A master’s degree with Pinedo

There are sequences that are carried out with the simplicity of the course of a river, with a familiar naturalness driven by respect between teacher and student. And placing sport above all; in this case, water polo. This season this situation will be experienced in Atlètic-Barceloneta and in the Spanish National Team with Dani López Pinedo (41 years old) and Unai Aguirre (20), who will share the goal of the best Spanish team and a candidate to win the Champions League one more season. “I am proud to see him grow. The future is yours ”, López Pinedo says to Aguirre, both smiling and waking up ‘good roll‘in the pool of Sant Sebastià.

There is no doubt about the very young goal, designated by all as the goalkeeper of the future (and already of the present) for years. The coach David Martín has already included him in the Tokyo 2020 list and he will arrive at the goal of the national team with the logic with which Jesús Rollán reached it in Seoul 88. “I have always had pressure. I put it on myself. I think pressure is trained and facing it is part of the talent. I still have a lot to learn and the veterans help me ”, says Aguirre, whose father was a soccer goalkeeper in the 90s in the lower categories of Espanyol and Ferran Martorell. He even made his first steps: “He played in Cubelles as a child. He stopped, but he was bad with his feet. Sometimes he gave it to rivals. They told me that playing with your feet was essential”.

Endowed with the size of a swimmer, intuitive and with character (“that runs in my family, we are winners”), Aguirre made his debut in the swimming pool of Tokyo’s Tatsumi against Croatia and offered an exhibition of stops. An ideal premiere. Now he will live a master next to Lopez Pinedo, one of the best goalkeepers in the world in recent years. “I’m not giving advice, but I am giving tools. I will tell him things that work for me so that he can value and decide. There is no manual on how to stop. Unai is different from me, but there are things that can work for him ”, explains Pinedo, who was not so confident when he started in the National Team.

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“I prepared for the Sydney 2000 Games, but then I disappeared. They are things that happen. Not all races are explosive. That made me appreciate having arrived and I am very proud ”, explains the goalkeeper, who was even a player at some stage of his career. “They were different times. The goalkeepers trained like players ”, he clarifies. But with his spirit under sticks, Aguirre is impregnated: “There is one thing I look at, and it’s his training ability. I’ve never been with someone like that. Apart from that, I look at technical details, but his ability to train is outrageous “.

The hangover of Tokyo and the revenge of Paris 2024

In Aguirre there is an unprecedented maturity. He reflects with the same confidence with which he defends the goal. “It is okay for young people to stand out as long as they respect their elders. Working is a talent, like knowing how to stop or manage pressure ”. Even López Pinedo acknowledges that “he gives me energy. I’m proud that he got me out of here”, He jokes.

For both of them, August was not an easy month. And less that Friday, August 6, when Serbia prevented Spain from playing the grand final of the Games. “I saw him from the stands, he lives with tension. He couldn’t hold out the last two minutes, I left “Aguirre laments. Also López Pinedo, whose eyes light up when perhaps launching the epitaph of his career: “I worked my entire career to achieve a medal, but it was not possible. I am proud. We compete when years ago it was unthinkable. The path is marked. When this team achieves it in the future, I will feel that medal as if it were mine. “

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