Spain Announce Euro 2012 Squad: 5 Most Unlucky Players to Miss out
To recap, here is the full selection:
Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Jordi Alba (Valencia), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)
Xavi (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Malaga), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Chelsea)
Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Pedro (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla)
The most glaring omission from the list is Valencia’s Roberto Soldado, who, in the absence of David Villa through injury, many saw as a potential replacement.
The injured Villa, Carlos Puyol (Barcelona) and Andoni Iraola (Athletic Bilbao) notwithstanding, let’s look at five players who were unlucky to miss out on selection this time around.
Phil Cole/Getty Images
First, in defence, is Malaga’s left-back Nacho Monreal.
Fresh from an excellent season in which he helped his team finish fourth in La Liga, taking them to the Champions League qualifiers for the first time in club history, Monreal misses out on a squad with just the solitary specialist left-back: Valencia’s Jordi Alba.
Real Madrid’s Alvaro Arbeloa has versatility on his side, but in Monreal, Spain could have had a natural understudy to Alba.
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Given Malaga’s impressive season, it is no surprise that Manuel Pellegrini’s star winger Santi Cazorla made the cut.
But his midfield colleague Isco might count himself unlucky to first miss out on the 23 and then to find himself in a generation of arguably the most talented Spanish midfielders ever.
Having enjoyed a breakout season with Malaga, Isco would have found himself rewarded for his fine form with a Euro call-up if he belonged to any other nationality.
A simple look at Vicente del Bosque’s midfield selection shows just how big a challenge lies ahead if Isco is to break into that midfield.
He has time on his side, though—and will have to make do with a place in the Olympics squad for now.
Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Another player who enjoyed a fine season at club level and perhaps is unfortunate to miss out on Del Bosque’s final squad is Athletic Bilbao’s Markel Susaeta.
While his performance against Manchester United in the Europa League stood out, he isn’t by any means a one-hit wonder: His six goals and seven assists are testament to his potential.
But if Susaeta keeps his form up for seasons to come, he should find himself in the center of a new golden generation when Del Bosque eventually moves on from the current crop.
Michael Steele/Getty Images
Along with his Bilbao teammates, Iker Muniain has put himself on the European radar this season with a series of scintillating performances in both La Liga and the Europa League.
But, as so many of his midfield colleagues will have found out, the nature of the Spanish beast is that their golden generation is still very much alive and well, and ready to fire on all cylinders this summer.
Muniain will bide his time forcing his way into the Spain setup, but whether or not that will be achieved in a Bilbao shirt is an entirely different matter.
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
As mentioned in the opening slide, Roberto Soldado’s omission is surprising, to say the least.
And all the more so considering Alvaro Negredo did survive the cull.
With 17 goals this season, Soldado has been one of the most outstanding strikers in La Liga and deserved his shot on the international stage, even if behind Fernando Llorente and perhaps Fernando Torres in the pecking order.
Who else do you think was unlucky to miss out on the final squad? Let us know in the comments below.