Barcelona’s Rising Star Yamal and Villarreal’s Baena Earn Spots in Spain National Team
Spain’s men’s coach Luis de la Fuente has announced his squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Georgia and Cyprus. One notable inclusion is 16-year-old Barcelona forward Lamine Yamal, who could potentially become the youngest ever player for Spain if he takes part in either of the games. Another potential debutant is 22-year-old Villarreal midfielder Alex Baena.
De la Fuente has also included Braga striker Abel Ruiz in the squad. Ruiz has previously played twice for Spain in 2021 when the U21 players had to step in due to Covid protocols.
Speaking about Yamal, De la Fuente expressed his confidence in the young player and stated that age is not a concern. He emphasized that these young players progress at a quicker pace and deserve the opportunity to grow and develop.
In other news, left-back Jordi Alba has retired from international duty, prompting the selection of Alejandro Balde and Jose Luis Gaya in that position. De la Fuente praised Alba’s performance in the Nations League but respected his decision to focus on his club career.
Unfortunately, Spain will be without the injured midfielder Pedri, who has been a key player for the team in recent years.
Spain will face Georgia on September 8 before hosting Cyprus four days later. The squad, announced by the Spanish football federation, includes a mix of experienced players and exciting young talents.
It is important to note that the Spanish football federation is currently under interim president Pedro Rocha following the provisional suspension of Luis Rubiales by FIFA.
The complete Spain squad for the qualifiers is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Real Madrid), David Raya (Arsenal/ENG)
Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Atletico Madrid), Robin Le Normand (Real Sociedad), David Garcia (Osasuna), Pau Torres (Aston Villa/ENG), Aymeric Laporte (Al Nassr/KSA), Alejandro Balde (Barcelona), Jose Luis Gaya (Valencia)
Midfielders: Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City/ENG), Martin Zubimendi, Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Fabian Ruiz (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Gavi (Barcelona), Alex Baena (Villarreal)
Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Joselu (Real Madrid), Marco Asensio (PSG), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig/GER), Lamine Yamal (Barcelona), Abel Ruiz (Braga/POR)
Information Source: September 1, 2023, FC Barcelona Twitter post.