The pursuit of happiness gets more complicated every time. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the hardest season of my professional career. The way everything started, you could tell that things would need time, that it wasn’t going to be a smooth sailing, but I never, in my worse dreams, imagined something like this. I struggle to sleep, I struggle to be happy and enjoy my job. Only the support of my family keeps me going.
On the other hand, I am one that thinks that the higher the hurdle is the higher you have to jump. And I know that only by putting more effort and being real men, we will manage to forge ahead. And I say real men because the game doesn’t lie. You have to stand up when things are wrong and try again and again. What we cannot do is stop trying, and I say that for everybody. I am the first one that have to show that I deserve to play in this category like I have done in the past, because right now I feel like I don’t give to the team what I am capable of and what I should give.
I didn’t want to write about the team this week, given everything that is going on, but what else can I write about? I don’t have anything else in my head and I want to apologise again to our fans, especially to those who came to Reading. I didn’t go to salute them at the end of the game and that is not nonsense to me. When the referee blew the final whistle, I stayed on the bench disheartened and demoralised. The world disappeared for me and I didn’t behave the way I should have had with the fans. I am truly sorry.
Despite our state of mind and how demoralised we feel, football goes on. In Spain it was the week of the Clasico and it looked like the world was going to end, like if the country would get out of the crisis depending on the match’s result. The truth is that it is a great game to watch, a clash between two great teams with different but beautiful footballing styles. On the trip to Reading, Edu Oriol and I, suggested a sweep stake for the game for £5 each. Peter Clarke and Jef Rentmeister won it. The idea was to enjoy watching the game together in the bus on the way home, after winning our game. Needless to say we weren’t in the mood to enjoy anything…
Barça lost the game but jumping up to conclusions after one game is too risky, especially when the opposition is a first class team. Was Madrid better? Ok, I read that Luis Enrique admitted that they were which is a good way of preparing the team for whatever has to come. By the way, if Casillas hadn’t miraculously stopped that shot from Messi and Barca had gone 2-0 up, the game would have been a different story!
I was surprised to see Suárez starting in the first eleven. That shows his dimension as football player. Normally, any other player would have had to get into the team slowly, building up confidence and adapting to the team, but if Luis Enrique decided to make him start is because he knows that he has a jewel in his hands. I think he can give Barca just what they have been missing lately: energy, ambition and desire, things that we haven’t seen since Guardiola left.
Suarez and Balotelli are flip sides the same coin, one at Barca the other at Liverpool. They are not very happy at Anfield with Suarez substitute and I read in ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport‘ that lots of Liverpool fans went to the club shop to return the Balotelli shirts they had purchased recently. I think that everything around Mario is magnified but he doesn’t do anything to change his image. And the fans in England forgive almost everything as long as you work flat out and fight for the crest you represent.
I am not saying Balotelli doesn’t try because on his own way he seems more involved than in other teams like for example my beloved Milan. But that is not enough. If you arrive to a club to replace the Golden Boot, the least you can do is to give your body and soul on the pitch and to thank your coach with your effort, and people don’t see that in Balotelli. And the fans are the ones who can better distinguish these things. I hope the situation changes because Brendan Rodgers deserves better.
I believe that Liverpool are also suffering the consequences of playing the Champions League, but they have the best coach in the Premier and I am convinced that things will get better. Will Mario get better? I wouldn’t bet on it.
I would bet on us. Yes. With my eyes closed and a heavy heart but I must do it. As you can imagine it hasn’t been a positive week. On Tuesday I got back into the team against Derby County and it was a tiring game. We ran after the ball for most of the game and we ended up losing by a late penalty after having tried hard all game. They were my first minutes after a few weeks and I felt the pain in the following days. Defeats damage you physically and mentally and it is very stressful for me. You try to be positive for the next game and before playing in Reading we were convinced it was going to be a step forward. And damm it, it couldn’t be.
At home, the little one Emma has had tooth ache and we haven’t been sleeping too well. The truth is that Laura is the one who wakes up in the middle of the night but when your baby cries all night you can’t sleep whether you have to get out of bed or not. If you add that I really struggle to sleep thinking about our games, the result is big dark circles under your eyes just like Beetlejuice!
From the bad times though, one can only recover with work and more work and this is what I am going to do this week. I will prepare myself for the next battle. I won’t think about anything else. We have to overcome this situation by all means possible. And working hard is one of those….
You can feel the tension in the changing room and I really hope that things start to get better because we are a very united team and I wouldn’t like to see that union to break. We have talked and talked, we have tried to get out of this situation and we must keep together and have faith in each other. If that fails then it will be impossible to change this negative dynamic. This week, Joan Oriol and José Cubero should get back into the team. When we have had a full team we have been competitive, so I hope this situation gets better and I can soon write about how we celebrate our victories.
Big hugs for all.
Translated by Alfons Vinent.