Spanish shark Negredo waiting for his chance
Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo may have yet to feature in the defending champion's Euro 2012 campaign - but after missing out on the 2010 World Cup the Sevilla star is happy just to be here.
"I am really happy. First of all it's really something to be here at the championships with my squadmates," said the 26-year-old nicknamed the 'Shark'.
"Of course there is a lot of competition and those who are playing are doing phenomenally. I shall just have to await an opportunity and then seize it with both hands," said Negredo.
Negredo is unlikely to get that chance as soon as Monday's final Group C game against Croatia as Spain seek to win the group at their opponents' expense.
But any pitch time will be a bonus given his memory of the last World Cup, where his dreams of involvement died before the start.
Coach Vicente del Bosque took a squad to Paris just two months before the tournament in South Africa and it was widely assumed those in the group were guaranteed to be on the plane - especially when France were dispatched in a friendly.
But Del Bosque changed his mind after Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao turned in a fine end-of-season series of showings and he managed to edge out Negredo, while Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes likewise squeezed out Villarreal shot-stopper Diego Lopez in the race for understudy to Iker Casillas.
Negredo has not let Spain down in the ten occasions he has been called upon to date - with six goals to his name.
But he remains behind Fernando Torres and Llorente in the pecking order - while Del Bosque has of course been known to field Cesc Fabregas as a 'false number nine' - the Barcelona midfielder has responded with a goal in both games here.
Hailing from the Madrid suburbs, Negredo started off with local side Rayo Vallecano - his nickname is the Shark of Vallecas.
He then moved to Real Madrid but had to be content with two seasons in the B team before making his name with southern side Almeria, where 32 goals in two seasons attracted Seville in 2009.
Now the shark is hoping to infest rival defences at the Euros - starting with the Croatians.
Although Torres now seems back in the groove while the Spanish are additionally shorn of injured World Cup star David Villa, Del Bosque knows Negredo will not let him down if he gets his chance.
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