Rafael Gimenez Jarque, better known as Fali (12-08-1993, Valencia), is central in Cadiz and played, among others, in Barcelona B and Nastic. Despite being the leader of the Second Division, his pulse does not tremble with the possibility of resuming training and competition: either there is zero risk, and insured in writing by the institutions, or he stands up and does not play. He attends to AS to explain a position that he has already shared with its president, Manolo Vizcaino.
Before analyzing the football scene. How are you and how are your family?
Well, luckily we are all fine. But what is happening outside affects us all.
How do you handle confinement?
Well, here, like everyone, locked up. Pulling and being at home. We remain privileged. Taking it in the best possible way even if it is a little overwhelming.
And how do you manage to train?
I have a stationary bike, cane it and exercise alone. I’m trying to get in shape and get to the preseason in shape. But competing is competing and all this is very complicated, it requires a thousand by one thousand and any player knows it and it is very complicated to be good at doing sit-ups and cycling. Very difficult to be at 100%.
How do you keep in touch with the rest of the team?
We talk a lot for WhatsApp, We have held meetings to see how each of us is doing. We are a spectacular human team (leaders in Second) and we are looking forward to starting everything, always with health ahead.
There has been an agreement between CSD, RFEF and LaLiga to return to training soon. At that meeting the footballers were absent. Surprised?
I have found out that maybe on May 4 or 11 we were going to start training. I have refused; I will not train. I’m not going to play. I have it very clear from the beginning. I know they call me crazy, but I have it very clear from the beginning.
Health always comes first and, if it is true that they are 100% sure that we are not going to be exposed to the virus, sign a piece of paper for us. If something happens to any soccer player, something happens to them too. Let their lives also be ruined a little because our lives are ruined. Do they not understand that if something happens to us, our family will have that pain the rest of their lives in the soul? If they sign that piece of paper, I play soccer 100% safe. Let them ruin their lives if they ruin me because soccer is not an essential job. Soccer will return sooner or later, but that it returns when the health is well.
It seems that he is clear.
If not, let them say that players can take the COVID-19 and see which players want to play and who doesn’t. But they are not saying it. They are just saying the protocol. Health is worth more than all the millions that move in soccer in the world. We have to put ourselves before this.
“I have refused to train as early as May 4. Soccer will return, but lives will not”
undefinedTo whom have you transferred your position?
Only the President, and now you. And if it is true that we do not have any risk, you do not have to mind signing such a paper.
What did Manuel Vizcaino say to him?
The president was convincing me to be calm, but he doesn’t confirm anything to me. I am not going to put my health and that of my family before some people who want to try to force me to play soccer when it is not an essential job. That I do not help anyone. To who? People to have fun because they see us play. Those people may also go without watching soccer. No one dies for not watching soccer. And yes we can die for playing or people can die because of us. And that Fali will not consent. I have it clear. If I have to go home to work at my bar, I leave with my head held high, my head calm and happier than anyone. And I hope everyone knows that.
Have you contacted the unions to get their opinion across?
I’m talking to ON Soccer players, who seem to be the only ones who are understanding me. They are the only ones who think like me. Let them say that we can play and sign us a piece of paper that they are 100% safe and that they are ruined. But since they are going for the money, they surely don’t want to lose money in their life. If they sign, Fali will play. And we will play all the players without anything happening. I bet whatever you want that they don’t. It is impossible.
What have the Captains of Cadiz transferred to you from the meetings with AFE?
We were talking in groups and I already said that I was not going to play. They say I’m crazy, but we crazy people sometimes have two fingers in front of us. In these things you have to be very careful. I’m not going to put anyone at risk because of me. If I have to go home to eat a bologna sandwich, it will make me fat because my conscience will be very calm. I’m not going to put anyone’s life at risk because of me. Not a joke.
What do you think of the LaLiga protocol to return to training?
I haven’t listened to him because I don’t believe in him. When they sign what I ask, I will read the protocol from top to bottom, letter by letter. But I know no because I have been told no. I just know it’s impossible.
So if there is no paper signed on May 4, you will not go to train?
Insurance. I’m not going to play or anything. And everyone will see it. And even if they fine me. Since I do not have social networks, I have no way to let everyone know. That Fali is not going to play; It will not put any person at risk. And less to my family.
Are there cases of contagion within your team?
To my knowledge we have had no one.
The protocol, in its phases three and four (group and collective training) talks about concentrating them in a sports city or in hotels. What do you think?
