3rd July, 2012
Cesc Fabregas has revealed the recipe that turned Spain into the greatest team in history.
Take a dollop of hunger, stir in some hard work and cook in the low heat of humility.
But the key ingredient is that, for all the glory, money, fame and adulation by millions in their homeland and across the planet, this Spain team are just a bunch of normal lads.
The achievement is enormous in becoming the first side to win three straight international tournaments.
Speaking in the bowels of Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, Fabregas gave an insight into exactly how Spain’s system works. It favours and promotes thinking individuals rather than just robots. It teaches them to think on their feet, both on and off the pitch. That is why they believe in themselves and that is why they win.
Fabregas spoke with a clarity and calmness that, quite frankly, belied the occasion as he hailed the Spain set-up, mentality and philosophy in retaining their European crown with Sunday’s 4-0 win over Italy. Fabregas said: “This group is more than just a team. We are friends. We like to play cards, to be together. It is something else.
“It is not a football team, it is more than that. It’s difficult to say how we retain the hunger. We are just so normal, we are normal people. We hang out, we play table tennis. We go to the cinema together; all the families are together when they come in tournaments. It’s a really, really nice atmosphere.
“It looks like some people are going but the new generation are exactly the same as us. They are humble, they really want to work hard, they believe in our project and we are very proud of ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Spain’s triumphant UEFA Euro 2012 heroes parted a red-and-yellow sea of fans in central Madrid yesterday in a giant, deafening national fiesta that swept aside all thoughts of economic crisis.
An open-top double-decker bus ferried the team like a small boat picking its way through a vast ocean of hundreds of thousands of adoring Spaniards waving flags, cheering and dancing to thumping rock music.
Helicopters hovering above filmed a crowd that seemed to carpet the entire heart of the capital to rejoice in Spain’s historic 4-0 thrashing of Italy in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.