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The Spanish National Football Squad

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2010

Speech by Vicente del Bosque, coach of the The Spanish National Football Squad:

Your Majesty,

Your Highnesses,

Distinguished and Illustrious Authorities,

Distinguished Laureates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Football has formed part of our daily lives for more than 100 years now and is inexorably linked to the hopes and desires of millions of Spaniards. We speak about it so often and so fervently that it is like just another member of the family. People talk about football before and after the games are played; before and after championships start and end; and there is no place where its presence is not felt. Football leaves no-one indifferent, nor is it a matter of no consequence.

We are, therefore, beneficiaries of a certain status, of certain privileges and responsibilities that cannot be ignored. We lead and give voice to a universal phenomenon whose significance cannot be denied, one which encourages us to strive to be better each day. Since 1920 to the present day, the Spanish football squad has acted as a focus for the feelings of generations of supporters who have accompanied the national team in their joys and sorrows, in their victories and defeats, never forsaking them, knowing that what a small number defended was sought by many.

The squad that today receives the Prince of Asturias Award is the depository of a number of values that go beyond specific victories and their material aspects, while also being the rightful heir to a tradition that does us honour. These values are of an enduring nature with determining characteristics: effort, sacrifice, talent, discipline, solidarity and modesty. The players who have won the World Cup have been loyal to these principles and to those of fair play and honour. Defending these values, they achieved the final victory. It would have not been possible otherwise.

Spain’s success in South Africa has been the reward for all this, but it is also the result of the players’ conviction that they were doing what was best and their faith in their approach to football. At no time at all were we lacking in either one or the other. We were aware that only in this way would we be capable of overcoming the adversities and difficulties that might arise and thus achieve the goal we had set ourselves.

The squad feels deeply satisfied with its accomplishment and extremely proud of having been able to respond to the faith that millions of Spaniards placed in it. The group that I represent possesses all the virtues that a coach could ever hope for. The unforgettable victory that they afforded us in South Africa will go down in history and enshrines the humility of a group of footballers who have made modesty as powerful a weapon as their own dazzling game.

Finally, I wish to make special mention of the support we received in South Africa, first and foremost from Her Majesty the Queen and Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Asturias. Our gratitude to them for their support and faith in us.

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