Oct 5 (Reuters) – While Real Madrid and Barcelona’s superpower standing a decade in the past was mirrored of their dominance of Spain’s all-conquering nationwide facet, their decline will be measured in the exact same manner: Spain head to the UEFA Nations League Final Four event with no gamers from Real and 4 from Barcelona.
Captain Sergio Busquets is the one top-level participant from the Catalan contingent travelling to Italy, together with 17-year-old Gavi – who has solely began three senior video games – and the underperforming Sergi Roberto and Eric Garcia.
It is a far cry from when the 2 golf equipment had 13 gamers in Spain’s 2010 World Cup- and Euro 2012-winning squad, with Barca’s Andres Iniesta and Xavi and Real duo Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas enjoying main roles.
That was additionally an period when the golf equipment have been on the peak of their powers and would commonly be difficult for the Champions League, contrasting with their present struggles.
Barca have misplaced each their opening Champions League group stage video games for the primary time ever and are floundering domestically, a consequence of being pressured to half with Lionel Messi as their price range was slashed on account of their colossal debt.
Real are in a greater state however final week suffered a surprising house defeat to Moldovan facet Sheriff Tiraspol within the Champions League and a subsequent loss at Espanyol.
Their lack of gamers within the Spain workforce has additionally been noticeable: Coach Luis Enrique picked no Real representatives for his Euro 2020 squad.
While some Real followers suspect Luis Enrique’s personal emotions in direction of the membership – who he left as a participant for Barcelona – has performed a component in his pondering, the tough reality is there are few pure selections.
While Real and Barcelona was once the plain vacation spot for Spain’s most enjoyable gamers, the golf equipment’ priorities have modified.
Real have most well-liked to scout Brazilian kids lately resembling Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Reinier. They did signal Spaniard Brahim Diaz from Manchester City in 2019, however he has since joined AC Milan.
Barcelona final yr snapped up playmaker Pedri, who lit up Spain’s Euro 2020 marketing campaign but is presently injured. But they’ve largely most well-liked to recruit from the Netherlands reasonably than house, significantly since Dutchman Ronald Koeman took cost.
Whereas the 2 golf equipment would normally compete for Spain’s prime younger skills, one of the best younger gamers are actually extra prone to transfer overseas, specifically to England’s Premier League, the place 10 of the 23-man squad play.
Manchester City signed Ferran Torres from cash-strapped Valencia final yr, whereas Bryan Gil went from Sevilla to Tottenham in July.
Wednesday’s Nations League fixture with Italy is a rematch of the Euro 2020 semi-final which Roberto Mancini’s facet received on penalties, ending an eventful Euro 2020 marketing campaign for Spain which did at the least maintain loads of promise for the long run.
Only time will inform if the present era can repeat their predecessors’ achievements, however until there may be radical change, their success is unlikely to belong to Spain’s two most well-known golf equipment.