Dani carvajal (Legans, January 11, 1992) Every corner of La Ciudad del Ftbol is known. He came to her more than a decade ago and very soon it was known in the Federation that he was a side to mark a time. However, more than seven years after his debut with the senior team (September 2014) his caps count is only 25. Injuries are responsible for a number that squeaks for a four-time champion of the league. Champions. Now he is back after overcoming a long dark period of injuries from which he has emerged with many changed habits and the dream of living his best moments with Spain.
Question. How is the stock of broccoli in your fridge?
Answer. [Risas] Well well. I already commented the other day that I have changed quite a few things in my diet. It is doing me quite well and I am comfortable in something that is already normal for me.
P. Has it cost you a lot to face that change?
R. When you want to do something, it doesn’t cost that much. It is about changing the routines a bit, but if you feel that you need it, it is really simple.
Q. That change in diet is yours alone or also of those around you?
R. The one who has changed the most is my wife. We almost always eat together and he told me that he would accompany me so that I would not do it alone. And that helps.
Q. What has changed the most about your diet?
R. Well, no gluten. That has been taken away from me in a radical way. I don’t eat red and white meat, fish, vegetables, fruit … Normal things for athletes. The most important thing is the elimination of gluten, although later I have more personalized things.
Q. At what point do you say I have to change?
R. Food is one more door of all the traffic of last year. But not only that: routines before training, after training, recovery in the afternoons, how to face and take training … All that influences.
P. That is the face of the elite athlete that people do not see, every day off the field.
A. That is the part that people know least. In the end, you spend almost 24 hours on performance. But, above all, we are lucky.
Q. Does the way you rest also change?
A. It is clear. The change in nutrition helps you rest better. It is the invisible training. Rest is very important for the body to recover and manage efforts.
Q. Everything is in the physical. And mentally?
R. That is fundamental. You can throw all the doors you want, but if the head does not have a positive mentality and you do not go forward … If you train worried about having good sensations, it is your mind that can cause you an injury from telling you so much that you are not well , although at a medical level that is not the reality.
Q. Does that happen to you?
R. It reached a point where the head influenced me a lot. So much relapse affects you a lot. It is that you do not see yourself. I’d come home and say no and no, that I wasn’t feeling well even if I wasn’t. It was my wife who suffered it.
Q. Did she have to put up with a lot?
A. Quite a lot. The truth is that it is to put a monument to it. Also, the year our son was born. She knows that when I’m injured it’s complicated, that it changes my mood. He did not have the smile from ear to ear with which I now come home.
P. Dani Carvajal conveys the feeling of being super demanding with himself. Those?
R. It is true, as is. Lots of people tell me. My coaches have told me that I set the bar very high for myself. They tell me that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, to play, to enjoy doing what I know. But I am like that, it is impossible that he does not demand me playing football. It’s my way of understanding it, because I want to be better every day. I demand a lot of myself, maybe too much.
Q. Have you needed the help of professional psychologists?
R. In the club we have people who have helped me in that field. The psychological aspect was one more door to close. It is important.
P. It is a topic that is talked about a lot: Simone Biles, here Iigo Martinez’s resignation to the Euro …
R. It is important to know that if you cannot contribute 100%, there is someone else who can. Although a footballer is very good, if he is at 60 or 80% it is not worth in the elite, because any team is capable of scratching you points.
P. Injuries, physical and mental fatigue … Do we have to face the calendar issue at once?
R. You have to review it. It is very, very demanding. We have games every three days, national team windows with three games in less than a week, trips to South America … It’s crazy.
Q. Is it talked about a lot in the locker room?
R. Yes, yes. It’s complicated. Squads are getting bigger because of that, because you can’t perform at your best every so often.
P. Is little heard from footballers in the offices?
R. We may have to take the lead sometimes. Thiabaut recently [Courtois] I made it clear when talking about third and fourth place in the Nations League. You don’t have to put a limit on the calendar, you have to adjust it, because in the end it is football that loses.
Q. Let’s talk about the selection. What did you feel when you re-entered the City of Football?
A. I have enjoyed myself like a dwarf, almost like when I came for the first time. I was even nervous. I am very excited to see everyone again. I am very excited to defend this shirt again, to help the national team from within.
Q. Watching the national team from home, did you feel anger, helplessness …?
A. A bit of all that. When you don’t play, it’s the worst. The Euro was a goal he had. But that’s it. You cannot live looking at the past. What I think about is Greece, which will be a tough battle.
P. But it is that the year of 2020 was the year of the Euro, you were walking like never before and the pandemic arrived.
