Spanish team | Borja Iglesias: “In LaLiga we will see a player reveal his homosexuality. It’s something that will happen”

Last Sunday Borja Iglesias went to dinner with friends after scoring the winning goal for Betis against Mallorca. Somewhat that he has the Verdiblancos hooked on the fight for the Champions League, and that he is the Panda’s third in the last four games. The Galician left his phone in a bag and when he went to look at it “half the world had written to me because of De La Fuente’s call. Joaquín, the Federation…”. Borja was the chosen one for the injured Gerard Moreno’s place, and he rejoined the Red again. “I’m very happy,” he warns as he attends to The Newspaper of Spainfrom the Prensa Ibérica group, with that eternal smile that hangs from his mouth.

Due to age and life history, Joselu, Iago (Aspas) and you are different players from the average profile of the players in this Spain. Young people recognized from the beginning.

I don’t think there is a perfect formula for anything, but it is true that these life situations have given us a lot of integrity, they have made us appreciate everything we have achieved more and the truth is that we are very happy to be able to contribute another vision and add that other part of what football is. It does not mean that it is better or worse, but it is different. Going through stages, as we have done, is important.

Who have gone through the less glamorous side of football, do you relativize everything more?

Yes I think so. The reality is that obviously it is very nice to compete in the elite, but I think that at a certain point it can even confuse you because the reality outside of this, I no longer tell you in the most normal life with any harder work. Even within football there are very hard-working people who are dedicated to this and who have a more adjusted life and do not live in such luxury. I feel very lucky to have experienced that as well and to have included it in my mentality.

Borja Iglesias, during a training session for the Spanish National Team. PABLO GARCIA/RFEF

You are a footballer capable of “having a laugh” while battling copper with Militao. You always seem to enjoy what he does and you pass it on to your surroundings.

I try to. Obviously it’s great to win and enjoy the great moments, but I’ve also tried to enjoy the ones that haven’t been so good. I try to learn from them, to integrate things that they have been able to contribute to me for the rest of my life, not just my football career. That’s why I try to enjoy every moment: when I have free days I enjoy them, when I’m here with the National Team. I just enjoy it. I am grateful for what I have at every moment.

You were talking about the moments when you don’t win. We live in a society that has settled in the culture of success and football is the most extreme example of this.

Yes, success depends a lot on the result and I think you have to start giving importance to the path. The difficulty of winning is very high and it does not mean that when you do not succeed you are failing. Because in the end every path is bringing you many things, you are gifted with learning that brings you closer to that success at the level of results. It is important to relativize, I think from the inside even more because from the outside I understand that sometimes it is complicated. In a club or a selection the result marks a lot. But on a daily basis we usually fail and I think we have to learn from it.

Football-wise you are a good example of a player who has grown from his ‘failures’. For calling them that.

I try to learn and improve with those situations and also with what my coaches and my teammates teach me. I have had different profiles of forwards with whom I have coincided and tried to keep good things from each one to apply it to myself and try to be a better player. There are things about Iago, Joselu or Álvaro that they do very well and I can’t do them that way. But I try to improve them and try to be more complete. This is how I have always tried to do it with all my colleagues. I do it in my team with William and Ayoze, and that helps make the competition healthier and I enjoy it more with them because that way I can help them and they can help me. And that incidentally generates collective and personal well-being.

Do you have references in football, or are they from outside the field?

I am discovering each time. In football, for example, I have been following Joselu for many years because I coincided with him in the lower categories of the Galician team. I have seen him play a lot, I have always liked him and I have learned from him.

Joselu, Iago Aspas, the Panda… It seems that the goal in this selection by De la Fuente is a Galician thing.

(Laughs)… Iago said it, but it’s true. In this selection the goal is Galician. There is good training there, a good youth system and good players. And I am sure that we will continue to see good Galician players for many years because they work very well and live football with a lot of passion.

He talked about his references on and off the pitch…

Well, another Galician medium points out, Fernando Torres (he spent the summer there), he has always been a reference for me. And when he was little I loved Drogba because of his ability to play in any way. But it is true that he also tries to learn from the people outside the field. I think there are many people who give us lessons that are very valuable.

With that playful mentality, the ‘manque lose’ of Betis fits him like a glove,

To this day I think I have found my place at Betis. I feel happy, I feel supported, I feel very loved, very respected. I enjoy every day. When you think of an ideal environment, it is the closest to what I have been and I feel very grateful for the opportunity and for the love.

Borja Iglesias, with the Copa del Rey won with Betis in the last edition. PABLO GARCIA/RFEF

This season is no longer worth just the ‘manque lose’. Now it’s Champions yes or yes.

We will try, we are trained. There are teams that are fighting for those positions that have a lot of capacity, as I think we do. And from here to the end we are going to try everything. It would be very nice and very good for the club.

You are a benchmark when it comes to making the importance of mental health visible, your nails are a symbol in football in favor of giving voice to the LGTBi collective, you are very sensitive to the fight against homophobia… Does football accompany you on your way? Or do you feel like you’re alone?

Not only football, I think society has taken many steps forward in this regard. It is true that the situations that make the most noise are the opposite, but in part it is not bad because it alerts us all a bit and helps us to continue progressing, to continue growing. Football in recent years has taken many steps forward, I think that this mentality, which was a bit stagnant, is changing a lot, and I feel happy to be part of the change.

Will we see any footballer in LaLiga reveal his homosexuality like Jakub Jankto?

It will pass, I think it will. A healthier environment is being generated every time and I think it is something that will happen. Hopefully they feel free to do it because we will cover them with everything.

Thanks Borja and good luck.

Thank you for the time.



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