It’s the first time since I play in UK that I was waiting anxiously for the arrival of the international break. Most of other times I was in a positive dynamic and that progression and good results were cut. Now, there’s no need to remind our results… This break is perfect for charging batteries, reflect and take action where necessary.
These days give you the chance to see people who you have a special affection for. It has been complicated because Mr Hypiia is not so generous with free days, but Iñigo Calderón has managed to come to visit me from Brighton. We played together for a long time at Alavés B and we fulfilled the dream of doing it again in Brighton more than ten years later. “Calde” has a son who is the same age as Norah, Aimar, and a fantastic wife, Natalia. Aimar and Norah grew up together two years. They miss each other so much and it was amazing to watch them play as if they had been the day before. This is the best of soccer, getting to known people like these. Calde is also Emma‘s godfather, my little daughter. Good choice, no doubt. He’s a brother to me.
We celebrated my 30th birthday with a family party (although it was on August the 3th) and we had the opportunity to catch up with each other, talk about the Brighton without Òscar García and his return to England to train at Watford, our problems in Blackpool… A little bit of everything. Speaking of Òscar, I’m sure that things will go fine at Watford. But they’re visiting us at Bloomfield Road in two weeks and that day there will be many smiles and such… but we need to pass them over. After the match I will ask him for an Elton John autograph, who I understand is a big fan of his team.
Yesterday, Luciano Becchio and Horacio Rossi, his agent who is also mine, came to visit, too. “Luchi” and I played together for six months at Barcelona B, and we are very good friends since then. He has just signed with Rotherham and we are going to be closer. I wish his things to go well because he’s a very talented striker and had no luck at Norwich. He has a serious problem: he always wears horrid caps. He’s convinced that they look nice, but they are an absolute atrocity. I don’t know if it is the oval shape of his big head, but no way… Whenever we meet he wears a different one.
I spoke about free days. They gave us four, ¡but also homework! A day of workout at the gym and another day of race. And what could we do the rest of days? Norah, of course, always has the answer: “Daddy, I want to see animals.” So animals it will be. We took the car last Friday and we went to Knowsley Safari Park. It is a spectacular place, where animals live in optimal conditions, in a settlement that perfectly recreates the environment of the African savannah. The other day was hot, more than 20 degrees, but I don’t know how they do with the British winter… Have the lions got coats? The thing is you do the visit by car and have the opportunity to be close to lions, zebras, antelopes, ostriches, elephants, giraffes… Everything beautiful and idyllic… until you enter into the baboons area. You see them, crouched there, rubbing their hands and thinking ‘that white car is mine’. The signs say: Be careful, the apes can damage the car. But I play at Blackpool! I am a brave man! Come on in! Well, in two seconds we had one hanging from the car making its pedicure on the rear window. And their colleagues were attending the party gradually. Blows, attempted robbery of wipers, obscene gestures… these baboons were criminals! We got to come out unharmed, with Norah screaming angry inside the car. Ah, the car… Apart from the fact they used it as their restroom, they broke the wipers. But we spent a funny day at the Safari Park, I recommend it. Those days when you are lying lazy at the coach, bored, and don’t know what to do… ‘Yeah, why not, I’d like a grumpy Baboon breaks my car’. It’s great! You can also do it with a friend’s car. Especially if you want him to stop being it, of course!
As regards Backpool, there’s certain confusion around the club. Over the years I have learned something in football: you better stay calm when everything is messy. And that’s what we players do, to be united, to fight and to be able to look in the face of our fans for giving them everything.
Now we have a week to prepare Saturday’s game. Wolverhampton is coming, they’re the third and have won three in a row. They beat Fulham away and they will certainly be a tough nut to crack. But, friends, there are warriors here. If they think we are giving up, they will find out a big surprise.