“Winning the World Cup was like when you are given your first child and you hold him in your arms”

BarcelonaSay more times wafer of what would be expected from someone who presents himself as head of institutional relations at Espanyol. But he has an alibi: Joan Capdevila (Tàrrega, 1978) talks about the World Cup. He is one of 445 winners in the history of the World Cup. When he hears it, he is speechless. “It’s a brutal fact,” sighs the former player of Espanyol, Atlético de Madrid, Deportivo, Villarreal and Benfica, repeating the adjective he found to describe that July 11, 2010. We are privileged. Spain may win more World Cups, but the first one will always remain in the memory and in the retina. But not because we won the World Cup we are superior to those who have tried before. Because in the end the difference is whether the ball goes in or not come in and let Casillas stop it or not”, he admits, always modest: as a child he cleaned the mud from his boots himself. “I don’t want to watch the goal in the final, just in case Iniesta fails in the replay and we don’t win the Cup. In fact, I’ve never seen the whole game, yet,” he adds.

What did you think when you saw the cup just before the final?

— She was much prettier than on TV. I was really surprised how bright it was. Its radiance I thought “Woah, this cup has been lifted by Matthäus, Maradona, Cannavaro, and now we can lift it with others”. They say you can’t watch it, but I did. I looked at her and thought “If we don’t win I’ll never see you again”. I didn’t touch it, but it was clear that if we had lost I would have gone to touch it anyway. I had to touch it or yes. And the first reaction when I saw her in the market in Johannesburg was to kiss her. Because it was like love at first sight. It was brutal, an incredible feeling. Say “”Colnos, I can finally touch you”.

You went to the bathroom six times between arriving at the stadium and the start of the game. Do you remember a lot of nerves?

— All that was new for everyone because we had never played a World Cup final. People had won leagues and had won the Champions League, but that was deviating from us. It was all new. The World Cup final is a different game. I remember that when we were going from the hotel to the stadium we turned around a bend and you could see the stadium all lit up, two or three kilometers away. I was already 32 years old, but I settled in there. I stayed for two or three seconds without being able to breathe. I lacked oxygen. Of the tension It had never happened to me. It was like saying “There’s no going back now.” It was a feeling of joy, but also of responsibility. Because if you screw it up, your children and your children’s children will have to change their surname. Three or four generations. The first thing I would have done would have been to go to the registry and change my children’s last name. Look at Salinas or Arconada: you make a blunder and you’ll be remembered for it for the rest of your life. He was the only one of the eleven who was not at Barça or Madrid and he told me “I’m not at the level, or maybe I am at the level, but I’m not used to these situations”, and I was a bit afraid of saying “Do “Okay, Joan, because this is for real.”

Do you have impostor syndrome?

— Yes, yes, of course, sure. When you’re there you say “Fucking wafer dude”. Forgive me, don’t put this, but I want to say: “Mother of God, Lord, what am I doing here, fucked in this shit, among the eleven chosen with all the people in Spain?” Yes, I thought so. But then I looked to the side and saw Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol or Xabi Alonso and they gave me peace of mind, security. “It’s got to be good for us. Since we’re here, no one gave a damn about us, now that’s it, now let’s all go.”

The goal, the finish, the medal or the cup: which is the happiest moment?

— The most brutal moment is when they give me the cup and I say “Host, I have it in my hands”. I couldn’t believe it: it was like when you are given your first child and you hold it in your arms, brutal. When we arrived in Madrid we were not aware of what we had organized. Apart from feeling happy to have won the title, which is very, very good, you also feel participative that the country has a smile on its face. This is very difficult. At least for two or three days, people forgot their problems and were happier, more positive. Then the neighbor went back to being a son of a bitch, as always, but for two days even the people of Barça and Madrid hugged each other. Even the people of PSOE and PP. The differences between people were forgotten. Seeing people smile is a great satisfaction. You feel happy that you have given so much joy through football. Too bad it only lasts two or three days.

Your parents were in the stands, right?

— When the anthem played, my career went through my head, like a movie, and I thought a lot about them. “Wife, they hung a lot.” They have always been there: in dirt fields, with rain, with wind. And yes, they were in the final too. They didn’t want to come, because they are afraid of the plane. It may have cost less to my dad because it’s a lot soccer player and when I was little we used to wake up at 2 in the morning to watch the Copa América, but my mother panics on planes. But it was a unique milestone. When the game ended it was very impressive. We were together for five or ten minutes, in a corner, without speaking. No words were exchanged, because nothing we could say could explain what we felt. And, man, I was very impressed by all that. I had never seen my parents cry. never It’s just that never, ever. Only that day. Only that day. I was very impressed by that image.

Do you have any memories of the World Cup at home?

— My mother has the shirt. He hasn’t shown it to me yet so I don’t steal it. I have a replica of the cup and medal in the dining room, next to the replicas of the Euro Cup [2008] and the King’s Cup [2002]. Now more than anything I save it for my children, who sometimes ask me. I always tell my son, “Look, you have to work hard to get this.” They don’t give it to you. When I see a drink, the only thing I see behind it is a lot of passion, a lot of dedication, a lot of work, a lot of trips from my parents up and down.

How are they called?

— My mother’s name is Maria Victòria and my father’s name is Joan Capdevila, like me.


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