Euro 2020: Decoding the squad of Spain
The Spain national football team has been announced for the upcoming European Championships in June. Spain coach Luis Enrique has named a 24-member squad for the Euro 2020, despite being allowed, 26 players. Notably, veteran Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has been left out. The 2010 world champions have been drawn in Group E along with Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden. We decode Spain's squad.
No Real Madrid players in Spain squad
For the first time ever, Spain have not selected any players from Real Madrid for a major finals event. The Real Madrid players have been snubbed despite the side finishing second in La Liga and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League. Besides Ramos, right-back Dani Carvajal, versatile defender Nacho and forward Marco Asensio have all been overlooked. Alvaro Odriozola was snubbed as well.
Ramos has made just five appearances for Real in 2021
Veteran defender Ramos played for Spain in World Cup qualifiers in March when he was substituted during a draw with Greece and came on late in a win over Kosovo. Since then, his only appearance for Real Madrid came in a Champions League semi-final second-leg defeat by Chelsea. That outing was also his fifth for Los Blancos this year.
It was a very difficult decision: Enrique on Ramos' snub
Spain manager Luis Enrique said the decision to leave Ramos out was a difficult one but highlighted the latter's lack of playing time as the reason behind it, "It was a very difficult decision but he [Ramos] has not been able to play this season and has hardly trained since January," said Enrique. "I called him yesterday [Sunday] - it was hard, difficult."
Aymeric Laporte included in Spain squad
Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte had switched his nationality from France to Spain earlier this month. The 26-year-old was granted Spanish citizenship and is now set to play for Spain at the Euro 2020. Laporte had earlier played for France's youth teams but didn't make any appearance for the country's senior team. He had joined City in January 2018 from Athletic Bilbao.
Euro 2020: A look at Spain's squad
Goal-keepers: Unai Simon, David de Gea, Robert Sanchez Defenders: Jose Gaya, Jordi Alba, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Eric Garcia, Diego Llorente, Cesar Azpilicueta Mid-fielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Pedri, Thiago Alcantara, Koke, Fabian Ruiz, Marcos Llorente Forwards: Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Alvaro Morata, Gerard Moreno, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, Pablo Sarabia
A look at Spain since their Euro 2012 win
Spain haven't fired in major tournaments since their Euro 2012 triumph. They exited the group stage in the 2014 World Cup, before losing in the round of 16 against Russia in the 2018 World Cup. In Euro 2016, Spain lost in the round of 16. They failed to qualify for the Nations League Finals in 2018-19. However, they have progressed in the 2020-21 edition.
Spain expected to qualify for the knockout stages: Analysis
Spain will need to remain focused after several eyebrows were raised after the squad announcement. They are expected to qualify to the knockout stages in the Euro 2020. Enrique has to find the right balance and make sure his team produces the desired impact.