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Iker Casillas: “I’m so pleased to have made millions of people happy with these historic achievements”

In a FIFA interview Iker Casillas reminisces the achievement in South Africa and future objectives and ambitions. 

Iker, the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2010 will be awarded shortly. Who’s your favourite to win it?
I think it’s only fair that it should go to a Spanish player. They’ve been in vogue for the last two years now. World Cup performances always go a long way to deciding it and if a Spanish player doesn’t get it this year, then I just don’t know.

Your name was on the short list but no goalkeeper has ever won the award. Why do you think that is?
An outfield player is always more likely to win awards than a goalkeeper, and I understand that in football it’s moves, passes, goals and interplay that counts. I don’t know, maybe we’re the black sheep of football (laughs). We’re the odd ones out.

In winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, Spain conceded fewer goals than anyone. You’d be a deserving winner. 
Well, we all played our part, the men at the back too. It’s very important you stay solid and stop the opposition creating chances.

Spain’s midfielders and forwards have received a lot of praise but the defenders have just as much quality. 
They’ve got a lot of talent and they’re also a mix of younger and older players who combine really well. I think the important thing is that they all help each other. 

In attack, David Villa came up just short in his bid to win the adidas Golden Shoe in South Africa…
Yes, and mainly because he missed that penalty in the match against Honduras. He’s a great player, though. He scored five goals in all, some very important goals too, and made a big contribution for Spain. El Guaje (The Kid) did a great job for La Roja and we have a lot to thank him for. 

(Source: fifa.com)

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Filed under Iker Casillas Real Madrid Spain NT interview

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Mata: “There are days when I miss him [David Villa] here”

Interesting interview with Juan Mata, he also talks about the World Cup, after the break!

Valencia have lost David Silva and David Villa this year. We saw Villa get two against Real Madrid in the Clásico last week. He was also top scorer at the World Cup. And he’s a fellow Asturian. Do you miss him? 

Yes. Not just in footballing terms but also in human ones. He is a very good friend and there are days when I miss him here.

Why isn’t anyone talking about him as a candidate for the Balon d’Or? 

Being realistic, if he hadn’t had such a good World Cup we wouldn’t have won the tournament. There were a lot of games in which his goals were the difference, they unblocked tight games – against Honduras, Portugal and Paraguay. That Paraguay game was huge. If it wasn’t for him, we might have drawn and then lost on penalties, or got caught and lost the game outright. And when he scored, when his shot went in off both posts, that was the moment that I thought maybe things were going to go our way – maybe we were going to win the World Cup after all. I think he was hugely important. For me, he should be a candidate. But I imagine the voters will look at his club season too. And Barcelona won the league.

Villa’s a mate. But who’s the nicest guy in football? 

Joaquín Sánchez … Joan Capdevila … and MC Pepe Reina!

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Filed under Juan Mata Spain NT Valencia FC interview David Villa

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Xavi: “It’s a Ballon d’Or for Barça”

"This is a triumph for Barcelona and the Barça philosophy. I don’t care if they give it to Andres, Leo or me, honestly. I’m very happy, but it’s a success of the whole team. It’s a Ballon d’Or for Barça.”

"In a way, we three embody the idea of football that Cruyff and Rexach wanted and everyone who has followed this path of football."

It’s a success but at the same time, in my opinion, such awards have a point of unfairness. There are many others who deserve it. Doesn’t Casillas deserve it? Or Forlan, Busquets, Pique and Puyol? And Sneijder, who has won the treble with Inter? I feel bad. But at the same time, it does justice to the club. In our philosophy and good play.”

Filed under xavi hernández FC Barcelona interview ballon d'or xavi

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Iniesta: “The princess will be born in late April”

From father to son

"It’s more gratifying when people tell me that I’m a role model for children than getting sports awards. When a father comes and tell you ‘thank you, because of you I know how to tell my son some things, and I have passed very comfortably.’"

