After years of stability and consistent success, Spain fell on slightly more dramatic times this summer. Having sacked head coach Julen Lopetegui just days before the World Cup and crashing out of the tournament itself by losing to the lowest ranked team in it, Russia in the Round of 16, then losing Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta to retirement, Spain are into a bit of rebuilding.
Now under new head coach Luis Enrique, La Furia Roja have 10 new faces among the 23 selected for this international break, including Chelsea striker Álvaro Morata and left back Marcos Alonso. Joining the pair are goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who kept his spot as backup to David de Gea, and defender César Azpilicueta, whose spot on the bench is always warm.
Spain will be taking on England and Croatia in this opening round of the UEFA Nations League gloried friendlies.
The full squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: David de Gea (Manchester United), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Pau Lopez (Real Betis);
DEFENDERS: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Raúl Albiol (Napoli), Nacho (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad), Iñigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), José Gayà (Valencia), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea);
MIDFIELDERS: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Rodri (Atlético Madrid), Saúl (Atlético Madrid), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid);
FORWARDS: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Álvaro Morata (Chelsea), Diego Costa (Atlético), Suso (Milan), Rodrigo (Valencia).
Interestingly, only Real Madrid have more players in the team than Chelsea — four from us and six from them — with Barcelona’s influence continuing to diminish just like their Golden Generation and their production line at La Masia.
While UEFA want the teams to treat the Nations League as “serious business” by including an alternative route to qualification for the European Championship, the Chelsea quartet should be handed a few minutes each at least.