I only keep a T-shirt. Just one. Framed, signed by each and every one of those world champions. The coach named that group by signing the first one: ‘The fifth of
Pelopo’. He was the first to guess that Xavi Hernandez, ‘Pelopo'He would be the footballer who would change the history of Spanish football because he also had a saint by his side capable of joking him into a swimming pool. The coach was Iñaki
Sáez, the pool, that of the ambassador of Spain in Nigeria who made his home in Lagos available to that U-20 team to celebrate the title, the guy with the star, was Iker
Casillas, the goalkeeper who had excited Spain in the penalty shoot-out stopping the shot of George Blay (8-7).

Xavi he seemed the soccer grandfather of that team that on April 24, 1999 conquered the world defeating Japan in the final (4-0). Iker he kept saying “Pelopo, machine, you look like patrasik, pass a ball forward instead of turning and poking around so much, go ahead ”. AND Xavi laughed Almost better, I don't explain where that viene comes from.Pelopo’Which still endures, ask Miguel Angel, player from the Barça youth team … well ‘Pelopo’Refers to the hair of a certain part of the body … And for Xavi everything was ‘a Pelopo“From the lizard we found in the room, to the bottle of water that the children in Kaduna ran to collect to sell it, to the mosquitoes, or that kind of chicken that they ate every day at 40 degrees.

Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernández won the U-20 World Cup in 1999 in Nigeria
Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernández won the U-20 World Cup in 1999 in Nigeria

Xavi laughed with Iker, “Looks like a skunk.” Being with them was like living a summer camp until the ball came into play. So, Xavi He measured the grass and the playing times, pampered the ball and made everyone, absolutely everyone, look like much better footballers. In Lakes he Golden Ball of the U-20 World Cup they gave it to Seydou Keita for rewarding an African, but there we all, absolutely all, knew that Pelo the fifth of Pelopo ’would change the history of our football.

June 16, 2010. Mixed zone of the Moses Mabhida Stadium of
Durban. Iker Casillas note the discouragement among the special envoys of the Spanish press, some already ready to discredit the model of the selection of Vicente del Bosque for a fateful and unfair 0-1 against Switzerland. “We have come here to be world champions, right? I talk to him Pelopo, again you will be world champion ”. Eleven years had passed since that world and there it was, just as always, with the same security. Iker I was armored in football because I knew that Spain he had a team prepared to submit with his football, with the tiki-taka but he was not so prepared to bear the pressure derived from his relationship with the journalist on Tele 5 Sara Carbonero. She was there, working on national team coverage, suffering from being blamed for distracting the ‘Holy’To take away part of his supernatural protection. Vicente del Bosque, Marquis By title and teacher by knowledge, he dealt with the situation by putting tenderness on each of his conversations with Iker or with Sara.

Iker Casillas kissed Sara Carbonero after winning the World Cup in South Africa live.
Iker Casillas kissed Sara Carbonero after winning the World Cup in South Africa live.

Casillas he was not alone. Of that generation that won in Nigeria there was only him, Xavi and Marchena, but a leader capable of hitting the head butt had emerged, trying to get them out of the way to the title that was none other than Carles Puyol. Racial, impulsive, tenacious, friend, leader even in the siesta, delivered to the shield and the shirt and vowing that they would win that title because he would not cry again as in Sydney’2000. Yes, the Olympic football final was lost by Spain to the Cameroon of Samu Eto’o Because some soccer players thought that you could win without concentration, effort and professionalism. Puyi he should have grabbed them by the shirt before the final … but he didn't. This time nothing and nobody would keep them out of the way.

He Pelopo He had been a better footballer in Euro'2008 and nobody disputed that he was the mastermind of the national team. But Busquetsoh Busquets, Vicente del Bosque's whim, did seem vulnerable until the coach became serious “If I reincarnated as a footballer I would want to be Busquets” And that phrase was celebrated in the locker room by Iker, Xavi and Puyol, those who always parked team rivalries for an even greater objective: the selection.

Casillas key stop Robben in the World Cup final
Casillas key stop Robben in the World Cup final

He Pelopo just renewed contract with the Al sadd until 2021. Iker
Casillas think that the RFEF He needs a change and it will not be now, but that day will come when no one was part of the adventure of being world champion left out of the photo. The dream started in Nigeria: the ‘fifth of Pelopo' had a Holy.

Puyol and Xavi, with the 'senyera' after winning the 2010 World Cup
Puyol and Xavi, with the 'senyera' after winning the 2010 World Cup