Informe Robinson: Campeones del Mundo I

In honor of the one year anniversary of Spain’s 2010 World Cup win, I thought I’d translate the Informe Robinson special on the World Cup champions that aired last December… Here’s part one of the seven part special…

En honor al primer aniversario de la Copa del Mundo 2010, he traducido al inglés el especial de Informe Robinson sobre los campeones del mundo del diciembre pasado… Aquí esta la primera parte del especial…

Michael Robinson: Hello and welcome to ‘Informe Robinson.’ Today, we have a very special program for you. We invite you to experience how the champions of the world lived the most beautiful chapter in Spanish football history. But their fight for the World Cup began long before their arrival in South Africa. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can take the first steps toward the path of glory…


Andrés Iniesta: People aren’t aware of the rough times I went through during that year.

Narrator: One year before the World Cup, Andrés Iniesta hit rock bottom. A lengthy hamstring injury filled him with doubt and the death of his friend, Espanyol player Dani Jarque, sank him emotionally.

Victor Valdés: On a personal level, he went through some very tough times, with the loss of a great friend like Jarque; on a psychological level, he had a very difficult year and went through a severe crisis…

N: After more than 100 days on the sidelines, Iniesta discovered that something within him had changed.

AI: I think I lost the confidence I had in my game and my other strengths as well…

N: His anxieties continued to grow as he struggled to reach the best version of himself.

AI: We had a vision of an Andrés Iniesta that could play at… well… at a very high level and the fact that I couldn’t get there or to reach that level… well, it casts a shadow on things, no?

N: Two physical therapists accompanied Andrés Iniesta on his journey. Emili Ricart has been the closest thing to a guardian angel to Iniesta since his arrival in 2008 under Guardiola.

Emili Ricart: It wasn’t easy for him to understand, because he was beginning to ask himself ‘why am I injured now? I never used to get injured before.’ Starting from there, we began to explore how he was feeling in training, at home, with his partner, with his friends… but if none of that had changed, something still didn’t fit in the puzzle for us to be able to explain his performance.

N: Raúl Martínez, the physiotherapist of the Spanish national team, is another key piece in understanding the puzzle of Iniesta.

Raúl Martínez: At the core of the issue is that Andrés has gone through his entire life – and this happens a lot to elite athletes – there are those who have never been injured, who spend 15-20 years exercising every day… every day of their lives.

N: Between December and March of 2010, Iniesta succumbed to injuries two more times.

RM: And that created a dynamic that put him in a low mental/emotional state.

N: In the Spanish national team, they were also watching Iniesta’s physical state closely.

(cut to Michael Robinson and Vicente del Bosque)

MR: Where you aware of the difficult moments that Andrés was going through?

Vicente el Bosque: Muscular injuries directly affect your mental state… so much so that they can make it impossible to play well, even when you are feeling fine.

VV: The toughest day for Andrés, and for me as well, was a training session near the end of the season.

N: Two months before the start of the World Cup, Iniesta tears his right hamstring during a closed training session. It was his fourth injury that year.

VV: I saw him go to the corner of the pitch, crying, with Emili Ricart…

AI: That day… killed me. (exhales) That’s the lowest I’ve ever felt.

VV: We tried to console him… but I could tell it was impossible.

AI: The day I tore my hamstring, but I felt like my I had torn my soul. I remember leaving alone, crying uncontrollably.

ER: He had sunk into a depression… and well, having to restart the whole process… feeling as though he was trapped in a situation with no way out.

Óscar Celada (Spanish national team doctor): Before the final squad list for the World Cup was released, Andrés was one of the players with injury problems that we still needed to make a decision on.

N: Another one of those players is Fernando Torres. On April 18, the Liverpool striker underwent meniscus surgery in Barcelona. The man who scored the goal that brought Spain the 2008 Eurocopa was now another major uncertainty on the list of the national team coach.

MR: Did you ever consider not calling Fernando Torres up to the squad?

VDB: Well, that was really up to his doctors and up to him…

Juan Cota (Spanish national team doctor): When we heard that Fernando had undergone his second surgery on his lateral meniscus… it gave us serious doubts as to whether he could or couldn’t make it to the World Cup.

Fernando Torres: I told the doctors ‘I want to play in the World Cup, even if you need to remove half or even all of the meniscus and if it shortens my football career by three or four years.’ For me, the most important thing was to play in the World Cup.

JC: It was as important to him as his own life, I think, at that moment.

FT: I could only see as far ahead as the World Cup, not anything beyond that.

JC: We needed to do everything that we could to ensure that he made it there.

FT: We had to skip some steps, and they knew it wasn’t the best, but they understood that I just wanted to make it.

JC: It was a continuous fight against the clock…

FT: I wanted to bet there, I wanted to play, and I knew that Spain could win.

N: On May 24, the 23 players chosen by Vicente del Bosque arrived for the first day of World Cup training. Fernando Torres and Andrés Iniesta were among them, despite the doubts surrounding their fitness.

OC: In the end, we decided to include him in the squad, but we always had that fear that he could relapse.

AI: I had such a difficult season that for me, the World Cup had become the great dream, the major objective, it would help me free myself and allow me to feel like a true footballer again, happy once more.

ER: In those difficult times, we made him a DVD that he could take with him and watch…

AI: People might think that I’m crazy, but… yeah. I went and picked it up on my day off before leaving for South Africa.

ER: It was one more method of emotional reinforcement to bring out the best in him.

N: The team will spend 50 days together, in a country that they will never forget…

Iker Casillas… Reina… and Victor Valdés… Arbeloa… Albiol… Capdevilla… Puyol… Piqué… Marchena… and Sergio Ramos… Fábregas… Alonso… Sergio Busquets… Iniesta… Xavi Hernández… Javi Martínez… Dávid Silva… Mata… Llorente… Navas… Pedro… Fernando Torres… and David Villa…

Pepe Reina: We were all there, all the 23 of us. It’s a shame that the only controversy that came up was about the goalkeepers. But I will tell you something: in the 50 days we were together, there was never a single day where we had any problems. Not a single day. As for the beginning of the tournament… it’s better not to talk about it…

N: On the eve of Spain’s first match against Switzerland, Iniesta watched Emili Ricart’s DVD for the first time.

ER: The only thing I was trying to do was to show him great athletes who had also experienced moments of defeat, and who later, after believing in themselves, went on to achieve great success.

N: Every night, including his last day in South Africa, Iniesta would watch these scenes that focused prominently on the careers of the likes of Federer, Alonso, or Estiarte, mixed in with scenes from his own career.

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