As you will tell your daughter the stories of South Africa and six titles?
"(laughs a lot) Help me a little here…"

A little. “Once upon a time”…
"…A boy who always had the dream of playing in the First Division, being a good football player and a good person, and who never thought he could enjoy all he has achieved so far. A child who was very satisfied with less, but thanks to everyone and everything that surrounded him it was all possible. And this child is your father."

That could turn into a beautiful lullaby, because you can go by that idea for sleepless nights…

"It’s nice to think about parenthood. I am very excited and when the day comes I will face it very well, I’ll tell you when she is born! Everyone tells me that it’s amazing, and I have to live this experience."

 "I want to instill the values that my parents passed on to me in my child. In that sense they are the real number one, world champions.”

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Filed under Andres Iniesta FC Barcelona He will have a baby girl :') interview Spain NT

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Cesc Fabregas: “As a Culé, I want Barcelona to win”

Did you watch Barca in Athens?

Yes, at home with Carla. I watched them as usual, they are a machine with players who still have the intention of winning it all and nobody has been able to find a remedy to overcome them.

Who are you betting on?

As a culé, I want Barca to win. As a professional, El Clasico is seen as a sensational game in which the club maintains its incredible history, but Madrid are much improved compared to last season’s. I see them being more dangerous than in other years.

Why is there a difference between a Cule and professional?

Because I know everything that surrounds a classic and I want to make things clear in principle. No one should be surprised at my feelings for Barcelona because I have never hidden them. My family are Cules to the core, my grandfather Alex took me to Camp Nou when I was just one and half years old, I was raised in La Masia, in our house there was always a very special party for Barca-Real, and that’s why I say I want Barca to win. I do not want my wish to be misinterpreted but of course I want them to win and I think they will

You already participated in the prelude of the classic, in the Portugal-Spain friendly…

Yes, it was a strange game because La Roja has many Barca and Real Madrid players and the Portuguese has Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe. With everything that was said before the game in some way the classic reflected. But these are things of football without much significance.

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Sergio Ramos: “All my achievements have a special dedication to Puerta”

In an interview for Life is Soccer the international defender talks about his feelings after the world cup, challenges in life, Antonio Puerta and Jesus Navas, and what lies ahead in his career. 

Sergio, you have written history in our football by becoming the youngest player to reach 70 games with the Spanish team. What does that mean for you?

For me it’s incredible, I never imagined reaching that milestone and I expect to continue working to increase my track record. It is a tremendous pride to see everything I’ve achieved so far representing my country.

You’re a part of the best generation of footballers in the history of our country. We are speaking of a European and World Champion. There you have it.

Buff, I hear you and it makes my hair stand on the end, with time we’ll be aware of what we have achieved. It is thought and said very fast but it’s amazing what has been achieved with this group.

What is the moment that remains with you from everything that you have experienced with the selection?

I have many memories I will never forget but the moment we lifted the World Cup left me in a state of shock.

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Filed under Sergio Ramos Real Madrid Spain NT interview

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DT interview: “Víctor Valdés, Unstoppable”

He spent almost 10 years in Barcelona before becoming the first team goalkeeper. And more time to shine among the stars. Now, he is one of the greats. In this session for DT he shows a face that has nothing to do with the legend that follows him. Discover the real Victor Valdes. 

If you pay attention to the rumors, Víctor Valdés (Hospitalet of Llobregat, 1982), the Barcelona goalkeeper is a rare type, prone to getting into fights and generally quite unpleasant. That is the impression conveyed by his piercing gaze and some urban legends that circulate on his life. But none of that is true, unless Barca goalkeeper has a double who arrive on time to shoot, waving graciously to those who are waiting expectantly and sincerely, without worrying about being right or wrong. So much so that at the end of the interview there is the feeling of being with someone who we would like… even the fans of Real Madrid.  

