ANDl August 29, 2009, the glasgow rangers won at Ibrox in hamilton on the third day of Scottish Premier League. Despite losing 4-1, a defender was named the best visiting player. “Luis, you have to go through the press room.” That Luis who was approached by the press officer of the modest the acces He is now the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

“If they hadn’t chosen me as the best player on my team, nobody would have known it was my last game. It was decided and I announced it in the press room, ”he recalls. Luis Rubiales with BRAND in the grass of ibroxin which he ended his long phase as a player.

The cry of seagulls over the stadium on the Protestant side of Glasgow takes Rubiales to time travel. “I remember that from training, like the rain, which erased the lines on the field”, recalls Rubiales.

What did Rubiales miss after so many years in the fields of Spain? “Peace, that’s what I was looking for. Peace and tranquillity. Coming off two very difficult years. Bankruptcy laws, permanent demands on our wages… There was hardly a day when there wasn’t a problem, where a player didn’t arrive who had their house repossessed or their car stolen. I wanted calm in the last years of my career. I was attracted to the UK, its culture, its football, to improve my English and that my daughters were bilingual”.

I was looking for peace and quiet. He came from two very difficult years. Bankruptcy laws, permanent claims on our wages

The adventure lasted a few summer weeks, when the sun shone in the Scottish skies, but rarely the rain did not appear. From Spain came chants for changes in the AFE and many pleas for Rubiales to lead the movement.

your 32nd birthday

Luis Rubiales He had decided: he would hang up his boots and return to Spain. The game against Rangers on 29 August would be their last. That week, his parents and wife traveled to hamilton, just 10 miles from Glasgow to celebrate its 32nd birthday. In those days he told them what he was going to do. “It was not easy. I remember everything I talked about with them, especially with my father, ”he recalls.

And so came August 29, the last day of short selling for Luis Rubiales. Yesterday, he sat in the same changing room where he last wore his boots, passed by the press room where he announced that he would never play professionally again and stepped onto the lawn of Ibrox Park, the Rangers’ home, to recreate their last battle. Because the game was spicy despite the 4-1, and a good part of it was put on by Luis rubials.

“I knew it was my last game. I’ve always been a disciplined, experienced, fighting player. But that day, which was the farewell, I even played pipe. David Weir -points to the green area of ​​the piece-, who was captain of Rangers and also of the Scottish national team. He didn’t take it very well and responded with a very hard tackle. He got messed up.”

I’ve always been a disciplined, experienced and fighter player. But that day, which was the farewell, I even played pipe

Although the Scottish accent was a challenge for Rubiales, what the Ibrox crowd sang did not escape him. With a smile, the president of the Federation remembers that moment. “The whole crowd started singing Calvete, naughty, look at the scoreboard. It was funny. I never had any problems with the rival crowd, but we entered into a wordless challenge that was fun. The truth is that I had a great time” .

Wood, liniment…

Luis Rubiales walks around the street corners ibrox and the memories come back. “In that room next to the locker room, I remember the smell of liniment coming off,” he explains. Of the match against the 55-times Scottish League champions and 34-times Cup champions, Rubiales’ memory runs much deeper than his resentment of weir or the fury of some fans who, after the match, did not bury the ax with the Spaniard, Hamilton’s 3rd. “It was the number they gave me. Tradition is very respected here, so as I was a left-back they gave me that number.”

From the heart of the Protestant stadium, rubials look at the moment he entered the cabin. “The first thing that caught my eye was a changing room lined with wood. Everything you see breathes football, the many years and games that have passed here. And that generates respect for you. Respect for the club, for the city, towards football . Going out to warm up and that there are already 50,000 people filling the field causes an impact”, comments while the employee of the guards who is opening doors and entrances for Ibrox plays with Rubiales.

Everything you see in Ibrox breathes football

He said goodbye to football. His decision was irrevocable. But there was another part, that of the team that had signed him. “I will always be grateful. They even offered me the chance to work for them for a period. ‘Hey, why don’t you scout us in Spain and we continue to make a contract with you for two, three or four years,’ they suggested It’s a small team, modest, but like a family. What happens is that my mind was already on other things. They were really difficult days. It’s not easy to leave football. I listened to my family. My father is like me, insistent if we believe that we can help to make a decision. But, despite everything, I was clear and meditated”.

destination for offices

thousands of kilometers from Spain and after playing just four games in Scotland – three in League and one in the Cup – Luis Rubiales decided to leave behind the calm he had found and return to the battle of players who have gone through the worst moment. “Arriving here was like a haven of peace. Here there were no financial problems, a more humble club, another economy… All I thought about was training. That calm effect, that peace, allowed me to reflect in a way that until then I hadn’t could, because in Spain even holidays went hand in hand with problems and inconvenience”.

This tranquility of being able to see things with another prism led him to change course. “I was able to focus on everything that happened to me in the last two years of my career. When the platform was created, which he initially led xavi olive, who was with me after, many players called me. They told me I had to move on. So I said to myself, let’s go,” says Luis Rubiales.

More than 14 years have passed since then. Luis Rubiales visited the field yesterday where he took his last shots on the ball as a professional. His eyes shine when he remembers that game, in which the only goal scored by academic Hamiltonwork of Mark McLaughlin, headed for Rubiales’ pass. remember the brothers passiontwo Portuguese from the team, from the training camps surrounded by endless green…

It was a short time, but rubials He has fond memories of Scotland: “It’s a country where football is a culture, a passion. A way of life.”