Del Bosque admits to embarrassment of riches
Spain coach can’t fit in all the talent at his disposal
Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has been named in the Spain squad for their end of season campaign despite being out of favour at Real Madrid. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque admits he was left with a virtually impossible task to find a place in his provisional Confederations Cup squad for all the players who deserved to be called up.
Del Bosque today named a 26-man preliminary squad for the tournament in Brazil next month, with three players set to drop out following this weekend’s final round of Primera Division fixtures.
Fernando Torres and Javi Martinez have both been recalled, while Javi Garcia, Benat Etxebarria and Roberto Soldado are also in the provisional group, along with captain Iker Casillas, who has not played for Real Madrid since January.
A number of hopefuls were left disappointed though, including Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo who was a member of Spain’s Euro 2012-winning squad and scored 21 league goals this season.
Del Bosque admitted: “It’s almost impossible to have every player who merited a place. (Cesc) Fabregas, (David) Villa, Torres and Soldado are our four strikers. You could just as easily ask why we didn’t include (Imanol) Agirretxe, Iago Aspas, Michu...
“We can’t bring in everybody. We’ve deemed it fit to call up Soldado because he’s had a great season.
“We’ve called up those players who are going to help us have the best tournament.
“It’s impossible to please everyone. Some will say why are players like Xavi going who are tired.
“They all want to be here and are looking forward to it. No-one has said they don’t want to be in the Confederations Cup.”
Del Bosque also felt it was the right time to bring Torres back into the fold.
The 29-year-old has been omitted from the last few Spain squads but earned a recall after netting 22 goals in 64 appearances for Chelsea this season, while playing a key role in the Blues’ successful Europa League campaign.
It was a similar story for midfielder Martinez, who was a stand-out performer for Bayern Munich in their Champions League final victory over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
“When they haven’t been called up it’s because we didn’t think it was best. Now we think the opposite, we think that they are in a good moment,” Del Bosque said.
Regarding the decision to name goalkeeper Casillas in his squad even though the veteran has not played competitively for almost five months due in part to a hand injury and also falling out of favour with Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, Del Bosque said: “We’re certain he’s in good form. We spoke in France and since then I haven’t spoken to him, but I’m sure he is fine. He’s one of us.”
Spain have been drawn in Group B of the Confederations Cup, with their first game coming against Uruguay in Recife on June 16th.
Four days later the reigning world and European champions play Tahiti in Rio de Janeiro before taking on Nigeria in Fortaleza on June 23rd. Group A consists of hosts Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Japan.
Looking ahead to the tournament, Del Bosque said: “Not only are there four world champions but there are countries who are Olympic champions like Mexico and African champions like Nigeria.
“Japan are one of the countries who have made great progress and any of the teams could be uncomfortable opponents. We will try to be at the level we need to be.”
Prior to the tournament Spain have friendlies against Haiti and the Republic of Ireland in the United States, with the game against Giovanni Trapattoni’s side taking place at Yankee Stadium in New York on June 11th.
SPAIN (squad): Casillas (Real Madrid), Reina (Liverpool), Valdes (Barcelona); Alba (Barcelona), Albiol (Real Madrid), Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Monreal (Arsenal), Pique (Barcelona), Ramos (Real Madrid); Alonso (Real Madrid), Benat (Real Betis), Busquets (Barcelona), Cazorla (Arsenal), Fabregas (Barcelona), Garcia (Manchester City), Iniesta (Barcelona), Martinez (Bayern Munich), Mata (Chelsea), Navas (Sevilla), Pedro (Barcelona), Silva (Manchester City) Xavi (Barcelona); Torres (Chelsea), Soldado (Valencia), Villa (Barcelona).