Chelsea left back Marc Cucurella had been watching his phone like a hawk, hoping that it would ring with the Spain national football team head coach on the other of the line. According to reports, he was one of the three candidates in line to replace the veteran Valencia left back, José Gayà in the squad, who had suffered an ankle sprain in training earlier this week.
Alas, it was young Alejandro Baldé’s phone that lit up. The 19-year-old with zero senior international caps also beat out former Chelsea man, and current teammate, Marcos Alonso for the honor. Baldé can also play on the right — and in fact had been doing so recently to accommodate Alonso on the left for Barca — which is surely a helpful bit of versatility to have.
So, no Cucurella to join César Azpilicueta in Qatar. But that’s alright, more time for him to rest, recover, and get better. He hasn’t exactly impressed at Chelsea since his big-money move from Brighton, but he does have plenty of minutes under his belt as one of the few players on the team who has managed to stay off the injured list, so far. (He did miss one game due to illness.)