Spain no longer reliant on Barcelona and Real Madrid with players from 18 clubs


It makes for a decent trivia question: Name the one member of Spain‘s starting line-up from the Euro 2012 final that didn’t come from either Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Or name the two non-Clasico players from Spain’s victory over Holland in the 2010 World Cup final.

In the first instance, the odd man out was Manchester City‘s David Silva and when he was substituted off for Barcelona’s Pedro after an hour of their 4-0 win over Italy, that was a full house.

The Spain line-up for the Euro 2012 final featured six Barcelona and four Real Madrid players. (Back row, left to right) Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique; (Front row, left to right) David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, Jordi Alba

The Spain line-up for the Euro 2012 final featured six Barcelona and four Real Madrid players. (Back row, left to right) Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique; (Front row, left to right) David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, Jordi Alba

The Spain team that lifted the World Cup in 2010 was similarly dominated by the Clasico pair

The Spain team that lifted the World Cup in 2010 was similarly dominated by the Clasico pair

Two years earlier, left-back Joan Capdevila of Villarreal and striker David Villa of Valencia were the exceptions – and even then, Villa had agreed to join Barcelona before the tournament.

It was an era when the strength of Barcelona and Real Madrid domestically and in the Champions League fed directly into the strength of the Spain team, which stylishly won three consecutive tournaments between 2008 and 2012.

Of the 23-man Spain squads for the 2010 and 2012 competitions, 12 players came from the country’s two leading clubs. How times have changed.

Things are a bit more egalitarian in the squad these days – the players picked by coach Luis Enrique for the upcoming friendly against Portugal and the UEFA Nations League games with Switzerland and Ukraine are derived from 18 different clubs, including 10 outside Spain.

There are as many players from Leeds United as there are from Barcelona and Real Madrid amid 10 picked from the Premier League. The days of Barcelona and Real having a vice-like grip on the national team are long gone.

Current Spain coach Luis Enrique has reduced the national team's reliance on the big two

Current Spain coach Luis Enrique has reduced the national team’s reliance on the big two 

His latest squad has been picked from far and wide, with 18 different clubs represented

His latest squad has been picked from far and wide, with 18 different clubs represented

Latest Spain squad 

GOALKEEPERS

David de Gea (Manchester United), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao)

DEFENDERS

Sergio Ramos (captain, Real Madrid), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jose Luis Gaya (Valencia), Diego Llorente (Leeds United), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Eric Garcia (Manchester City), Sergio Reguilon (Tottenham)

MIDFIELDERS

Sergio Busquets (vice-captain, Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Dani Ceballos (Arsenal), Fabian Ruiz (Napoli), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Sergio Canales (Real Betis), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Jose Campana (Levante)

FORWARDS

Rodrigo (Leeds United), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traore (Wolves)

Luis Enrique famously played for both clubs – and managed Barcelona – but has been determined to reduce the dependence on the big…



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