getaway to Rome or Paris or London, one of my preferred cities”) and far (“Bangkok impressed me - one of my preferred hotels, the Park Hyatt, is there; and there’s also the Seychelles Islands for a relaxing time”) as well as new frontiers, such as Australia and New Zealand. Even though he admits that for him the perfect plan would be to go out to breakfast with his wife at a café, “juice, coffee with milk, a croissant and two hours to read the news; a perfect plan.” He likes to stay up to date with and connected to the world he lives in, which is why he picks up new releases (“right now I’m reading two [novels], Daniel Estulin’s Octopus Conspiracy and Antonio Salas’ The Palestinian”), regularly goes to the movies (“I didn’t much like the George Clooney film, The American, but I quite liked the Woody Allen film because, in addition to everything else, it was shot in London”). If in his younger days he was a Nirvana fan, these days the music he listens to is [Andrés] Calamaro (“I was at his latest concert fifteen days ago”), [Joaquín] Sabina, Quinque González or Coldplay, and when we ask him if he is a user of technology he declares his passion for Apple products (“aside from my phone, which is a Blackberry, I’ve got everything, the desktop the Macbook and now the iPad”). He logs on to the internet every day, finds the National Geographic webpage very entertaining (he would), and
He misses his homeland, where he one day [expects to] return (“I like it there very much, I am a city dweller through and through, and if the city has a sea then I can’t even …. San Sebastián is a perfect city in that sense; and if I ever get lost look for me in the old neighborhoods of that city, in the pinchos bars”). And like every good native of Donostia, he is a lover of good food who occasionally ventures into the kitchen, although he prefers the food served up by various Madrileño restaurants (“La Mandcua de Azagra, Julián de Tolosa or Kabuki for Japanese food … there are an incredible amount of options on offer at Madrid”) as well as Basque restaurants (“Elkano, in [the town of] Getaria, never fails”). He recognizes that, as long as he does not face any weight problems, and retains the caution which accompanies an elite athlete’s occupation, he is allowed to eat pretty much everything. When asked about his grooming routine, he says, “My daily routine begins with basic hygiene, with soap, shampoo and deodorant; to which I add a cream for my hair, a moisturizing cream like Gillette - which I love - and a fragrance.” As for fashion? This too is one of his interests (“my most recent purchase was a coat for the winter”) even though he is not a follower of the latest [fashion] trends. As far as accessories go he declares himself “mad about watches,” which are his passion.
His immediate future continues to lie with football and with his current club, Real Madrid, but it is not yet clear what he will do once he hangs up his boots: “I am debating between continuing to work in this sport and leaving it all behind to dedicate myself to something else entirely.” And as he is saying this a mischievous smile plays across his face. Does Xabi Alonso – a man who is to all appearances extremely sensible - ever permit himself a crazy exploit or two? “One or two.” Anything he’s willing to confess to? “No.” It’s hard to believe [that this man has ever committed any locuras in his life], but why would a gentleman lie to us?
¿¿¿Has hecho alguna locura por amor???
No sir I have not.