Albert Español, Marc Minguell and Dani Lopez-Pinedo are three players from C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta (CNAB). With their team they have won the LEN Waterpolo Champions League, the highest title in the history of this club.
Now, Albert, Marc and Dani are concentrated at the CAR of Sant Cugat with the Spanish National Team. They are working together with their peers and their couch, Gaby Hernandez,to prepare the Europeans at Budapest.
We went to the CAR to interview them… And they signed a Water Polo Summer Camps!
Today we bring you the interview we did to Albert Español. And soon we’ll publish the other ones, with Dani and Marc .
We want to thank all three for receiving us and for giving us the signed ball. Thank you boys!
Interview with Albert Español BY YASMINA ARMESTO
1 – How did you get in contact with water polo?
By chance. I was 10 and I was in a summer camp. One day, some staff from C.N. Poble Nou came to do some tests for their water polo team. They told me that they liked me and would call me, but that never happened. And since then i wanted to play water polo, so my mother enroll us, me and my brother, to C.N. Barceloneta. It has been always my team.
2 – At what point did you realize that you can play at the professional level?
From 10 to 13 years I combined water polo with other sports. But the coaches were very demanding and the level was very high. So when I was 13 I left the rest to focus in water polo. With 15, I debuted with the first team and I already knew it was my passion and I wanted to get to the top.
3- You get there with Barceloneta: you won the Champions League at home.
It was a sweet victory. We were candidates and organizers. We wanted to play well and we were very excited, but it was difficult to win. However, we always believed in us. We were a very close team, we worked well together, and that was decisive.
4 – Moreover, you received the MVP, it was a double triumph.
Winning the Champions League was a dream that we had in our mind, but MVP was not a thing that I had on my mind. I was only aware of the competition. So win the MVP of the LEN Champions League was the best climax, it was like a gift.
5- What is your favorite memory the competition?
I remember with emotion the last minute of the final. The moment in which you realize that the cup is already yours, in which you understand that you will win the Champions League. That was a great moment. But I also remember the semi-finals. The opponent was very strong, so beat them was also very nice.
6-Now you’re with the National Team, how we will see Albert Español?
A few years ago I had a more secondary role. But now there is greater convergence between what I do in the club, and in the National Team. The National Team is always very demanding and puts you over the limit. People prepare the competition very well and very strong because the rivals are the best players of the best clubs. So I will give the 100%.
7-You are in the same club and National Team with Dani López-Pinedo and Marc. Together everywhere. How is it?
We enjoy it. I compare us with college friends who spend a lot of time together, laughing and enjoying. We are always making jokes, in good humor, and that’s very nice. Because the people of our age, due to the routine and their works, have lost this kind of relationships; and we do not. I love it.
8- You’ve completely dedicated your youth to water polo, do you feel that you have lost some things?
Many! With 15 or 16, you’re a bit frustrated because you cannot go traveling to celebrate the end of the school, or you can’t go out with your friends on Friday. So you cannot do what it’s ‘normal’ at your age. But you do other things that are unique and that other people can never do, like going to the Olympics. I would not change anything of my youth.
9 – If you weren’t water polo player, how would be your life?
I would be an industrial engineer, which is what I’ve studied. When my water polo career will end, I would not mind starting something totally different, like being an engineer. Water polo is my life and my profession, but I’ve done a really hard degree, so I would like to use it someday.
10 – Would you work in water polo as a coach or trainer?
If I had the opportunity, of course yes. I don’t close doors to anything and less when it comes to water polo.
11- It is said that FINA and LEN will amend the regulation to make “water polo more attractive”…
I humbly believe that it is not the way. I don’t think that changing the rules will make more people followwater polo. It is already a beautiful sport to watch. Maybe on TV is a little slow, but watch a live match amazes all who see it for the first time. The water polo promotion goes for other actions such as internet broadcasting, talk about it in the media, or socialization and awareness of the people. It is not about game rules.
12 – What do you think of BIWPA’s camps?
It seems a very good initiative. When I was a child, I came to train in CAR on holidays. Train in summer makes you improve your game very much. You train with very good players and coaches, and you work hard. So at the end of the summer, when you return to your club, it is easy to see who have had that preparation and who not. So I recommend it.
13 – What advice would you give to kids who want to go far in the world of water polo?
Where there’s a will there’s a way. If you struggle to get what you really want, you have many chances to get it. But you have to want by all means. To say ‘I want this’ is easy. What really makes a difference is to fight, train hard every day. Work hard, be persistent and believe in yourself. That’s the way to get it.
14 – Albert Thanks for your time, and make us fit into your busy routine. We wish you all the luck!
It has been a pleasure, thank you.