“Faster, higher, stronger – together” – the motto of the Games is revised
Real Madrid midfielder and former Arsenal player Dani Ceballos relishes the prospect of teaming up with Spain’s Olympic head coach Luis de la Fuente in Tokyo, having previously worked with him at the Under-19 level years.
Spain come to the Olympic Games in Tokyo as one of the favorites for the gold medal, given that De la Fuente was able to call on six players who reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 with the senior national team.
The names of their star-studded lineup would be enough to scare off any Olympic opposition as they included Pedri, Unai Simon, Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Eric Garcia and Pau Torres.
As players on the pitch paint an attractive picture that could see Spain win their second gold medal and the first since 1992, Ceballos spoke about how his relationship with De la Fuente could help him thrive.
“I had excellent coaches, but with Luis [de la Fuente] we have a different relationship. We have bonded very well since the first tournament (European Under-19 Championship in 2015), “the former Arsenal midfielder said at Tuesday’s press conference.
“From there, we forged a great relationship. He gave me confidence and I was lucky enough to give it back to him on the pitch.”
De la Fuente’s men start their campaign against Egypt on Thursday ahead of subsequent games against Argentina and Australia and Ceballos, who has played 49 times during his two-year loan spell at Arsenal, is aware of the various challenges. that the Games offer.
“It’s a completely different competition from what we footballers are used to. It’s a unique opportunity,” he said.
“It’s really hard to qualify because there are a lot of requirements that are really hard to meet. But this team has done a lot to deserve it, and now is the time to take advantage. “
The young Barcelona Pedri did not lose a pass in normal times during the semi-final of Euro 2020 against Italy and created 11 chances in the tournament, one more than his teammate Olmo (10) and one less than the first Jordi Alba (12).
Both will be Ceballos teammates and the midfielder has congratulated all of his colleagues as they prepare to attempt to recreate the heroism of 1992 that sealed Olympic success at home in Barcelona.
“We have a very good team. On paper I think we can be among the favorites, but in reality there are a lot of fantastic national teams. On the pitch it will be different,” he said. declared.
“Playing at these Olympic Games has been a special dream and I read what happened during these [the 1992] tournament. Especially in the final, that there were extra times and that Spain won against Poland with a goal from Kiko Narvaez.
“I hope we can repeat what they did in their day.”
Like Ceballos, De la Fuente spoke with pride of leading his nation at the Games, while he also raised the possibility of following in the footsteps of those at Barcelona 1992.
“It’s a pride to be here. It’s a different feeling from other tournaments because the Olympics are unique. It’s a totally special experience, and we want to start enjoying it as a competition and living it. ‘Olympic environment. “said the head coach.
“We feel the same as they felt, a great desire to start competing, a great belief that we have a great team to compete for everything. And we feel able to fight for the maximum. I’m sure that we feel what they felt.
“We will try to live up to the standards expected of us, and I am sure we will perform at that level and meet the expectations we create.”