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Innovation, courage, teamwork, resilience, capacity for disruption and dedication to others. These are values with which any Spanish can be identified and which characterize the three characters, the three LIONS of EL ESPAÑOL of 2018, to which our newspaper has wanted to recognize and reward. Is about Francisco González, president of BBVA, captain of Real Madrid and the National Team, Sergio Ramos, and of Fernando Raigal, the Spanish diver who participated in the rescue of the twelve children trapped with his tutor in a cave in northern Thailand.
It is the second year in which THE SPANISH performs a public delivery of the prizes. Last year they collected their awards Rafael Nadal, Florentino Pérez and the parents of Ignacio Echevarría. The delivery of this year will take place on Thursday, October 25 at the Hotel Palace in Madrid, coinciding with the third anniversary of the foundation of the newspaper, and will serve to highlight the merits of the winners in front of a privileged audience.
It is difficult to discuss the achievements of our Lions, who share a proven ability to overcome difficulties. Three examples for a society that faces colossal challenges and that can find inspiration in our lions this year.
The great innovator of banking
Francisco González is the man who reprogrammed banking in Spain. A manager who prepared BBVA to overcome the worst financial crisis of its generation and that it has maintained the ambition to convert the bank into a benchmark for digital innovation.
One of the keys to its success lies in the fact that González has spent years measuring BBVA not only against other banks, but also against any of the new players that have entered the market: from the neo-bancos to giants such as Google or Facebook, which aims to turn banking into the new great territory of disruption.
González, who started his professional career as an IBM programmer before looking at the world of banking, knows that an environment in which there are still 20,000 banks around the world is unsustainable, and has introduced into the DNA of BBVA the need to combine the financial knowledge, historically accumulated by the house, with all the possible digital talent.
In an interview with EL ESPAÑOL, the American guru Vala Afshar He pointed out: “All companies are technological companies and all are going to be data companies”, and affirmed that trust has to be the central value of any company. Well, González has been turning BBVA into a technology company for years and recently declared that he does not see his company as a bank, but as a company that manages information.
González joined Argentaria in 1996 with the aim of dedicating a couple of years to him and he has been leading an entity for more than two decades that not only sailed successfully and without aid the worst financial crisis of his generation, but also has managed to maintain its independence and establish clear principles for its activity: everything that BBVA does must be not only legal, but also morally acceptable by society. Better we would go in Spain if all the protagonists of the economic world were governed by those same principles.
The best defender in Spain
Sergio Ramos and his teammates at Real Madrid are like Sesame Street: they are teaching half of Spain the difference between ordinal and partitive numbers. They do it little by little, but like a roller: last year they taught us that we do not say “the thirteenth”, but “the thirteenth”, “The thirteenth” or even “the thirteenth”.
UEFA recently named him the best defender of the season for the second consecutive year after a brilliant season in which he only missed two games in the fight to raise once more the orejona. No captain of Real Madrid has done it on three occasions and hardly any of them repeat it consecutively. Recall that, until the last great stage of Real Madrid, no team had won even twice in a row with the new format of the Champions. Such is the scope of his achievements.
A whole personality for his celebrations, his colorful tattoos, a way of dressing that always stands out and that capote that reminds us that he was born in the same town as Curro Romero, Sergio Ramos has been a reference since Madrid paid to Sevilla in a friendly way a clause of rescission that today seems humble and a magnificent business but that at that time was dizzying: 27 million euros.
Tetrachampeón of the Champions, bicampeón of Europe, champion of the World and the youngest European player in reaching the hundred parties with his selection, is on the verge of reaching the 160 parties with the elastic one of the Red one and it is more than likely that it will not be long before Iker Casillas is overcome (167) as the player with the most internationalities.
But in addition to all that, Sergio Ramos is an example of how an elite athlete can identify with the collective values, idiosyncrasies and legitimate pride of the nation he represents. Without avoiding the controversy when it was necessary, always reflecting the identity of democratic SpainSergio Ramos is the permanent reminder that this winning group that so many call “the Red” is actually the Spanish National Team.
The heroes of the Boar
If last year we awarded a posthumous prize to the skateboard hero, Ignacio Echevarría, this year's Lion dedicated to recognizing an act of solidarity has corresponded to Fernando Raigal, the diver who played a key role in the rescue of the twelve children of the Wild Boars team trapped with their tutor in a cave in Thailand.
Recognized by the Government for the Golden Cross of the civil order of social solidarity, the citizen Raigal, based in Bangkok, arrived at the cave of Tham Luang on July 2 in the morning. And he gave his classmates luck. He introduced himself, went into the cave, advanced to camera three and was given a dive to fix the ropes. His mission was critical: to provide Thai elite divers with the cylinders and materials they needed.
Although he was not an expert in caves, he did have a lot of experience in deep work and did not hesitate to volunteer for rescue work. Raigal has participated in the construction of marine oil plants, overcoming extreme conditions, and never wanted in this case more prominence than he should.
Since the end of everything, Raigal has not stopped remembering the memory and the family of Saman Kunan, the diver who lost his life in rescue operations, actively helping in fundraising. A clear example of what Albert Camus was talking about The rebellious man: “True generosity with the future consists in giving everything to the present”.