Xavi Hernández (Terrassa, 43) is in love with his sport. Live it anytime and anywhere. As a ball addict, he is on the lookout for everything that is cooking and is enthusiastic about the level reached by the players of the Spanish national team in the World Cup that ends this Sunday. Thirteen years ago, as the brain of la roja, he was proclaimed world champion in South Africa and can perfectly understand what is going through the mind and heart of the players led by Jorge Vilda. From admiration and knowledge, Xavi advises them through La Vanguardia to have as much fun as they can and, above all, to let their football flow.
What advice would you give to the players of the Spanish national team who are playing in the final this Sunday?
Advice? Let them enjoy the moment, even though I'm aware it's hard because I know it's what they've dreamed of all their lives or maybe even more than they've dreamed of. There are definitely a lot of nerves. I remember in the 2010 final, before we played against Holland, that we were all very nervous before the game. We also had a lot of euphoria in the dressing room to be there, given that great opportunity. When you're in front of a game like that, the feeling of making history is brutal. I think the best thing is for them to try to enjoy the moment, to get away from everything and try to play football, which is what they do best.
Have you been able to follow the games during the World Cup?
Yes. The truth is that they play very, very well. The semi-final against Sweden was spectacular. I've seen them a lot in this World Cup and I'm loving them.
How did you live the days before the 2010 final?
Well, with great anticipation, with the feeling that I would never live an experience like this again; it caught me when I was 30, too. It is true that now many of them are very, very young.
In your opinion, who are the most important footballers in the national team?
I would highlight the role of many of them, from the most veteran ones such as Irene Paredes, Alexia Putellas or Jennifer Hermoso to the surprises such as Teresa Abelleira or Olga Carmona. Then there is the role of younger players than the veterans. For example, there is the brilliance of Aitana Bonmatí. Right now Aitana and Alexia are the two best players in the world in my opinion. Aitana is at a spectacular, bestial level. And then Ona Batlle, right back, whom Barça just signed, is also at a very good level, like Laia or Cata Coll, who came in as goalkeeper. They are a source of pride for everyone.
Do you think this success represents the consolidation of women's football in Spain or is there still a long way to go?
There is still a way to go, yes, but I think they have already overcome the barrier a couple or three years ago, through the national team, and especially Barça, which has bet very strongly on women's football. A bet to which Madrid has added. They have already overcome barriers. Whatever happens, it's okay. It is fitting that they have reached this final to show that women's football is very beautiful to watch. Watching them work is sensational. What they have achieved has a lot of merit. I am very happy for them, I know many of them and I have a very good relationship with them, especially with Alexia and Aitana; also with Jorge Vilda, and I am very happy for them.