Predicting Vicente Del Bosque's Spain World Cup Squad
Vicente del Bosque has both the greatest and the hardest job when it comes to picking the Spain squad ahead of next summer's World Cup in Brazil.
On the one hand, he has a large talented pool of players at his disposal.
On the other hand, he has to leave out several talented footballers—most of whom would make any other squad in the world—because he can only take 23.
The following slides attempt to predict the decisions Del Bosque will make when the time comes to submit his squad.
Vicente del Bosque may have a few issues to resolve surrounding who he makes his No. 1 goalkeeper at the World Cup next summer, but there are unlikely to be any surprise inclusions when he names his squad.
For a long time now, Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina have been his stoppers of choice.
Casillas has been considered his first pick, but with the Real Madrid man missing club matches, the door is open for the in-form Valdes.
The only possible inclusion outside these three would be David de Gea.
Manchester United's 'keeper is likely to take over in the Spain goal one day, and Del Bosque may feel he'd benefit from spending some time at the world's biggest event.
Spain have a wealth of right-backs at the moment—Juanfran, Dani Carvajal, Cesar Azpilicueta, Martin Montoya—but Vicente del Bosque has shown his faith in Alvaro Arbeloa time and time again. That is unlikely to change for the World Cup.
The question is, will one of them join him in the squad?
Of the four, only Juanfran is guaranteed regular football at the moment.
Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos will likely be backed up by Raul Albiol, with Javi Martinez able to offer midfield and defensive cover.
As long as he's fit, Jordi Alba will be the left-back, while Sevilla's Alberto Moreno seems to have stolen a march on Nacho Monreal to be his deputy.
Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid), David Silva, Jesus Navas (both Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
The hardest part of Vicente del Bosque's selection is whittling down his midfielders.
La Roja boast a large selection of talented players in the middle of the pitch, most of whom would walk into any other country's squad for the World Cup.
You'd expect certain players to be shoo-ins—Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, etc.—but there are plenty of other good players who will have to miss out.
If it comes down to form, the likes of Isco and Juan Mata could miss out.
They'll be in competition with the likes of David Silva and Santi Cazorla for a spot, both of whom look more likely to be key members of their club sides this week.
Elsewhere, Jesus Navas provides a different option to most of Spain's midfield, and is an option Del Bosque often turns to.
Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Diego Costa, David Villa (both Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City)
Picking a midfield is tough, but selecting forwards for Brazil will not be easy for Vicente del Bosque, either.
If Del Bosque was selecting his squad tomorrow, though, these would probably be his forwards.
Diego Costa, who's opted for Spain over Brazil, is the country's most in-form striker. Meanwhile, Alvaro Negredo has hit the ground running in England with Manchester City.
Pedro Rodriguez is a regular face in the squad, leaving David Villa as the one in the most danger of losing his spot before the end of the season.
An Alternative Squad
Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Vicente Guaita (Valencia), Kiko Casilla (Espanyol)
Defenders: Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Martin Montoya (Barcelona)
Midfielders: Isco (Real Madrid), Mario Suarez (Atletico Madrid), Javi Garcia (Manchester City), Thiago Alcantara (Bayen Munich), Benat Etxebarria (Athletic Bilbao), Bruno Soriano (Villarreal), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Asier Illarramendi (Real Madrid)
*Yes, there is 24 there, not 23!