Club captain César Azpilicueta has been an outstanding, reliable, and loyal defender of the Chelsea cause since the summer of 2012, amassing nearly 300 appearances over the nine years and collecting countless trophies and individual awards. And yet, the 31-year-old only has a surprisingly low 25 caps for the Spanish national team. To make matters worse, he hasn’t had a call-up since November 2018.
So it was a bit of a surprise to see him included in La Furia Roja for the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament, with the final 24-man squad getting announced this morning — though not as much of a surprise as seeing zero Real Madrid players in it, not even (the oft-injured) Sergio Ramos, even as head coach Luis Enrique left two spots unfilled on the team (26 players allowed these days).
One less surprising absence is Kepa Arrizabalaga, who did not get the call during the last international break either, having been strictly a backup to Edouard Mendy this season at Chelsea.
“It’s a special position, but I have no problems rotating the goalkeepers. I base my decisions on how I see them in training. Pau [Lopez] is injured and Kepa has played a lot less than we would have liked. Those are the three keepers who I have the most faith in”.
-Luis Enrique; source: AS
Former Chelsea striker Álvaro Morata did make the cut, after scoring twice in the final day 4-1 win for Juventus, which vaulted them back into fourth place in the Serie A and into next year’s Champions League.
The Spain squad in full for Euro 2020 is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), David de Gea (Manchester United), Robert Sánchez (Brighton)
DEFENDERS: Jose Gayà (Valencia), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Eric García (Manchester City), Diego Llorente (Leeds), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
MIDFIELDERS: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Pedri (Barcelona), Thiago Alcântara (Liverpool), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Fabián Ruiz (Napoli), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid)
FORWARDS: Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traoré (Wolves), Pablo Sarabia (Paris St-Germain)