From Madrid to Rio - Who is fighting for their ticket to Brazil
Vincente Del Bosque has a vast array of talent on offer to him for the upcoming 2014 World Cup and singling them down to just 23 will be no easy task. The Spanish are double champions and looking to defend the trophy they won in 2010. They have been drawn into Group B. They face 2010 finalists Holland as well as Australia and Chile who beat England recently at Wembley.
With some much talent all over the squad, places are up for grabs everywhere but who will take them?
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
Victor Valdes (Barcelona)
David De Gea (Manchester United)
Diego Lopez (Real Madrid)
Pepe Reina (Napoli)
The goalkeeper position is probably the easiest to pick for Del Bosque although there has been a lot of competition to displace Iker Casillas in between the sticks. After being cut from the Real Madrid starting eleven under Jose Mourinho, he has remained behind Diego Lopez in the pecking order under Carlo Ancelotti. He is widely expected to leave the club where he has gained legendary status in the summer and although he hasn’t started in the league this year, he should remain as Spain’s number one. Casillas is a natural leader and does a great job in uniting the Barcelona and Madrid rivals. Above all, he is still a world class goalkeeper.
His understudies are likely to be Victor Valdes and David De Gea from Barcelona and Manchester United respectively. After the World Cup, Valdes is set to leave the Catalans for the sunny shores of Monaco whilst De Gea has established himself as one of the best keepers in the Premier League. Due to Valdes’s age, it seems that the Red Devil is best candidate to take over Casillas’s gloves.
Other possible candidates are Lopez from Madrid and Pepe Reina. Despite Lopez being first choice at the Bernabeu, he is not a favourite in the national team setup and the on loan Liverpool keeper could miss out due to the rise of De Gea.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
Raul Albiol (Napoli)
Juanfran (Atletico Madrid)
Carlos Puyol (Barcelona)
Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid)
Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)
Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad)
Marc Bartra (Barcelona)
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique have formed an unbreakable partnership in the centre of defence for the national team despite playing for rival clubs. The tiki-taka style implemented by the side is started from the back with both defenders displaying a range of passing abilities. Pique will be joined by Barcelona left back Jordi Alba who has made his name as the best Spanish left back in the world.
Raul Albiol is likely to make the trip after being rescued from Real Madrid by Rafael Benitez and Napoli. Albiol has impressed in Italy and is viable back up to Ramos and Pique. Juanfran and Alvaro Arbeloa will battle it out on the right side of defence and Carlos Puyol should add experience and motivation to the defence even from the bench.
Other contenders are Nacho Monreal, Inigo Martinez, Marc Bartra and Cesar Azplicueta who will be considered as back up for the first eleven defence.
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
Juan Mata (Manchester United)
Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona)
Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich)
David Silva (Manchester City)
Jesus Navas (Manchester City)
Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
Cristian Tello (Barcelona)
Sergi Roberto (Barcelona) Isco (Real Madrid)
Koke (Atletico Madrid)
Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
Benat (Real Betis)
The midfield trio of Barcelona will definitely travel to Brazil with Xavi being the ever-present midfield maestro in the centre of the field. He will be joined by Sergio Busquets to provide defensive steel and neat passing to the attack minded midfield. Andres Iniesta will provide the creative spark and will be hoping to repeat his 2010 World Cup heroics when he netted the injury time goal to give the Spaniards the cup.
Spain’s midfield oozes with quality. Javi Martinez will add defensive bulk to the midfield line and also offers the side versatility as he can operate at centre back which he has displayed with Bayern Munich. Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas and Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso will also make the squad but could struggle to break into the starting eleven depending on who Del Bosque decides to field in Spain’s opening game. Premier League playmakers David Silva and new Manchester United signing Juan Mata will also hope to impact the performances that could lead the team to glory.
Other contenders such as Jesus Navas and Santi Cazorla should be favourites to travel but could face a challenge to make the final cut with so much quality in the Spanish midfield. Barcelona youngsters Sergi Roberto and Cristian Tello are considered as back up due to their age and lack of experience. Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, who was linked with a move to England, will also be considered but will again find it tough to break into the star studded midfield. Thiago Alcantara has been rotated at the Allianz Arena and is likely to be the star of Spain’s next World Cup squad instead of summers’.
Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City)
Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
David Villa (Atletico Madrid)
Fernando Llorente (Juventus)
Roberto Soldado (Tottenham)
Fernando Torres (Chelsea)
Jese Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
Morata (Real Madrid)
Spain were lacking a top quality striker in 2010 with Fernando Torres lacking quality to lead the line. However, the emergence of Alvaro Negredo at Manchester City provides them with a fierce strike force with the Spaniard being one of the stand out players in England alongside Sergio Aguero; firing 23 goals for the Citizens. Another boost for Del Bosque and the Spanish nation is the in-form Diego Costa pledging his allegiance to Spain over Brazil meaning he and Negredo will form a lethal partnership. Costa has been in sensational form in La Liga with 20 goals fuelling Atletico’s title bid.
Barcelona winger Pedro should make the cut along with David Villa and Juventus target man Fernando Llorente who will provide another solid attacking option in a forward three.
Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado will struggle to break into the squad following his move from Valencia with lack-lustre form meaning he is likely to miss out. Chelsea striker Fernando Torres could also be excluded with more free-scoring attacking options available. Real Madrid youngsters Jese Rodriguez and Morata could offer a youthful option from the bench but both are unlikely to feature until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
So who do you think should make Spain’s 23 man squad for the 2014 World Cup?
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