Spain are one of the, if not main, favorites to win the European championship.
This Sunday, Vicente del Bosque will announce his final 23-man squad for Euro 2012. While there are some players who are obvious locks to be on the squad, there are others that will have the international spotlight on them for the first time.
So if I was Vicente del Bosque, who would I take to Poland/Ukraine to try and repeat as European champions?
Here’s who I would take to represent Spain for Euro 2012.
Iker Casillas—He’s still the best keeper in the world (although Manuel Neuer is closing the gap).
Victor Valdes—Zamora Trophy winner in Spain. Nevertheless, he won’t see playing time.
Pepe Reina—Like VV, Reina won’t see any playing time. But don’t sleep on Pepe’s entertainment value. He’s hilarious, and he’s the MC at all Spain national team functions.
Sergio Ramos—Real Madrid’s best defender. Just don’t make him take a PK.
Gerard Piqué—The big man will be ready for his first European championship. His girlfriend Shakira will be cheering and dressed in red.
Jordi Alba—The Valencia player (for now) will make his major tournament debut with the first squad.
Alvaro Arbeloa—Durable defender from Real Madrid who can play RB if Sergio Ramos is moved to CB.
Alvaro Dominguez Soto—The Atletico Madrid CB deserves to go to Euro 2012 for his great play these past few seasons, culminating with his Atletico winning the UEFA Europa League title a few weeks ago.
Andoni Iraola—The Basque player has not represented the national team very often. But he has had a solid season with Athletic Club and deserves to play at Euro 2012.
Cesc Fabregas—Consistently plays well for the national team.
Andres Iniesta—If Spain is going to go deep into this tournament, Don Andres is going to have to be a big reason why.
Xabi Alonso—Personally, I think Xabi is underrated by many football fans and media.
Sergio Busquets—In my opinion, Busi was the best mid Barcelona had this past season. Let’s just keep the flops to a minimum.
Xavi—The heartbeat of La Roja for many years now.
Santi Cazorla—Santi was not part of the World Cup team, but he was there for Euro 2008. After a great season with Málaga, Cazorla deserves to be called up for Poland/Ukraine.
Javi Martinez—The Bilbao mid/defender has become one of the best young players in La Liga. Personally, I would move Javi to CB as Carles Puyol’s replacement in the starting XI.
David Silva—“Chino” Silva is in my starting XI.
Jesus Navas—Speedy and agile winger who is underrated as well.
Juan Mata—The Chelsea man can be a starting XI player for Spain who will more than likely play RW.
Fernando Llorente—The Bilbao big man will more than likely be starting striker for La Roja.
Roberto Soldado—The Valencia striker waited five years (2007-12) to be called up to the national team again. With 27 goals in all competitions this season for Los Che, “Robert Soldier” deserves to wear red in Euro 2012.
Fernando Torres—OK, there might be a controversy here. Know “El Niño” hasn’t been the player he used to be for a while now. But Torres has the experience that may—keyword: may—make the difference. Many times, experience is overrated. Alvaro Negredo of Sevilla perhaps deserves to go to Euro 2012, but I’d take Torres because of experience. I have to believe Torres will play better with this team than with Chelsea.
Iker Muñiain—I believe a manager of any national team needs to bring one young player to his team so that player can watch, perhaps play, but especially to learn from the experience of being at a major international tournament. Iker Muñiain has been sensational for Bilbao as well as when he’s played for the U-19, U-21 and U-23 Spanish teams. He’s quick—and speed is always welcomed and needed. I’m taking Iker with me.
My Starting XI
Defense: Ramos, J. Martinez, Piqué, Alba
Midfield: X. Alonso, Busquets, Xavi
Forwards: Iniesta, Llorente, Silva
Thanks for reading. Look out for a special article next week as I will give my commentary on the players Vicente del Bosque selected for Spain for Euro 2012.
I leave you with “La Marcha Real,” the national anthem of Spain. It’s the same version played at stadiums around the world.
Follow me on Twitter:@XoelCardenas
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