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Xabi interview in El Pais


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This is part of an interview with Xabi in today's El Pais. It's very long so I can't translate the whole thing, but this is the bit about us. Hope it's ok to post it here and not in the General Football forum. At the end of the interview he says he likes film noir, Neil Young and Tom Waits. Not your average footballer.

 

"It started off being an adventure, and now I know that it changed my life," says Xabi, who considers the years he spent beside the Merseyas a vital reference point in his life, for more than just football reasons, for more than the victory in that unforgettable Champions League final of 2005 against Milan, with Liverpool were losing 3-0 at half time, came back and ended up winning on penalties,for more than the unforgettable game of April 15th 2009, the 20thanniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, when 96 reds died in Sheffield Wednesday's stadium.

 

"In Liverpool I learned to deal with problems that at home in San Sebastian I hadn't even thought about," he recognises when he remembers the move. Nagore, who had worked in a fashion store in San Sebastian, was, at the time, working as a costume designerfor the film ¡Aupa Etxebeste!, by Asier Altuna y Telmo Esnal. When shooting finished, she left for Liverpool, where Xabi had already been for two months, and started working in a hotel in the centre, very near their house in the docks. Xabi, who had been trying to keep studying for an engineering degree, gave it up in its third year, shortly before the birth of his first child, in circumstances that show something of the way Xabi views life, and which brought him into collision with Rafa Benitez, his manager, when he wanted to be with Nagore at this critical time. "In reality, nothing serious happened," he says. "We played against Newcastle on the Saturday and on Sunday Nagore's waters broke. On Monday I had to travel to Milan to play in the Champions League and I told the boss that if he wanted, I would join the team after the baby was born," he explains. "I can't wait for you," his manager told him. Xabi says that he understood, but he stayed in Liverpool. "Benitez never tried to make me go to Milan, he knew that I would stay," reveals the midfielder.

Speaking about Liverpool makes him emotional. He grew up watching games in the Atoxta stadium with his grandfather and Karlos Arguiñano, who had seats beside him, so he has a very particular appreciation of football. For this reason he has no doubts: "Anfield is the temple. It might seem an exaggeration, but for me it is the most incredible stadium in the world. Beyond that, and given that Liverpool is a hard city, he says that its vitality is contagious: "Liverpool has the character of its people, mainly workers, hardened people, who suffered enormously during the years of Thatcherism, when they closed the shipyards. A feeling of pride was generated then which is still alive. The people are used to having to fight for what they believe in, and that character infects you. I felt really good there. Why did I leave? Because the time had definitely come and Madrid were knockingat the door again."

It was only for football reasons, because he was so happy in England that even the food wasn't a problem. Not a week went by without a friend or relative coming to visit him with their suitcases packed full of beans, fresh vegetables and even tejas deTolosa (a type of biscuit). Some even managed to sneak in T-bone steaks,knowing that for Xabi there are few things more important than eating well. "I'm Basque, and that has to show itself in some way," he jokes.

Edited by £440,000
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Xabi is f***ing god. Loved his fluffy hair.

 

Its annoying he's gone but theres no point wallowing in it. We had him a long time really and for all the "Benitez is evil" stuff regarding him leaving then dont forget who signed him in the first place.

 

I agree. It's good to see he loves us as much as we love him. That's all. The man obviously had a great affection for both the club and the city. It still surprises me that he ended up at Madrid. I wouldn't criticise him for that, but they don't seem a club that would appeal to him in the same way as Real Sociedad and us. He always seemed more of a Barcelona man, if he were going to return to Spain, but I don't suppose they massively needed him.

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[/font] Speaking about Liverpool makes him emotional..."Anfield is the temple. It might seem an exaggeration, but for me it is the most incredible stadium in the world. Beyond that, and given that Liverpool is a hard city, he says that its vitality is contagious: "Liverpool has the character of its people, mainly workers, hardened people, who suffered enormously during the years of Thatcherism, when they closed the shipyards. A feeling of pride was generated then which is still alive. The people are used to having to fight for what they believe in, and that character infects you. I felt really good there. Why did I leave? Because the time had definitely come and Madrid were knockingat the door again."

 

:(

 

Another one who "got IT"

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One of the greats.

 

Not for me - and I'm someone who always liked him and defended him.

 

Fine, fine player, of a rare style, and a good lad - not least for that Thatcherism comment.

 

Just didn't quite achieve enough of what he was capable of, over a long enough period of time, to qualify as a 'great' for me.

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Not for me - and I'm someone who always liked him and defended him.

 

Fine, fine player, of a rare style, and a good lad - not least for that Thatcherism comment.

 

Just didn't quite achieve enough of what he was capable of, over a long enough period of time, to qualify as a 'great' for me.

 

Can see your point, altough i meant it more that he's one of the great players both on and off the pitch of this generation. Coulda worded it better.

 

I do love him though.

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he's a great for the part he played in getting us to istanbul alone.

 

clearest indication yet that apart from any hard feelings, there was just a sense that it was time to go home.

What grates is that was the point of 'just how close we came' to developing for years 'that team' the Rafa/spanish/euro hybrid monster that could rip open Madrid and roll united over at home, waltz past Barcelona....

 

Not Rafa, not Xabi, not any of that. If the owners had run this club even close to properly and fully backed the manager and the team with the reosurces needed to add, strengthen - in depth - and carry on improving, would it have been so easy to go home?

 

Hicks and Gillett carry this can - everything flows from them.

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he's a great for the part he played in getting us to istanbul alone.

clearest indication yet that apart from any hard feelings, there was just a sense that it was time to go home.

 

Do you really believe that? He's laid it politely on the line before, do you expect him to bitterly rail on about it or let the past stay there?

 

What grates is that was the point of 'just how close we came' to developing for years 'that team' the Rafa/spanish/euro hybrid monster that could rip open Madrid and roll united over at home, waltz past Barcelona....

 

Not Rafa, not Xabi, not any of that. If the owners had run this club even close to properly and fully backed the manager and the team with the reosurces needed to add, strengthen - in depth - and carry on improving, would it have been so easy to go home?

 

Hicks and Gillett carry this can - everything flows from them.

 

 

If Rafa had had his choices we know Xabi would have been gone a year earlier.

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