The following is an interview published in L’Equipe (by Frédéric Bernès) on Friday 27 December 2013 with the legendary Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, fellow countryman of Rafael Nadal. Julio and Rafa are friends and fans of each other. Read what the always-delightful Julio has to say about their friendship and their similarities. If there ever was a true Rafan, Julio is it!
L’Equipe: Where does this friendship between you and Rafael Nadal come from?
Julio Iglesias: First, I was on friendly terms with his uncles, especially the one who played for the national team [Miguel Angel]. Rafa must have been 17 years old. I adore Rafa. It’s so nice because he’s at an age when, normally, they’re not interested in what I sing. But, that’s not the most important thing in our friendship.
L’Equipe: What is then?
Julio Iglesias: What draws us to each other is the fire for our job. I can see a passion in him that resembles mine. He wants to do every match well, just like I want to do every concert well, he doesn’t want to fail a point, just like I don’t want to fail a song. We have forged a very strong friendship. We phone each other or we send text messages all the time. I watch almost every match on tv. Each time, I talk to him and we always end up talking about that passion.
L’Equipe: Recently, Nadal was voted as the greatest Spanish sports personality in history by internet users of Marca. Would you have voted for him?
Julio Iglesias: What else would I have done? Indurain was formidable. Ballesteros as well. Di Stefano is an icon of my team (at the juniors, Julio was a goalkeeper of Real Madrid), but you can no longer compare them to Rafa. If he continues at this level, Rafa will enter a universal sports hall of fame with Pelé, Ali, Jordan, Lewis… Together with all those unforgettable sportspeople. Those people will never die. In fifteen years time, he will have a strong role in sports. He will be a master, a guide. Politics? No, he won’t have that problem. Luckily for him (laughs).
L’Equipe: It’s odd because we would think that you would rather be more sensitive to the style of Federer. A matter of elegance.
Julio Iglesias: I don’t care about Federer (laughs). Well, he’s a great player but when he plays against my son (laughs), I can’t prefer him.
L’Equipe: Your son?
Julio Iglesias: I would have loved to be his father although, to feel young again (he’s 70 years old), I would have preferred to be his brother. Mind you, I do have great sons!
L’Equipe: You’re both big Real Madrid supporters. Have you ever watched a match together?
Julio Iglesias: Never. But we’re both honorary members of the team. When he arrives in a tournament abroad, Rafa will immediately find out where he can watch the Real match. I do exactly the same thing when I’m on tour.
L’Equipe: One day, you borrowed Nadal’s “españolismo”. What is that about?
Julio Iglesias: He loves his country! The Spanish flag has always been attached to his life. He still lives in Spain. I have been living in the United States for 30 years now. He’s the totally pure example of a Spaniard who does things in a very Spanish way. He’s Spanish from his head to his toes.
L’Equipe: What if he represented one of your songs?
Julio Iglesias: That would be “la Vida sigue igual”, the first ever I’ve written in my life. It says that there’s always a good reason to live and to fight. Always a reason to be better.
L’Equipe: Who is the best known Spaniard in the world: Julio or Rafa?
Julio Iglesias: Rafa. Sure, it’s him. Yesterday, it was him. The day before that, it was him. I was never more beautiful than he is.
Source: Frédéric Bernès/L’Equipe
Translated by Moondancer @ Vamos Brigade.