In “Murder in the first”, one of your favorite movies, a prisoner tries to escape from Alcatraz, but fails. As the punishment, he has to stay at the prison for several more years. A similar thing happened to you with the goal of Barça? 
Not exactly. There’s is no point of comparing the story of a prisoner who can’t find freedom and a child who wants to achieve a dream, although sometimes it’s doubtful. 

But you also wanted to escape from football, when you were 18 years old, you told your family that being a goalkeeper was destroying you and you wanted to live another life. 
Yes, it’s true. At 18 I was presented with another road. But thanks to therapy that followed and the support of my family, I changed my mind. And thank goodness I took that decision… 

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Filed under Victor Valdes FC Barcelona Spain NT interview

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Xavi: “Winning against Real Madrid is like an orgasm”

On Monday, Camp Nou hosts another Classic of the century. With new players such as Villa in the Barca attack and a coach like Mourinho on the bench. With well known veterans, one of them, Xavi Hernandez, who from 2000 has emerged as one of the major references of the Classic. He reviews for EMD, the last ten Clásico’s in the Camp Nou.

LAST TEN Barça-Madrid

2000-01 | The return of Figo (2-0) > Figo’s first visit to Camp Nou. I’ve never seen a player being hit like that on a football field. It was something strong and I remember that on a personal level I had a good game.

2001-02 | Draw with my goal (1-1)> I remember that Real came with Zidane, Bechkam, Ronaldo, Figo… and were much higher, and we got a draw but we could have won. I was lucky enough to score the equalizer.

2002-03 | The day of the pigs head (0-0)> that day we deserved to win.That game became famous for a pigs head been thrown at Figo, when he was taking a corner. Then he said it was a bad game but I think that Barca was superior and deserved to win.

2003-04 | White superiority (1-2)> the first year of Rijkaard and Madrid that year was higher. Nothing to say because they were better.

2004-05 | Change Cycle (3-0)> It was the season of change of the final cycle of the former and we won 1-2 in the Bernabeu. 

2005-06 | Injured and suffering (1-1)> I didn’t play because I injured in the ligaments and I remember that I suffered a lot. I thought that we could win it, we went ahead with a penalty goal. I thought we would win 2 or 3 to zero but then Ronaldo poked a ball to Victor. The Madrid always gets things out of the hat.

2006-07 | The emergence of Messi (3-3)> Messi had a spectacular match with his hatrick. That match belonged to Messi.

2007-08 | A forgotten classic (0-1)> It was a debacle. I remember that was the last game before Christmas. We had a bad Christmas. We don’t know what happened. 

2008-09 | A smaller Madrid (2-0)> The Madrid seemed like a small team, with all closed back. I was surprised. Eto’o scored after a corner and then Messi did. I remember that it never stopped raining and was very epic.

2009-10 | Goal of Ibrahimovic (1-0)> It was said that Madrid had improved, but despite that we expelled them, we even went over to Madrid. Not only in the Camp Nou but also at the Bernabeu.

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Casillas: “We have the right combination to become a great team”

Casillas overtook Oliver Kahn as the goalkeeper with the most UEFA Champions League appearances after his 104th outing against AC Milan on Matchday 3. He was still at school when he first involved in Madrid’s squad for a game and just 18 when he debuted in the competition in a 3-3 draw at Olympiacos FC in September 1999, replacing the injured Bodo Illgner.

Ending that campaign with a clean sheet in the final win over Valencia…

I had just turned 19 and to play in such a massive final after having to step in for the No1 keeper was amazing.

Failure since 2004 to get past the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League…

It has stuck in our heads like a little trauma, but this has happened to the players – me more than anyone – who have been here a few years. I’ve experienced and suffered this situation but the new, young players have their own experiences with previous clubs, so it’s not necessarily something the squad as a whole think about. It’s more the club which has suffered this setback in the last six years.

(Source: uefa.com)

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Villa: “I would like to score against Casillas”

Is el clasico breathed in the locker room?
No, not yet. It’s a vital game, but we have to analyze it well. First we must try to qualify in Athens.

