Back to practice and hungry for more

I really enjoyed the holidays. For the first time in over a decade, I was able to put football aside for more than a month.

Playing with the kids, catching up with the family, having fun with friends… it was satisfying because during the season you are always so focused that life always revolves around the next match. Now, I had the time to really relax and clear my head. Getting engaged to my girlfriend Mishel is definitely one of the highlights. I have no problem sharing that with the fans, Mishel is a part of my life as a footballer and family man.

Sometimes, I still don't fully realize what I and my teammates have accomplished in the past season. Fortunately, the fans are there to remind me. During the holidays, they congratulated me for the titles we won. Winning La Liga is quite a feat in itself but the congratulations for the Champions League exceeded everything. You are so focused on your own game that you sometimes forget the impact of the win on the fans. I felt a huge gratitude, even from opponents, for the performance in the final against Liverpool. That helps it sink in and definitely puts a smile on my face.

Did you spend the whole holiday just lying by the pool, people ask me? I’ll confess, the first three weeks I indeed turned off the football button and let my body recover from the grueling season. But then I picked up the thread again. To get rid of that lingering pubalgia, I trained with a personal coach during my leave. First fitness, then field training. Now, I got rid of the injury and my body feels ready to start preseason.

Because yes, I am looking forward to a new season. To always bring out the best in yourself and the team, that’s what Real Madrid does with you. I am proud that I am now part of that illustrious European history. Winning the Champions League with the biggest club in the world, it’s now on my honor roll. In this case, dreams can come true.

But the hunger is far from satisfied. First the preparation in Madrid, then on tour in the United States with friendly games against Barcelona and Juventus, among others, and then building up to the match for the European Super Cup against Frankfurt, it's all coming up soon. And with the World Cup in Qatar, the season will be more intense than ever.

I am lucky to play for seven trophies in the coming year. You read it, I have enjoyed the successes but now I am ready to harvest even more. Hala Madrid!