Borja Valero gave an unusual interview, covering subjects from family to food and why he really wanted to play basketball.
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“When I met my wife I was 18, but already in our minds we knew that we wanted to become a family,” the Spanish midfielder told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I wasn’t sure whether I was ready to be a father, but when Alvaro was born it all became clear. Nature is wise that way.
“I’ll try to talk to my kids more than my parents did with me. They didn’t have much time, as they were working hard, but fortunately I’ve been able to change nappies, teach my kids respect and not necessarily force them into playing football. I’ll be happy as long as they do some sport and study more than I did.”
Borja Valero reveals he may well like basketball more than football and his idol is Michael Jordan, “someone who leaves you open-mouthed. I loved him so much as to play while thinking I ought to be more like Jordan. I’ve not achieved that yet, but maybe one day!
“He was so certain of himself, you could see in his face how much he wanted to make the difference during a match, then he got the best out of his teammates even though he was capable of winning by himself. There is nothing more important than that in a team sport. Plus he brought joy.
“I always wanted to be a basketball player and was a playmaker in school, but unfortunately my height was a problem.
“I love watching American Football too and wonder how a man who weighs more than 100kg can run 100m in just over 10 seconds?
“Playing golf became almost an illness for me, as I discovered it in Mallorca and played so much I got a 14 handicap. Then my children were born and I dropped to 28. It is a difficult sport, as you get excited the moment you realise a slight improvement, even a sense of joy.
“At West Bromwich I discovered sushi and I love it. I hated the food in England, as I couldn’t stand the inedible pasta and pizza they gave me, so one day I went to a Japanese restaurant and it was like a drug for me.
“Since I’ve been in Florence, steak has been my favourite, although sushi still wins by a small margin. If I eat at home it’s only Spanish food.”
Borja explained he was a courageous child and “only discovered fear about 18 months ago, when doctors told me my mother was very ill and would leave me forever. Since her death I fear only two things: getting old without enjoying life enough and what could happen to my children. Before their birth I thought that was exaggerated, but I now understand full well what people meant.
“I don’t fear injuries, nor embarrassment in a packed stadium. I’ve always slept well before a game. Do I have a dream for the future? Yes, to go hitchhiking in Morocco with my friend Victor, though I’ll wait until after I’ve finished my playing career.”