The preparations for one of the biggest international football carnival have begun as the footballing world prepares to witness the Euros starting in June.
Spain’s always been the team who love to shock their fans, pundits, and their rivals just before the start of International competition. Remember when Julian Lopetegui was sacked by the Spanish team just before the 2018 World Cup, leaving the footballing world surprised. As the word spread out that Lopetegui might be in charge of Real Madrid soon he was shown the way out of Spain’s management.
Result the Russians proved to be too strong of an outfit as they sent the 2010 World Champions back home.
And as the dust settled on Spain’s Euro 2020 squad the Red Fury dropped another bomb as Luis Enrique has decided not to take any Real Madrid player with him to the Euros.
🚨 OFICIAL | ¡¡¡NUESTRA SELECCIÓN!!!
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) May 24, 2021
With 2 spots left empty, Luis Enrique decided to ditch all Los Blancos players for the first time in La Furia Roja’s history that led to a few eyebrows being raised.
This means captain, leader, and Spanish legend Sergio Ramos will be home cheering his team instead of being the inspirational figure he is when he’s on the pitch. But not only Ramos, but Luis Enrique had also decided to leave out some big names from his Euro team roster.
— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) May 24, 2021
But what’s important is we need to analyze why the treble-winning manager couldn’t find enough space for such good players. The only question that will be running in the minds of fans is – Was it a tactical move or did Enrique get biased in any manner?
WHY WERE LOS BLANCOS IGNORED?
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid had a bumpy ride this campaign. The Champions League Kings were knocked out by English giants, Chelsea in the semi-final of the competition. City rivals Atletico Madrid, finished above them in the LaLiga table as they finished the season with a runners-up medal. And Zidane’s team failed to brush aside a Segunda-B Division team in their Round of 32 matches in Copa Del Rey. In one word a trophyless campaign and a season that Zidane would want to forget as soon as possible.
Zidane: "Thank you to our fans because they were with us the whole time. They couldn’t be inside the stadium but they were with us. Everyone can be proud. The players gave their all until the final minute. Winning today wasn’t easy but we did it in the end. I’m very proud." pic.twitter.com/y174DYXHlj
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) May 22, 2021
And that’s what initiated Luis Enrique to snub a few big names from his roster. The 2018 World Cup team featured 6 big names from Los Blancos. Ramos, Asensio, Nacho, Vazquez, Carvajal, Isco were able to get a ticket to Russia. But the tables have turned drastically for the men in white. Out of the above-mentioned names, Ramos and Carvajal were on the sidelines for most of the season.
The only highlight from Ramos’ season was him cheering for Los Blancos from the stands and sometimes Carvajal would also join his party. And in the matches that Ramos managed to play, he was not the beast we expect him to be. The Spanish centre-back who goes flying into tackles and is a deadly animal while defending looked naive.
Youngster Mason Mount proved to be too much of a headache for the defender in the Champions League 2nd Leg at Stamford Bridge. Madrid were humiliated by the home team as they marched out of the prestigious competition.
Real Madrid possesses another pivotal weapon that could have been a fulcrum in Spain’s midfield. Isco is a household name in the Spanish capital and once Zidane’s injury list started increasing day by day, Isco found a spot for himself in the Madrid midfield. But the Spaniard didn’t have a career-defining season, with 25 appearances this season he has 0 goals to show for himself.
22 – At 22 years and 15 days Mason Mount is the second-youngest Englishman to score in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, after Wayne Rooney (21y 182d vs Milan). Mount is the first Englishman to score at this stage for Chelsea since Frank Lampard in 2008. Blue. #CHERMA pic.twitter.com/GAeF1cryWA
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 5, 2021
Luis Enrique for sure has better options when it comes to midfield. Youngster Pedri was outstanding for Barcelona while Thiago started finding form in his new home in England. Busquets is an immovable force in the defensive midfield position and Rodri just won the Premier League with Manchester City. Not to forget Atletico Madrid captain Koke is also irreplaceable so, Isco and the other Madrid midfielders would have rarely found themselves starting a game.
Something that people shouldn’t forget is that Enrique’s team is not perfect in every way. A defensive line full of youngsters, Enrique might lack the experience he needs in the latter stages of the tournament. Passion can win you games but you need the patience to win a tournament.
And Sergio Ramos, Isco, and Carvajal are very experienced campaigners who have seen the ups and downs of football. Ramos might not make it to the playing eleven but for sure he won’t be afraid to help Pau Torress or Jose Gaya out when required. Other than Cesar Azplicueta and Jordi Alba no one possesses the patience required to win the Euros.
Also, it’s very difficult to figure out the last time the recently switched, Aymeric Laporte started a game for Man City. Or when was the last time Eric Garcia became Pep’s main defensive weapon? The recently purchased Ruben Dias overshadowed Laporte. And Garcia is too young to stop the likes of Salah and Kane from running riot at the Etihad.
He can now play for Spain at Euro 2020 this summer. 👀
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 14, 2021
Ramos could have been a way better option than either of the Manchester City centre-backs because other than for injuries he is a starter whereas Garcia and Laporte are benchwarmers.
Another name that sent shockwaves was the selection of Adama Traore. The Wolves player was a revelation two seasons ago but could soon be called a one-season wonder. His goals and assists have dried up and other than his strength and rapid pace he rarely has anything else to offer.
— Fantasy Premier League (@OfficialFPL) April 9, 2021
On the other hand, anyone out of Isco or Vazques provides the right precision and could easily have provided the balance with the midfield needs. And PSG’s Pablo Sarabia is not a massive threat to any opposition.
Lastly, another Madrid player who could have made a case for himself is Alvaro Odriozola. Odriozola is a flexible player who could play as a right-back or a winger. He’ll surely be in the minds of Barcelona fans as his performance against the Catalan giants was crucial if not world-class. In just 14 appearances for Los Blancos, the Spaniard has 2 goals under his belt and could have been an under-study of Jordi Alba through the season.
SMART OR FOOLISH?
While Real Madrid fans might find Enrique’s decision to be biased and foolish, I strongly believe this day was coming. Madrid and Barcelona have been two strong clubs in Spain but honestly, other players across Europe can give tough competition to them.
Not to forget most of the Real Madrid players left out were injury prone and could have turned out to be a headache in Euros. Luis Enrique surely would have weighed the performances of the Madrid players with the other players with the latter coming out on top. Zidane’s squad wasn’t on top of their game this campaign and maybe Enrique’s current Spanish team is just a short-term goal rather than a long-term objective.