Raúl Albiol (Villamarchante, Valencia, 34 years old) is, together with Ramos , the only player who, in this selection, retains the brightness of the great times. He is the only one who achieved that wonderful triplet of Eurocopa, Mundial and Eurocopa . It happens that the central Villarreal has a peculiarity. While Ramos played every minute of all the matches in those tournaments, the profitability that Albiol took to his minutes was even greater. He participated for 156 minutes . From a total of 1,710 (19 games of those three final phases). 9.1% .

These days stroll through the City of Soccer with the calm that has always defined him. Yesterday he was amazed at the eight T-shirts, nine with the one presented yesterday, which has looked in a career with high, very high, and low, very low . The highs, he said, are his constant presence from his debut in 2007 until his fall from grace in the summer of 2015. By the way, a detail of his debut: he did it in Copenhagen , on October 13, 2007, victory by 1 -3 with Luis Aragonés . The party where, they say, was born tiki-taca . That day Iniesta, Cesc and Xavi played together in the center of the field, and despite the losses of Villa, Torres, Puyol and Silva , the deployment was majestic.

The fact is that Albiol won everything that could be won. It continued that way until 2015, at which time Del Bosque , thinking about the European Championship in France , begins to leave it out of the calls. He recovered, in 2018, Luis Enrique in that eternal casting of plants that left as an inheritance the exit of Piqué . It disappeared again but now, with the good role in Villarreal , it emerges again from the hand of Moreno. He is calm. Albiol is a guy who does not read or hear or see anything that is written or said about him. In 2014, in an interview with this newspaper, he responded naturally:

-What do you say to people who think they don't deserve to be on the team?

-Yes? Say that? I don't know, it will be the opinion of some people.

Still the same. His friends and his representative, Manuel García Quilón , have long stopped alerting him to this or that article, or this or that comment on radio and television. Albiol has always been accused of handling rather badly with the ball, although that has never been a problem for his coaches, who have always had him in Valencia, in Real Madrid , in Naples and now in Villarreal . Quique Sánchez Flores stands out in that group of technicians. He was the owner of the Getafe bench in the 2004/2005 academic year. He succeeded in transferring the boy, then 18 years , but a serious car accident had several days in a coma with polytrauma. It was August 2 and the worst predictions were that he should leave football . Quique pressed so that, despite the situation, the assignment was signed. Getafe agreed and four months later he returned to play.

Raúl is always remembered for that anecdote of the 2008 Euro Cup . A television asked him what he would return to Austria if he wasn't going to play the European Championship, and he replied: "Let's see the kangaroos . " Today it is not very funny to remind him of that 'lapsus' . If anything, Chori allows Sergio Ramos, one of his best friends in football. The captain always speaks very fondly of his former partner. "It's a piece of bread, everything he has when he grows up is good uncle," they say in Las Rozas, where they don't even consider whether their presence, like Cazorla's , is bad news for the national team, because it means that Something has not been renewed. Raúl does not consider it either. It feels good and it shows. Besides, neither read nor listen nor see anything.

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