Irene Paredes: “The demand makes me have fun”

Dressed in a Spanish tracksuit and a ponytail that makes her look like she could show it off, blonde, tall and with blue eyes on top, central defender Irene Paredes (Legazpi, Gipuzkoa, 32) speaks as if she is playing, without shying away from responsibilities. These have been difficult days because he recently lost his father, but he is relieved to know that he is participating in the World Cup and that his partner – Lucia Ybarra, former floor hockey player and world class player – arrived on Sunday with his son Mateo, who is not yet two years old. After an evening training session, leisurely and reflexive, I turned up at EL PAÍS Room at Massey University, Palmerston NorthSelection base camp in New Zealand. After defeating Costa Rica (3-0), Tomorrow it’s time to travel to Auckland to face Zambia (Wednesday, 9.30, La 2 and RTVE Play), a duel that could mean a ticket for the next round.

ask. Are you more tired, chasing Mathieu or double training sessions these days?

Answer. Not either because when you do something you love…it’s not hard for me, no. Of course, at the end of the day, a few hours of sleep is appreciated, but it’s not a struggle. Plus, I really wanted him to come with Lucia because even though we had a good time doing video calls, we’re not that bad now.

s. In the national team they had a difficult year, since the resignation of 15 players to be called back now for the World Cup dispute …

R was found. It was a tough track. But here we are who we want to be And those who have an end. Things are not forgotten, but we must set them aside knowing that we have a common goal and that we are working towards it.

Irene Paredes during Spain’s first match in the World Cup against Australia and New Zealand, against Costa Rica last Friday.John Copeland (AP)

s. You also left the team for a few months, although you did not sign the email expressing your disagreement and resignation.

R was found. It wasn’t my decision. You are the captain. There were certain things that weren’t right and we had to tell them. That’s why we spoke with Felda [Jorge, el seleccionador] And with the union to give them a common message. I did it with the leaders, because I represented the group. Then things got out in the press, a lot of it that wasn’t true, but it went crazy.

s. Did you feel responsible for how things turned out?

R was found. I was the captain and interlocutor between the group and the federation. This is where my role ended. I had my thoughts, my ideas and my attitudes, but I didn’t express myself because I want the team to improve and win titles.

s. Why didn’t you complete?

R was found. I had talks with the coach and it didn’t affect my performance well. At the beginning it worked and it was good for me because I was able to prepare myself better to have a good season. after, Felda considered that she should be with Spain And here I am.

Irene Paredes, in a training session at the gym in Palmerston North.
Irene Paredes, in a training session at the gym in Palmerston North.Pablo Garcia/RFEF

s. Does it hurt your pride not to wear the bracelet now as it did a few months ago?

R was found. Don’t worry me at all. When they ask me, I do it completely, one hundred percent. In these months, something else has worked and nothing has happened, I won’t change. I’m still the same on and off the field. My actions for wearing the bracelet have never changed.

s. You had to change, because of your health, when you moved from Athletic to Paris Saint-Germain a few years ago.

R was found. It was a very heavy change because of the culture, the language, because I was going alone… Now I see it’s an hour and a half by plane, but it was hard for me. I’ve been at Athletic for five years and I’m not used to the direct, physical style of play, with a team that can win the Champions League. [ese año perdieron al final]. My ambition was to get better. But I became a bit obsessed because I went to Paris because of and for football. Before that, I was studying and playing soccer and it was a busy day. There was football 24/7. And if things don’t go well, the head won’t stop spinning. I had to learn to manage that there are times for everything, and learn to detach. A psychologist who was my wife, a teacher with many resources and was a high performance athlete… She helped me a lot. Then I jumped into fitness and added adaptability, which always adds up.

s. Why was it easy for you to adapt to Barcelona?

R was found. That’s what people told me, but it wasn’t easy because it was a different style, although I knew it a little bit because it’s similar to how you play for the national team.

s. Do you like it or are you uncomfortable with the demands of Barcelona and the defense team, having to press high and play the ball from behind?

R was found. The request makes me have fun. I want to clean the ball and try to play in the opponent’s half. But it is true that we shame ourselves too much with our game model. Sometimes I look back and we have to run 50 meters to avoid a one-on-one race. But these are challenges and I love that again.

s. He also likes to score, he is one of the defenses that has scored the most goals from set pieces…

R was found. Going on the attack with corner kicks or side free kicks is nice sometimes, it feels so good. Plus, I’m clear I finished a lot. And who doesn’t like recording? But if you save a target in a difficult situation, it will also have great value.

s. Is this magnet for auction or train?

R was found. Obviously my size helps touch more balls. But it’s hours, training as well as intuition.

s. And what does your intuition tell you about the match against Zambia?

R was found. They are a very strong team physically, which we didn’t see against Japan, but it comes from the wins against Switzerland and Germany. In transformations she is very good and we must be careful with our losses so that she does not make us run backwards, because she is stronger in that. We have to play what we know, like in the first game, and not think beyond that because that way we will definitely do well.

Choose Zambia, gossip with boots

After being run over in the first period by Japan (0-5), Zambia showed a much reduced version of what was supposed to be. “It was the advantage of the Japanese, who did not allow them to launch any counterattacks,” Ivana and Athena del Castillo of Palmerston said. But they were also a drain on defence, an apathetic team that can be explained by the mistakes that have surrounded them since their arrival in New Zealand.

Although they are the first team from a landlocked African country to qualify for the World Cup, men or women, Zambia is not smiling. They are all noise. The coach, Bruce Mwape, according to The Guardian, is under investigation following allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by several of his players. there are more; Players protest with microphone in hand or even refuse to train due to non-payment by the Federation, because they did not receive the rewards for the previous Tokyo Games. Thus, goalkeeper Hazel Nally admitted that she had invented a cruciate ligament rupture to leave focus, as did Grace Chanda, despite the coaching staff declaring that it was due to injury. Without Nali and Musonda being sent off against Japan, Sakala, the third goalkeeper, will play against Spain.

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