Would you like to score against Casillas in the Barca shirt?
Of course, against Casillas and every goalkeeper. Right now I’m obsessed with doing a good job with the team and try to help at all and if I can score goals, the better.

Are you concerned about the criticism that you receive every time you go on without scoring?
I am calm. What concerns me is what my coach thinks, Camp Nou or the people of Barca. The stadium has always applauded me when I leave the pitch and I know that is because I did things well.

(Source: sport.es)

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Pedro: “You haven’t seen the best Pedro yet”

The season started for you with opportunities in front of goal and a leg injury…

It’s true I’ve had many games and sometimes I have not managed to use the chances, but the truth is that now I feel fine, I’m out of an injury, I feel good and in a steady pace, and the two goals from the last two games have helped me to gain confidence.

Has it taken a weight off?
The truth is yes, there was much talk that we were not fine in front of goal, that we failed a lot and it was true. But we always did the job and we created chances. Sometimes it is just a matter of runs, but it’s nice to get confidence for the coming matches. 

On a personal level, are you playing better than last year?
I think so, I play more games and helped the team more, even though so far hasn’t been scoring as much. But you haven’t seen the best Pedro yet, every day I learn more and we are on the right track.

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Cesc: “Winning the World Cup is a memory that will last forever”

Has it been a problem refocusing after winning the ultimate prize in football? Did the Premier League feel an anti-climax after winning the big one?

No, not at all. The opposite really. Obviously I am very proud of what I have done but winning the World Cup makes you hungry for more.

The more you win the more you want. You never want to stop so it is actually a very, very good feeling.

You set up the winning goal in the World Cup final… how many times have you said, “It was my pass for the winner” since then?

(Laughs) Yes I have said that a few times… but only to my friends.

There are not many players who can say that they’ve made the winning goal in the World Cup final, they’ve won the World Cup…

It is something that I will always be proud of, a memory that will last forever. And you are right - there are not many people who can say that they are World Cup winners. There are great players who have done many, many big things in football but have never won it. It is a small, exclusive club so I have to be proud. I remember after the Manchester City game I went on to the pitch to do a TV interview and saw Marcel Desailly there and he said: “Hey, Mr World Cup winner!” And I said: “You are too.”

And he grinned and said: “Yes, but that was a long time ago.” The truth is it doesn’t matter how long ago, you are still a world champion - so in 15-20 years I will still be able to look back and say: “Wow, look what I achieved, that was amazing!”

And has there been any backlash from the Arsenal fans over the Barcelona bid for you in the summer?

No, not at all. I was honest about it all at the time and I think they understood the situation perfectly, 100 per cent. There has not been one single person either at the stadium or in the street who has said anything bad to me about it - no, no. Nothing, nothing at all and that’s been very welcome and appreciated. I am just focused on having a great season at Arsenal and winning something.

Read more at The Sun

(Source: thesun.co.uk)

Filed under Cesc Fabregas Arsenal FC interview

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Iniesta: “The goals against Chelsea and Holland won’t happen again even if I had 50 more lives”

How often do you watch the video of goals at Stamford Bridge and Johannesburg? Perhaps when you have a bad day?

Simply, if there’s a day I have a lot of time and I’m on the internet, then I watch them. I’ve seen them a million times, I’ve recalled them a countless times. They are moments in history, to remember.

Are they a dream come true?

Yes, they wont happen even if I had 50 more lives. I’ve always said when I was little my only dream was to play in the first division. Everything else was unthinkable.

What were the peoples comments after the two goals?

At Stamford Bridge everyone was more excited at me and said “you deserve it” or “it had to be you”. In the World Cup, people mostly said “thank you” for the gesture of the shirt with Dani Jarque. It wasn’t football but human and therefore more accomplishing.

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Filed under Andres Iniesta FC Barcelona interview