Rafa Mir: “De la Fuente is a coach who has had a big impact on me”

Rafa Mir: “De la Fuente is a coach who has had a big impact on me”

Dreaming about it is not the same as living it.. And it is not the same to do an interview from the Editorial Team as it is to do it in the first person, therefore, SPORT has moved to Sevilla to speak with the soccer player, Rafa Mir. The forward has not spent the best months of his sporting career with the Sevilla team, but he welcomed us with a smile from ear to ear and told us first-hand what it is like to experience from the inside the largest sporting competition in the world, the Olympic Games.

It must be remembered that The 2021 Games had to be delayed a year due to the coronavirus. The athletes and everyone present had to wear masks and there was no audience in any stands. Something that, as Rafa Mir states, made everything feel colder.

“Yes, the truth is that it was a bit cold because of how the event was organized, but it was what was needed at that moment. In the end, with the pandemic everything was behind closed doors, everything with protection, with a mask and that made it a little cold. But it is true that they treated us very well and we had a very good month. And most importantly, we got the medal, which was what we all dreamed of.. It wasn’t the color we wanted, but it was a medal,” she says.

Rafa Mir before traveling to the Tokyo Olympic Games / SPORT.ES

What is it like to live in the Olympic Village?

An Olympic Games is what every athlete dreams of experiencing at some point in their career. since it is different from any other competition. Not only are you with your teammates but you are surrounded by athletes from all over the world who compete in different disciplines. The bad thing about these Olympics? He COVID.

The Sevilla player says that they could not fully enjoy the Olympic Village due to the restrictions, and therefore, They spent a lot of time in the rooms “talking” with their classmates, “drinking coffee, playing games.”… In the end, it doesn’t give you space to do many other things and we tried to entertain ourselves in the best way,” he says.

However, he says that he did meet Pau Gasol and that he was able to chat with other athletes, especially with the Spanish. “There are so many sports that, in the end, you come across each other and since they are athletes like you, there is always a moment to chat and exchange sensations.”

Rafa also reveals to us that he had a very funny group with Cucurella, Pedri and Eric García. “We spent so much time together that we had to have good vibes and jokes because it was too long”points out the Murcian.

“I spent a lot of time with Cucurella, Pedri and Eric García”

And who did Mir share the room with? With Pau Torres. “We spent the whole month together. Afterwards, we changed partners and got more because the room was bigger,” confesses the player. Rafa reiterates on several occasions during the interview at the Sevilla Sports City that this experience reminds him “with a lot of affection and with a lot of love. The truth is, it was a spectacular moment.”

What he doesn’t remember so fondly is the famous ‘anti-sex’ bed.. “It’s not the most comfortable place I’ve ever slept,” jokes the footballer. This bed became very famous during the Tokyo Olympics to avoid casual encounters between athletes, although according to Rafa with a smile, “that is more of a myth than a reality.”“.

Rafa Mir with Pedri and Miranda at the Tokyo Olympics / AGENCIES

A separate topic is Japanese food. Sushi lover, the Spanish player would have loved to enjoy more Japanese food. “The truth is that I like it a lot, but we couldn’t go out.” Of course, she didn’t miss out on trying the typical food there because on some occasion “we brought it to the hotel. We ate Kobe beef and sushi. I have to say that it is different from what we are used to. The truth is that’s not what we do here.”

“I remember the Games with great affection and love”

The medal, a prize for him

The Spanish Olympic team in Tokyo was made up of a group of players who had just won the U21 European Championship in Italy against Germany. She was trained by the now Spanish national team coach, Luis de la Fuente. A selection with notable names such as Pedri, Dani Olmo, Asensio, Merino, among others.

La ‘Rojita’ was one of the favorites to win the gold medal. It was not a very scoring team in the group stage, but as Rafa says, “when you win it doesn’t matter if it’s by one goal or by five”. We trusted a lot in the team we had, we worked in a very specific way. And well, we made it to the final and lost by one goal. We did a great job, we were able to bring a medal and I believe that everything came from the unity and work of the people.”he points out.

To reach the final, the Spanish team had to play two overtimes: in the quarterfinals against Ivory Coast; in the semi-finals, against Japanand in the final, against Brazil. Against the Ivorian team Rafa Mir came off the bench in the 90th minute to score not only the goal that caused extra timebut it gave him time to score two more goals and make a hat-trick that was on the front page of many newspapers in Spain.

The Spanish Olympic team in Tokyo won the silver medal / AGENCIES

I came out very focused. I remember that it was a ball that stayed inside the area and in the end that goal is what gives you the possibility of playing extra time. Afterwards I was able to do two more, the team was super good and in the end the most important thing is that we passed the round. “If I had scored a goal and we had passed, I would have been very happy too.”remember.

Finally, the Spanish team won the silver medal after losing in the final against Brazil (2-1) with a goal from Malcom in the 108th minute of the match.. A medal that Rafa has well kept at “home in a museum that I have with all my shirts and those of my teammates.”

Rafa Mir scored a hat-trick against the Ivory Coast at the Tokyo Olympics / EFE

“I have the silver medal kept in a museum along with all the shirts”

The importance of De la Fuente

Luis de la Fuente will always be important for the attacker. Those who know the footballer know that for Rafa, wearing the national team shirt and scoring goals with it is a dream. The current Spanish coach has always shown his confidence in him. He called him up with the under-19 and under-21 teams and, had he played more minutes this season, he probably would have been in the coach’s mind. “De la Fuente is a coach who has marked me a lot. We have won trophies together, such as the U21 Euro Cup or the Olympic medal. To go to the national team you have to work a lot. “It’s a prize,” he says.

Since the winter transfer market closed, Rafa has not enjoyed any minutes with Sevilla and has not had a really good time. Proof of this is the publication on his Instagram account in which he talks about a season ‘full of helplessness’, But he is a player with a very strong mind and who has known how to handle this situation in the best possible way with his family and friends. A footballer who has already fulfilled his dream of playing in the Olympics and who now only thinks about changing his chip this summer during the holidays so that next season will be a different story. What he thinks about now for next season is “working, playing and scoring goals. The rest will be seen.”

2024-05-28 07:38:40
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