What’s lockdown been like for you?
It’s quite a change from our usual daily lives. It was pretty hard at the beginning. It gets hard because we [footballers] follow a routine.
Have you been able to establish a new routine?
It’s been quite irregular, to be honest. With my wife Natalia at home too, our schedule varies a lot, including the time each of us wakes up. Also, my son is now having online classes. Last week he was on school holidays, so we would sleep in and wake up late. But this week, the online classes are back and we have to be up early to help him. We have two kids, so one of us helps our son with lessons on the computer while the other watches our daughter.
Have you been disciplined about your eating habits?
That’s tough. I’m rather lucky that I don’t have a sweet tooth but I’m a little unrestrained on everything else, so I must keep myself in check. I’ve been trying hard to strike a balance. During quarantine I can slow down a bit but the diet ratio remains the same in terms of carbohydrates, protein, fruit – everything.
The problem is that when boredom takes hold, you feel like eating.
You’re right, but then you have to find something else to do. You must keep your mind busy. I, for instance, got my guitar out again to play and practise. I used to play, but as a learner. Basic stuff, just for fun. The worst part is that the singing doesn’t come off.
Are the children enjoying you playing the guitar?
They stay calm when I play. My son decided that he wants to play as well, so we got him a little guitar and some drums. We call ourselves The Enemies of Rhythm.
You must be dying to play football again.
God, yes. Everybody who does a job that they love misses it when they can’t do it. The routine of going into the dressing room, joking around and all that. And obviously then game day is adrenaline-filled and there’s lots of emotion. After all of this is over, I think we’re going to have learnt a lot. Taking the positive aspects of this experience in order to value what we had before and to value even more what we didn’t have before.
Are you in contact with the rest of the team and the manager?
Yes, we have a WhatsApp group where we keep in touch. Obviously it’s not daily contact, which is normal; people have their routines and some have to look after their children. Until this quarantine started I was a bit glued to my phone, but there’s no way you can do that with the children around. You have to leave your phone to one side and stay with the kids.
Is this an opportunity to spend some quality time with your children?
We are trying to make the most of that luck. My son is calm, he’s more of a home bird; he can sit and play with his Lego and his games and watch TV. On the other hand, my little girl, from the morning onwards, whatever is happening outside she is there. And she starts saying, “Ah, ah, ah!” My God. She’s very independent; she never wants to be inside. If we open the door she heads straight outside and runs after the birds. She’s a character.
So how are you dividing duties with your wife?
She does all the cooking; from time to time, we also have a takeaway. But she likes to cook and she cooks very well. I’m very lucky. She likes to diversify quite a bit. She likes to bake cakes as well and we take a break from the diets. I’m the one who makes breakfast – some scrambled egg, a slice of bread, fruit. She prepares the kids’ dinner but I feed them. I bathe them, put them to bed and prepare the little one’s milk. You see? Don’t underestimate the athlete.
I change nappies, give baths, prepare milk – I do everything. Honestly speaking, I think that is an important part of the upbringing of a child, because it’s a moment where you create a bond with your child. Changing nappies, nursing, giving them a bottle, feeding them: I don’t let any of those moments pass by when I’m with the kids. It’s in these moments that you look your child in the eye and create strong bonds.
And do you have a message for the fans?
First of all, to all the healthcare professionals who are doing everything they can. They are the real heroes. They are there on the frontline, making sacrifices and putting their own lives at risk to save the lives of others, shift after shift. They deserve all the support in the world. They deserve applause every day and not just onThursdays. You can do your part – take the necessary precautions. If you have to stay at home, stay at home, because in doing so, you will help those workers who are already doing so much. Follow the guidelines so that we can all defeat this virus, this crazy situation.
It’s a surreal time.
It was scary at the start because there wasn’t much information. It was almost like a war film: “You have to stay at home, you can’t go outside”; people panic buying and fighting with each other in supermarkets. I just thought, “What’s going on? What will happen?” Then, after a while, everything got calmer and back to a certain level of normality. But all that craziness at the beginning – it was as if the world was going to end.