There are all kinds of happiness: from the joy unconfined in the stands of the Stadion Tivoli Neu as the Spanish fans greeted their thumping victory over Russia, to the quiet, personal joy of a life well spent. That is the one Miguel Reina is experiencing right now, a fact he shared with euro2008.com.
Spain are in winning form, Reina Jnr, Pepe, is well regarded by his club Liverpool FC and the national team, and Club Atlético de Madrid legend Miguel is playing with his granddaughter by the side of the training camp pitch. "I must say I'm enjoying some of the happiest days of my life at the moment," said the 62-year-old who had seven-year spells at both FC Barcelona and Atlético, taking the latter to the European Champions Clubs' Cup final against FC Bayern München.
"Watching my son train so hard for his country and playing with his little daughter at a time when Spain have just put in a tremendous performance to open the tournament is just great," he added. "What stood out for me was the total confidence which the team showed in their ability to create and score goals. I'd also pick out the fact that we enjoyed just a touch of luck in the first half which is something Spain have lacked in tournaments for so long."
The last time Spain won the UEFA European Championship, in 1964, young Miguel Reina was making his professional debut with Córdoba CF but his career hit its peak when he teamed up with Luis Aragonés at the height of his 'Zapatones' (Big Boots) fame. The two men won Spain's Copa del Rey and Primera División title together – as both team-mates and when Aragonés became coach – as well as making that European Cup final in 1974 (Bayern won the replay 4-1 after the first game had ended 1-1).
"Luis is an Atlético legend, a great footballer and a wonderful man" is the Reina verdict. "The human condition requires you to be greedy – always hungry to better yourself and achieve more," he continued. "That's what Luis is and it's the perfect petrol for the engine of a football coach. He'll never say, 'This success is enough' or 'I've lost my drive'. He also has the great talent of being able to transmit belief to his players that they are capable of doing something great."
Reina Snr is from the old school – tough, respectful and very proper. But he glows with pride when watching or talking about his boy. "Pepe is growing as a man and as a footballer before my very eyes. But no way is he near his peak yet. There is so much more to come before he's either the finished product or as good as he can be. Right now his role is fundamental. The substitutes have to train hard but also give total support to those who start. With affection, support and friendship coming towards the key players, Spain will see the benefit on the pitch, that's sure. This year I think we are at least going to the final and if we win so much the better."
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