I don’t see it as logical at all. Soccer is physical and mental. Mentally, you can’t spend three weeks in the room without someone like they want. But that would have to be endured, seeing the players who decide … I have no idea about that because I am not going to pay any attention to it. I want you to tell me the truth first. And it’s not worth 90%. All the people who don’t have an essential job should be at home holding the pull. We are the same as them and we have to do the same. We don’t have to compare ourselves to anyone. And since it is not an essential job, we have to stay at home.
“If I have to go to my bar or home to eat bologna, with my head up”
Professionals are also afraid of injury after this break.
I said that every two days it is impossible to play a soccer game. Every three days, well: Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday … The big teams are more or less used to the Champions League. And we, it is true that it is sacrificed because the temperatures are very high. But hey, if we have to make an exception, if the public asks us and what we like is this, we would have to adapt, but as long as health is assured.
Suso (Seville) said that you still had to think about the next league and that this one ended. What do you think?
Suso said that if there was a 1% chance of catching us, the League had to be ended. And I have no idea of finishing the League: if it has to end like this, cancel it, upload the first two, start in October as Casillas said … I don’t get into that anymore. But soccer has to be resumed, because sooner or later soccer will return, but human lives are the ones that do not return. Let’s see if we find out at once.
Some people think that he says it because Cadiz is the first in Second and so, if the competition is canceled, he raises without having to play more …
The Fali does not want that. Fali wants to compete and it has been seen that the club always wants to win on the pitch. And if the League has to come in three or four months, well, nothing … If efforts are needed, they are made. But always with health ahead.
That is to say, that it also puts health before promotion.
For me, the most convenient thing could be for us to go straight or to play for Almeria, but I say no. If it has to be done, it is done. But if you have to play again, you play. And if the season has to be canceled, it is canceled. And when the League returns, let us be 100% the players sure that nothing will happen. That I am not going to touch an opponent in danger or that I am going to infect a partner. The Fali wants to ascend or not to ascend, from the first moment on the pitch, for everything, because of their hobby. What can not be done with a hobby? Alone? We will try. You have to compete, but without risks. I am not an advantageist. We have to play on the grass and the decisions have to be made by them; That is why they are there in that position.
Is this the most complicated situation you have ever experienced?
Yes, more complicated and more angry. Do they call me crazy when I’m thinking about the health of others? Are we really going to play for money? Maybe that’s why, because since I don’t have anything in my case it’s easy. For me a person’s health is worth more than all the millions in the world. And I repeat: I will not expose anyone; Neither my family nor anyone else because of me. It’s very clear to me. The madman has to say this because I am very angry. I have courage that you don’t see.
“The promotion? If the League has to be canceled, go ahead. This has to stop”
Is it because you have lived a case complicated by the coronavirus?
Thanks God no. But seeing all the people there, I put myself in their shoes, you know? More than 20,000 deceased. And it is not only the 20,000 deceased. It is the pity that he leaves these families for all their remaining life. We do not give importance to them, but it is the grief that they have left for the loss of that person so close: grandparents, parents … They will not have that affection again because of this. And that we expose ourselves knowing that there is a possibility of dying. Know this and do we want to play? We are very crazy. So people have to tell us that they are 100% safe. Because I do not believe it because every day I see 400 deaths and more infected. Who says to me that I can’t catch it playing soccer? Being in my house I’m not going to get it. That’s for sure.
Do you think there are more soccer players who think like you and for fear do not say it so clearly?
Yes, surely. It’s very clear to me. I know when this comes out, please let all players know. I know that some do, some do not, others do not want to say it. But you have to be a little consistent, be people. It is not an essential job; they want us to play without 100% ensuring our health. Is money really worth more than life? I tell the players that we are the ones who can stop this. Everyone. Not just a club; all clubs. May the League return when we are truly safe. If we put all the clubs hand in hand, they will not be able to play soccer. It cannot, no matter how much they force us. We are the protagonists and if the soccer players say no, it is no. It is so. But we have to be everyone; not four. Let them think of all people, not themselves. Let them think of everything that can happen. Let them get into the worst. Because then the worst comes and they will say: if I had done this, it would not have happened. Well now we can do it, not when we play and on the third day there is a contagion. When I say everyone, I don’t mean just the footballers, I mean everyone who is going to be in there. Now is when we can do something. We know that if we don’t go out, we can’t catch it. And we can do it now. Do not expose lives. And if football has to come back in four or five months, let it come back but knowing that nothing will happen to us because of that virus.
It’s rare to speak to a professional footballer and hear such a sincere opinion.
We all have to stop this.