When Borja Valero (Madrid, 33 years old) He wore the Fiore shirt, loved to get lost in the streets of Florence and admire the works of art that dot and adorn the city. "It was made to measure," he admits. But he got the challenge of being someone at Inter and he did not think about it, so now enjoy the chaos of Milan, also of the cultural offer and especially of leisure, because it has two children and time to enjoy what he likes most: his family. Then there is the ball, which has given him a name, even though he is not a starter now as he always was during his career. Today he will be at the Camp Nou and with the loss of Nainggolan his options of being on the mat are multiplied, now that Spalletti He advances him in some meetings as he did when he was young.
Question. How many times have you been told not to go to Italy because your football does not marry Spanish?
Answer. I found myself too reluctant because a group of players had not gone well. But luckily I got to the Fiore with a group of young guys, with a new coach who wanted to play. Time proved me right.
P. Which is the recipe?
R. Try to be as smart as possible. Because they did things that I was not used to, with more physical and tactical soccer. But it was a change and you had to take it as such and then try to make my football. Now, however, I think the Serie A has many influences from different coaches and you can find different records in the rivals.
P. But do you like to play or understand soccer?
R. I like to play it. Getting to understand it completely would be crazy because soccer is not only rational; there are feelings. Yes, I like to deal with my colleagues with an aspect that does not work, but I do not have a coach inside me.
P. It happens that in the field he no longer enjoys so much time, does that come to be assumed?
R. Clear. It's something that comes naturally and has to be taken well. I'm 33 years old and a long race where I've played a lot. The mister, in addition, knows me and tries to give me minutes.
P. But in the two European matches he left to close the match, to scratch the clock a few minutes, and did not complain …
R. There are very good players in the team and I am happy with the role I have. I do not care a minute that many if I help. The smartest move is not to pout, argue with the coach, or make a gesture that might upset a partner. Pouting does not take you to play anymore.
Spalletti is a temperamental technician who wants to have everything under control
P. Is that the maturity of the footballer?
R. I dont know! I guess it depends on the character of each person. I also think that if I was in a team below Inter level, maybe I would play all the matches. But this challenge has come to me and I want to live it. Of course, one always likes to play, but I am at a time when all I want is to enjoy. And, on the other hand, I am very happy with my physical form.
P. Does it have something to do with food?
R. Of course. I try not to bloat, like vegetables and I've taken away wheat, bread and pasta. But I also give myself whims when I have something to glut at a given moment. This way I have lowered the weight even when I was thin because I realized that the more age the better the less weight. I think that if I'm not the one who has run the most when I've played, I'm out there.
P. What Spalletti asks?
R. With a ball, try to verticalize the game so that they are against each other. And in defense that is ordered tactically. He is a temperamental technician who wants to have everything under control and trains the tactical phase of the game and makes us understand the game. He is an old-fashioned coach who tries to keep his distance so that the relationship is player-coach.
P. Are you a midfielder or playmaker?
R. When I was younger I liked being a playmaker, near the area to give the final assistance or score the goal. But that is not my virtue. So over time I discovered that I like to be in contact with the ball. So for me a good game is one in which I've had a lot of the ball between my feet.
I would not define Icardi as our Messi, but it is the completion of our game
P. Well, Barça does not seem the best rival for it …
R. He can discuss the ball, but it is not easy. It is not supposed to be a day to enjoy because in soccer the protagonist is the ball and we may not have it as much. Although the good thing about our team is that we can also wait and attack against. And if something positive is achieved, I'm sure I have fun.
P. Do you still feel that it is a special match as it was when playing in the Madrid youth academy?
R. One who is Real Madrid is always. He is the eternal rival and is an extra motivation.
P. Messi will not be …
R. Good for us because it is unique, special and sometimes you do not know what to do to stop it. When there are players of their level, it is always complicated, although we work a lot on the tactical aspect so that those who end up absorbing those uncertainties will be the ones behind.
P. Barça, in any case, is not at its best …
R. I do not see that they are wrong, but if so, it is always positive. What I do believe is that it is a team that has to evolve based on the idea of possession of the ball. Without Xavi and Iniesta, they must change with another style of football.
P. Is Icardi his Messi?
R. I would not define it as Messi … But it is the end of our game. We are a good team when we play as such; if we are not connected, not so much.
P. In order to achieve this, is that advanced and aggressive pressure that they do regularly?
R. Pressure is one of the things that we work the most. We know that without it, in between we do not steal and they can harm us. We activate it with a bad pass from the opponent, a goalie or a player throw … Then a player signals and the collective presses.
P. Do you know what you will do in the near future?
R. I want to finish my stage at Inter. Then, if I'm physically well, I'll look at offers to play a couple of years more. And if not, I will retire and face life.