London, February 16 (EFE). The aftertaste that leaves reading Oriole Romeo (Oldicona, Tarragona, 1991) is just meeting someone who is happy, optimistic and above all very sincere. Sometimes he seems too outspoken to continue the activity. He’s not shy when it comes to talking about money, unnecessary luxuries, and mistakes. Not even love. Nor is it cut out on paper and his life, the life of an ordinary person, with a touch of football, is summed up in his book An Unforgettable Season.
The ink and paper allows Romeo to express himself off the field, giving his vision of good times and bad, giving advice as if it were passing and dissecting what his life was like, before the birth of his first son, Zach, in May last year.
Question: Does having a baby change a footballer?
Answer: a lot. Personally, I haven’t been very good at making wins and defeats relative, especially defeats, which take them home a lot and find it hard to turn the page. Now, with a little kid in the house, it’s even more comfortable. The chip arrived and something else. When you spend time with him you forget the good and the bad that happened in the game.
Q: In the book you describe many of the activities you do: French, Japanese, meditation, podcasts, writing, investments…Does the interest arise from the free time the footballer has or could these fears also exist if not. R?
A: Having free time definitely helps you set different goals. Afternoon workouts are tough, but they don’t stop you from doing extra activities. But there are many footballers who have time and do not decide to use it in this way. It also depends on what time it catches you. This year, I’m doing a lot less because I prefer to prioritize and spend more time with the baby and with my wife. But it is clear that without our free time, with the ease of schedules, it would be much more complicated.
Q: In the book you ask the reader what he would do if he had five months to live. Will you keep playing until the last day?
A: Absolutely yes, because I want to become a footballer so that my body lasts. Going out into a field full of people every weekend fills me up a lot. It has a handicap that maybe you can’t be close to your family, you live in another country, far from the people you value so much. Being with your group every day, who are more friends than colleagues, is very nice. All those who have retired stress this: “Enjoy it as long as it lasts, the reality of the competition is unique.” The ideal thing is to be able to keep playing while getting close to my people.
Q: The book begins as a diary, but offers tips, recommendations, and everything in a very optimistic tone.
A: I’ve had some problems using this stand. When you’re in the locker room, you see kids who have those fantasies, you see them behaviors you had, and now, on the outside, you see them differently. I wanted to use this experience to show what I was doing before and what I’m doing now. How to deal with victories, losses, criticism and praise. Now I see it has helped me a lot and I hope others see themselves reflected too and that helps them. I consider myself an optimist, although I doubted myself many times. I’m an optimist, but I’m always ready for the hosts to come along. I do not climb the vine, but my feet on the ground.
Q: I have noticed that you are happy with the little things.
A: And that wasn’t the case before, she had more material goals, and now, looking at it with perspective, you realize that the nice thing is not to have a better room, or a better piece of furniture than another, but the fact of being able to spend time The afternoon is free, and you have the energy to go for a walk, spend a moment with your partner, with your son. I really love to eat and I really enjoy just being able to go out to dinner one day a week.
I think writing also makes you realize what you like and don’t like. If you don’t stop thinking about what filled you for a day or a week, you don’t know what makes you happy. Many times with the basics more than enough.
Q: Type help in the field?
A: A Russian psychologist, who has a book called Flow, explains that most people, when they are “in the zone” or immersed in a fairly complex activity, and can accumulate activities of this kind, develop higher levels of happiness. The fact of writing, sitting on a piece of paper, coming to a conclusion and developing it in an understandable way, is a moment in which you must focus, not be distracted, and find a solution. I think there is a connection with football. When you’re on the field, you have to know how to control every moment, when you lose a ball, when you concede a goal. These sensations are very similar, as it happens with others such as meditation or other sports.
Q: Can’t a soccer player compare himself to others?
A: It is not easy, no. Last week we played with Manchester United, and for me we played better than them and we have a team 10 times less. And you ask yourself, why did they go through a career in which they won the World Cup and the champions and you are playing against them and there is not much difference? Because the truth is that they definitely had more consistency, they were in important moments on a higher level. But treating footballers humility is hard to do. When you play week after week against top players you think ‘Yes, they are good, but I can compete with them too’.
So you ask yourself, “Why did they play European Championships and the World Cup and I didn’t?” This is the frustration that you should know how to deal with because it is toxic.
Q: And do you know how to deal with it?
A: Depending on who you compare yourself to, your satisfaction or happiness is greater or less. In the U19 team, I compared myself to other players and saw myself at the same level, but in the long run they were much better than I was. But I’m not throwing anything at me about how I’ve managed these years. I don’t think “I could have done more”. This feeling of remorse, because others have gone above and beyond, is greatly diminished when you look back and think you did the right thing. I think regret will come to those who look back and think “Ugh, I wasted five years of my career because of x or because of y.”
Q: In the book you mention several occasions when you apologize to your classmates. Is it easy to correct in the locker room?
A: It depends, I think because you don’t see much and people aren’t used to you doing that, the answer is nicer. I’ve spent some nights thinking about a reaction I had with a colleague. I went the next morning, apologized to him and told him that my reaction was disproportionate. This, far from putting you in a worse situation, brings you closer to him. He understands you more, because he sees that you accept your mistake.
Manuel Sanchez Gomez