R. Yes, but things come as they come. Now to think about the future, the present and helping the team. One of my goals is to reach a final phase well.
Q. We talk a lot about Sweden, but on Thursday …
A. The party is Greece. He is a tough opponent, away from home, with his people, with options for them to be second. Without winning that game we will have almost no options to go directly to the World Cup.
Q. And with a lot of casualties.
R. We have commented on it in the dressing room, let it go with those who have fallen over the weekend. But the master has a lot to choose from due to the quality that exists in Spain. The team is very competitive. It was seen in the Nations League, where with significant losses we were nowhere near being champions.
Q. I imagine you have friends who are very Madrid fans.
R. [Risas] S,s.
Q. Have you had to explain many times that Luis Enrique is not an anti-Madridista?
R. When I have heard that opinion I have tried to explain that not much less. The master tries to have the people who best believe will help him with what he wants, regardless of the team in which he plays. That has proven it. It is his way, his philosophy and his idea.
P. You have always counted on.
A. That’s right. And I appreciate it. Like what he said about me at the press conference on the day of the list. I hope it stays that way.
Q. Can you imagine a World Cup without Spain?
A. Not to-day and we must work together so that this does not happen.
Q. You remember the last play-off that Spain played.
R. Well, the truth is that no. And better not to live another.
Q. Let’s go to white. Feelings upon reaching this last break of the year?
R. It is something that spoke when arriving with Koke. The previous one caught them after beating Bara and Milan and slowed them down a bit. Now it suits them. Our streak is cut short, but for those who have less demanding matches than Spain, it can come in handy and stop a bit.
P. Speaking of demand, the Bernabu …
R. It is the most demanding stadium in the world. We have not been able to be well in several games in the 90 minutes and the stadium has made this noticeable.
Q. Do you rule out Barcelona in LaLiga?
R. Not much less. When Zidane came we were 12 points behind Barcelona and we finished one, squeezing them until the last game.
Q. You have played with and against Xavi. What does their arrival suppose?
A. A sure change. The arrival of a figure like Xavi for Barcelona will fill them with hope. Even if he is a rival, I wish him all the luck in the world, not against us (se re), because he is a fellow professional.
Q. You would like Madrid to be spoken of with the respect that is done from your club, Ancelotti, you …, of rivals.
R. That goes with the people and each club. We respect all rivals. As the master said, we are surprised to see Bara so far back, but no one can rule them out for any title. Respect is essential. The teams have better and worse moments, but everything comes out of it.
Q. What do you think when you see this Vinicius?
R. That is like a shot, that flies. He is helping us a lot: short, long, with goals … He is the fittest player on the team. And an example of mental strength. He was criticized a lot for the lack of goal, for the mistake. And what he did was throw everything on his back and pull forward. And there it is.
Q. You are already a veteran in that locker room. How is that mixture of people so young and with the most veteran?
R. It is a transition in which we have been at the club for a long time, very young people with people like Luka or before Sergio who have been around for a long time. It is doing well. The youngest are soaking up what the club is and what it means. It is important, because they are the future.
Q. You can compare that process with that of selection.
R. All teams live those transition times, here too. But it has been seen that with such young people it has been close to two titles.
Q. Do you speak with Sergio Ramos?
R. Yes, we recently spoke. He told me that I was close to the final stretch to get back. I think after the break it will be there. Let’s see if he’s lucky and we’ll enjoy his football again.
Q. Has it been strange for you to come to the national team and not have the presence of Ramos?
A. It’s weird. I have seen many new faces, very young people. I think if you do it right, you will come back.
Q. Did you see him well mentally?
R. Yes, calm and sure of what you have to do to avoid injuring yourself more.
P. Among those new faces of the team there is a 17-year-old boy.
R. S, Gavi. We hugged when we saw each other. It has a lot of merit that a boy of that age is in the absolute. No one has given him anything. He has given the level in his club and in the selection. I played two games and very well. The master is performance based and he has given it.
Q. Another new one is RdT. Why do strikers who arrive at the national team leave Madrid but after leaving the club, like Morata, Negredo, Soldado …?
R. Joselu … Being a forward for Madrid is not easy due to the level of competition. It is impossible for Karim to take away his position. But there are the forwards who come out of the house and are in great teams.
P. We are finishing. Does Carvajal understand VAR?
R. Well. There are controversial decisions. In the Euro we only saw one very intervention play, Sterling’s penalty. The referee was given a lot of power, little contacts were not checked. At a super slow camera it is difficult to value and the essence of football is lost, it is not the same as real speed. But I think that this year we have taken a leap in quality and we are going to improve more.