The Football Player
I’ve been a football player since the day I was born. My mom, Paqui, my dad, José María, and my siblings, René and Mirian, were always sure about that. And I was too. That’s why I never hesitated in fighting for and following my dream that—besides being a dream—was and continues to be one of my greatest passions.
When I first started kicking a ball around the patio at home and around the waste ground in Atalaya, I only had one dream: to play for Sevilla FC. I started with Camas as a kid; I wasn’t even old enough to be registered and I played under someone else’s name. From there I went on to Sevilla youth teams. With a lot of effort and dedication, and plenty of sacrifice, on my part and on the part of my parents, I managed to make my début for Sevilla FC under the great Joaquín Caparrós. The rest, as you all know, is history. A history that is now repeating itself. It has come full circle from when I started in Atalaya, with many of those dreams having come true and a few others still to fulfil, and with the same enthusiasm as that kid and the experience of someone going back home to be happy.
My arrival at PSG was unexpected and exciting. A great club, an ambitious project and a spectacular city in which to continue my career surrounded by extraordinary players. I enjoyed two years of good times, two Ligue 1 titles and a Trophée des Champions and also difficult moments that, as ever, help you grow and learn on a personal and sporting level. In Paris and in PSG I’ll always have my home; Paris and PSG will always be in my heart.
I arrived at Real Madrid when I was 19 years old. It’s impossible to sum up everything I experienced in a mere few lines. So much happiness and joy, so many successes, some tough times, a lot of titles, unforgettable nights and an armband and emblem I proudly wore until my last day there. I left when I was 35. Saying goodbye wasn’t easy, but the road ahead keeps on going and we’ll meet again.
Spanish National Team
When I reached the Spain National Football Team in 2005, I never could have imagined what that would do to my career. We won a World Cup and two European Championships, something unimaginable at that time. Further, today I am the most-capped player for my country and the proudest captain to have ever worn the armband. Spain and its football team are everything to me.