Raul Albiol says that despite the success of the Spanish national side there are still no egos within the camp.
The Real Madrid defender has appeared just twice for Jose Mourinho’s team this season but is still very much part of Vicente del Bosque’s plans when it comes to international football.
In an interview with EFE, Albiol said he is always prepared whenever he is called up for his country, particularly when it is such a vital game as Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier with France at the Vicente Calderon.
“I'm happy the Coach continues to show faith in me. I haven’t had too many games so far this season but I haven't been inactive. Every time I train with Spain I prove I'm fully fit and ready to play, but I still don't know if I'll start against France. If I do then I'll be more than ready.”
Albiol believes he is privileged to be part of such a fantastic team and revealed that there are no problems within the dressing room.
“Not many people get the chance to experience four amazing years with the national side and what surprises me most is our continued success. After our 2008 and 2010 triumphs we carried on as we were but usually in sport, especially in football, it’s very difficult to maintain success because egos start to get bigger.
“However, everything is as it was with the same humility, camaraderie and respect, and that’s important.
“Success can change players and it makes them lose their work ethic, humility, and the way in which they train together and show respect to their teammates, but we still retain these values.
“There’s tremendous quality in this side and the players all get along so there is a great atmosphere,” declared Albiol, who gives a lot of credit for that to Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez.
“Iker and Xavi set a great example and we follow them. They are our figureheads, our longest serving players, and the one’s that put across the values in our team to the rest.”
Even so, Albiol admits there was a time when things were not so calm, specifically after the controversial Clasicos last year.
“It’s true things were not so rosy then. We weren’t exactly trading insults at dinner but there was some tension. Relationships were different but that’s all in the past.
“The Clasicos are different now. There is still the same will to win and they are tremendously competitive, but now people talk about the goals and not about the fighting.
“In the end it’s just football and we can’t kill each other out on the pitch. Rivalry and tension is normal and sometimes you can lose your head due to the pressure.”