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Roberto Leal: “I have my genius, I'm not Santa Claus, but I don't like cockfighting”

The photographer, the video operator and the interviewer arrived almost at the same time, each from a corner of Madrid in their car and with the GPS at the ready so as not to get lost, to the cafeteria of the lost shopping center on a highway junction where we the interviewee has quoted. He lives relatively close, meets the owners of the Chatter Café, and thus kills two birds with one stone: optimizing his limited time and visiting with friends. It seems that Roberto Leal (Alcalá de Guadaíra, Seville, 42 years old) lives up to his surname. It is ten o'clock in the morning, the shops have just opened and the group of Christmas carols in a loop of the musical setting is already trembling the eardrums of the public, who fill the place for breakfast before launching to buy Christmas gifts. There are still two weeks until Christmas Eve.

What has happened in your life since you presented the Telepassion of TVE in 2016 as a reporter for Spain direct ?

A tsunami, a hurricane, a dana, any meteorological phenomenon is good for me. It has been four years of constant change. I came from making news and events and I always wanted to do entertainment, but I will never know who pointed me in an office to present Operación Triunfo , the program that, apart from changing my life , it left my hair white.

Are your gray hair the fault of OT ?

Yes, it was brutal, from one month to the next. Gray hair is not always due to a dislike. Mine was a peak of stress. It was a time of great joy and enthusiasm, but also of great pressure.

The following year your father passed away, on the eve of you giving the chimes of TVE. This would finish turning it gray.

Yes. It was all good news, and suddenly that puts you in your place. All the fanfare and all the joy is fine, but then your life hits you with such a strong host … That, and the fact that all this has come to me with 21 years of work behind my back, makes me put things in her place. Within my agenda, my work, with everything that I am passionate about, does not have priority.

He went from youth squad to star signing.

Yes, my beginnings as a reporter were the happiest years of my professional life. I traveled through Spain from kitchen to kitchen, meeting wonderful people, learning the trade and taking 10 kilos of eating it all. Although I still see myself at 25, when you turn 40, you turn the ham around.

He has a girl and a boy, 4 years and 10 months old. Do you reconcile or delegate?

My wife, Sara, and I work together in our production company. She more inside the house and I more outside, but I do my part. I want my daughter to remember that her father took her to school and combed her hair, that you would have to see how he took her, the poor thing. Now I am aware of the fragility of time. When I want to realize it, my girl will be 18 years old, and I, when I wanted to realize it, my father was gone.

He dedicated the Ondas to him and his mother. How much do you owe?

So much … It makes me very angry that he doesn't see me now. He would arrive at ten o'clock at night from work, the child, and he would not bathe me or give me dinner, but, when at 18 I wanted to go to work to earn money, he sat me down and told me: “Study, or you will end up as me, laying bricks ”. That sets your head. I asked him for a computer, it cost 150,000 pesetas, a fortune. Only they know what it would cost to pay, but for that there was always. He was a man of few words. He never said anything to me about TV, but my mother told me that he bragged about me to his friends. Now he would be a young uncle, 67 years old. Sometimes, he called and did not pick up the phone, because he was busy. It still happens to me with friends, but with friends you have an extension. With my father I did not have that extension. From time to time, Facebook suggests my father as a friend. And that hits you a host that takes away all the nonsense.

How much of a journalist is there in the entertainer Roberto Leal?

I'm more of a journalist than entertainer . I always carry it with me. You have not seen me argue with a jury, lose my papers, say a word out of place. I am the master of ceremonies, but I know very well what is behind it, like, when I interview a contestant, I listen to it, but I know if it is working or not, because I have been there. And that will be the case until I die.

And does he not have a monkey to cover news, with which he is falling?

Depends on the day. Sometimes I would plant myself there with the bus, as with the La Palma volcano, but I have always fled from political information, from anything that I did not control and did not make me feel comfortable. What calls me is the actuality of proximity.

In other words, the debate on the state of the nation should be covered by others.

Haha yes. Me, just seeing how well colleagues do, is worth it.

How do you make the whole parliamentary arch like you?

Many people accuse me of being a good man, but I try not to make a lot of noise and not get into mudflats, I have already gotten into many rivers overflowing as a reporter and I think I learned to always go more on the edge of good than evil. I don't think it suits me, I relativize.

So it is Saint Roberto Leal.

No, I have my temper, I am not Santa Claus, but I do not like to get into cockfighting. I am more stubborn than stubborn, and that my head measures 61 centimeters. It's not a joke: I measured it one day with Juan y Medio and I beat him. Ondas was given to me for “goodness”, as if it were something extraordinary, I don't consider it a gift. In this profession, either you are a good person or the road is short. When they highlight my normality, I think that, today, normality is overrated. If another type of more sophisticated presenter had been brought in, I would not have had that opportunity.

How do you get around the fine line between that good vibes and the kitsch?

My thermostat trips. My thermostat is not differing from how I really am. I'm not the same, but when I get too far from who I am, it squeaks at me.

How can you speak so fast in Password without locking?

Pasapalabra has released my tongue. I get home accelerated from the program, my wife tells me to tell her how the day has gone, but to last at least 10 minutes, because in two I am finished.

I was going to say rudeness …

Hahaha. Well, the fluency of language has given me a lot of happiness, and not only on TV.

Have you ever hit a thread ?

Never, nor will I ever get it right. Now, after 500 programs and 1,000 donuts, I know words that freak out and that I'm crazy to put at some point.

Take advantage, this is written.

Well, I would tell you, for example, that now, with the heating and the turtleneck sweater, I have a bit of mador around my neck and that I would give you a kiss and an amplexus to say goodbye because I was delighted to see you, at the risk of telling me “What weight is Pasapalabra” .

Laying bricks

Roberto Leal studied Journalism for practical reasons. He did not give him the Selectivity grade to advertise and it was the University itself that suggested that, with his qualifications, he could access the Journalism branch. Before, he had seriously thought about dropping out of school and going to work – “whatever it was, I looked until I got into the Army,” he says – to contribute money at home. But his father, Pepe, a bricklayer by profession, sat him down and told him that he was either studying, or it was likely that he would end up like him, laying bricks. The rest of the story is in the video libraries of the television networks where he has worked, first as a reporter, tasting all the wines in the country as a kitchen reporter in Spain direct , and, from his leap into entertainment with Operación Triunfo , as the emcee of some of the most popular TV contests. On Wednesday, the brand new Ondas and Iris awards, premieres Lego Masters , a construction skill contest of Meccans that reminds him of his longed-for father, who died on Christmas Eve two years ago.

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