ARE you sitting comfortably? You are about to listen to an extract taken from my book on Spain and the inside story of La Roja’s historic treble.
This is Chapter Six: English Lessons. During the extract, I describe how some of Spain’s better footballers – Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Alvaro Arbeloa, players easily recognised today – began to extend their horizons beyond the boundaries of their country, and how this helped improve the fortunes of their national side.
Playing abroad had traditionally been a foreign concept for Spanish footballers. But I explain that, for many of the country’s young stars, playing in other European leagues brought opportunities they weren’t getting back home.
British football, in particular, helped La Roja to dominate at the three major tournaments between 2008 and 2012, with Joan Capdevila acknowledging that the Spaniards who played in England learned to become hardy competitors, as well as skilful footballers.
My book on Spain is available in full as an audiobook from the good people at Audible. You can get it absolutely free if you sign up for a 30-day trial membership at audible.co.uk. We will bring you the Making of Pep, an extract from Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World, in a couple of weeks.