Sono arrivato in Italia*…

~~~

*Yeah, I studied abroad in Italy! (and may or may not have double checked the Italian on Google translate…) // ¡He estudiado en el extranjero en Italia! (y puede que haya chequeado mi italiano en Google translate …)

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For starters. The Spanish national team and Andrés Iniesta (“sweet, sweet Iniesta”) were honored on Monday in a ceremony in Madrid. La Roja was honored with the ‘Marca de Oro’ award, the highest honor for a team, while Iniesta was awarded the ‘Marca Leyenda’ award, an award that recognizes the merits of Spanish and foreign athletes that become heroes and icons as a result of their charisma.

Para empezar. La selección española y Andrés Iniesta (“sweet, sweet Iniesta” como lo ha describido Pepe Reina anteriormente) recibieron otro homenaje en Madrid. La Roja recogió el ‘Marca de Oro’, máxima distinción colectiva a un equipo, mientras que al autor del gol que dio a España el Mundial de Sudáfrica, ha recibido el ‘Marca Leyenda’.

“I accept this award, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates”

“El premio lo recibo yo, pero uno sin sus compañeros no es nadie”

Second. Sadly, there were a few injuries to report from Madrid… First up, Sergio Ramos was forced to pull out of playing Wednesday’s friendly against Italy and was replaced by Ignacio “Nacho” Monreal. Additionally, Xavi Hernández was also forced to pull out of Wednesday’s game and flew back to Barcelona after experiencing some discomfort in his right leg. Check out this cute video showing (Dr.?) Juan Mata checking up on his teammates…

Segundo. Desafortunadamente, hubieron algunas bajas para el amistoso contra Italia… Sergio Ramos no viajó a Italia para el amistoso y fue reemplazado por Ignacio “Nacho” Monreal. Xavi Hernández tuvo que regresarse a Barcelona al sentir unas molestias en su pierna derecha. Me encantó ver al (Dr.) Juan Mata chequeando con sus compañeros en este vídeo

Third. After arriving in Las Rozas and having lunch, our boys had their first training session, which was slightly delayed due to the extreme heat… As usual, Vicente del Bosque (looking adorable in his La Roja uniform) had the team do some stretching and a bit of warm up…

Tercero. Después del almuerzo, nuestros muchachos tuvieron su primera sesión de entrenamiento, que se retrasó ligeramente debido al calor… Como de costumbre, Vicente del Bosque (adorable en su uniforme) quizó hacer algunos ejercicios de calentamiento…

They also did some ab work… Not that a certain someone (♥) needs to do any…

También hicieron algunos ejercicios abdominales… Aunque alguien en especial (♥) no necesita hacerlos…

And, of course, did some running/jogging…

Y, por supuesto, corrieron un poquito…

Oh, and we can’t forget our goalkeepers (Iker, Valdés and Pepe), who trained separately…

Y no nos podemos olvidar de nuestros porteros (Iker, Valdés y Pepe), que entrenaron en separado…

Fourth. On Tuesday morning, the team left Las Rozas and headed to Bari, Italy… While on the plane, Iker shared a picture via Facebook of Raulito, as he calls him…

Cuarto. En la mañana del martes, el equipo dejó de Las Rozas y se dirigió a Bari, Italia… Desde el avion, Iker compartió una foto de Raulito…

And Juan Mata posed with newbie Thiago (and traveling buddy): “Traveling to Bari with a crack… @Thi_Alcantara91″…

Y Juan Mata se tomó una foto con el novato Thiago (y su compañero viajero):

Fifth. After arriving in Italy, Iker Casillas, our captain, and newbie Thiago Alcántara spoke to the press at the Hotel Sheraton Nicolaus… Here are a few highlights from the press conference:

Quinto. Nuestro capitán, Iker Casillas, y el novato Thiago Alcántara, fueron protagonistas en la rueda de prensa en el Hotel Sheraton Nicolaus…

Iker, are you surprised about the reaction surrounding your teammates’ injuries?

I think that any player would be happy to belong to the national team. Both Xavi and Sergio are committed to their club and to the national team.  In the case of Sergio, I can say that if he’s not here it’s because he has an injury.  The best thing to do in this case, is to stay, to recover, and to be able to start the season in the best way possible.

Thiago, how does it feel to be called up to the national team? Is it a coincidence that you debuted with the U-21 team in Vigo and with the national team in Bari?

At no point did I imagine I would be here with this great group of guys and champions of the world. It’s an honor to be here, a great pleasure, and I am enjoying every second of it (both on and off the field).

Thiago, being born in Italy and with a Brazilian family, you have chosen to play for Spain. Did you ever thing about playing with the Italian national team?

Never did I think it; I’ve always had the option to play for Brazil because of my roots, but I’ve been in Spain since I was three years old and this is where I was raised. I’ve learned everything and owe everything to Spain.

What role do you intend to develop in the team?

T: I don’t think there’s a role that needs to be developed. My only hope is to form part of this team and to adapt to what el míster asks of me.

Do you think Spain’s luck began to change the day it faced Italy in the quarterfinals of the Euro 2008?

C: That day was a great relief for us and it took a weight off of our shoulders from years past. From that moment on, Spain did a complete turn in it’s football and luck, which had never been with us.

Sixth. Looks like our boys had a blast in Italy! First up is Iker, who took a picture with David Villa (and even practiced a bit of Italian!): “I’m here with “el Guaje” Villa… analyzing tomorrow’s match a bit… Bounanotte (or however you say it in Italian)!!!!”

Sexto. ¡Parece que nuestros muchachos se han divertido en Italia! Para empezar, Iker (que esta enganchado que con Facebook) se tomó una foto con David Villa (y hasta practicó un poquito de italiano!):

And then he took a picture with Pepe, where he made fun of his cute lil’bald head: “Do you know him? He wears a wig every once in awhile… Hahahaha! A big hug to everyone!!”

Y luego se tomó una fotito con Pepe:

Next up is Victor Valdés, who seemed to be enjoying the food in Italy:

Seguido por Victor Valdés, que estaba feliz con la comida en Italia:

 

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