Vicente del Bosque
Spain coach since July 2008
Former international defender who was capped 18 times and appeared at Euro 80, he replaced Luis Aragones as coach of the national team following their victory at Euro 2008. Has also been coach of Real Madrid and Besiktas in Turkey.
20 May 1981
102 / 0
The man they have dubbed ‘Saint Iker’ because of his collection of miracles has had arguably the poorest club season of his career but will maintain the no. 1 jersey and the captain’s armband. Astonishing reflexes, exceptional speed and leadership qualities mean many rate him as the world’s best goalkeeper.
1 cap 0 goals
Cataluna, which was up in arms at Valdes’ failure to be Spain’s third choice, was placated by his inclusion in the final 23. He is the most successful goalkeeper in Barcelona’s history, having won four La Liga titles, two Champions League titles, and one Copa del Rey title.
31 August 1982
Caps / Goals 19 / 0
Spain could hardly ask for a better back-up goalkeeper: reliable when called upon, focused despite knowing he’ll sit on the bench, and not a single complaint. Universally liked within the squad, he took the mic during Spain’s Euro2008 celebrations to play the role of MC – with hilarious consequences.
22 / 0
Ruptured his spleen in a terrible car accident when travelling from Valencia to sign for Getafe five seasons ago and had to have it removed. Now at Real Madrid after a €15m switch from Valencia in the summer. Unfussy, frills-free defender who is extremely quick across the ground and reads the game well.
17 January 1983
13 / 0
Mr Fix It. Reliable on the left, reliable on the right. And reliable in the centre too – even if so far he has not been called upon to play there. Having never, ever scored a Spanish league goal in his career before, has now added finishing to his repertoire at Madrid.
2 March 1978
42 / 4
As the Spanish season entered its thirtieth week, Joan Capdevila was the only outfield player to have played every single minute. He may be technically limited and is not as fast these days but remains reliable and has a fearsome shot. Once asked what his first measure would be if he became Spanish prime minister, replied: “resign.”
31 July 1979
56 / 2
Joint holder of the world record, alongside Garrincha for the longest unbeaten run with his national team – on 49. Tough, uncompromising, fully committed, sneaky, and occasionally downright nasty but talented too. Despite that mean image, he likes to paint and collects bonsai trees. Is the only squad member with a degree.
2 February 2987
14 / 4
Future Barcelona captain who has it all – good looks, sharp mind, leadership qualities, and even a former director for a father. A huge success since Vicente Del Bosque gave him a chance with Spain, scoring on his debut. Impeccable passing – both long and short – from the back and dangerous from set-plays.
13 April 1978
81 / 2
FC Barcelona’s captain has had the season of his life – and many thought that he would not be at the Camp Nou at all. Signed a new deal that allowed him to walk away if, as expected, he didn’t get games but ended up being first choice. Fast, aggressive and fearless.
30 March 1986
57 / 5
One of the finest athletes in the Spanish league, Ramos is back to his best after a couple of seasons of criticism for occasional lapses of concentration and poor positioning. Has played at centre-back and right back for Madrid but will be a full back for Spain. Superb in the air.
16 July 1988
11 / 0
But for the vague knowledge that former Barcelona goalkeeper Carlos Busquets had a son somewhere at the club, eighteen months ago no one had heard of Sergio Busquets. Pep Guardiola brought him up to the first team, where he performed with unfussy effectiveness in the middle. Six trophies and a Spain call up followed.
4 May 1987
48 / 5
Injury set the alarm bells ringing and there was relief when it was announced that Cesc should make it. Rarely has a player made such a strong case to be player of the tournament despite being his side’s 12th man as he did in Euro2008. Still not a guaranteed starter but vitally important. A wonderful eye for the final pass.
11 May 1984
40 / 6
The man with the pale skin and the wonderfully quick feet who Wayne Rooney declared the world’s best player after last year’s Champions League final. Shy, quiet, utterly unpretentious and anything but charismatic but far from timid on the pitch. Has not had his best season but is still the finest ball-playing attacking midfielder about.
28 April 1988
7 / 3
Yet another one in a long line of quick, clever and small Spanish attackers, able to play anywhere across the front three or behind the striker. Combines superbly well with Valencia and Spain team-mates Davids Villa and Silva. Father was once in a bank when it was held up in an armed robbery.
1 cap 0 goals
Driving central midfielder for Athletic Bilbao who sneaked into the squad. Athletic Bilbao signed Martínez as a 17-year old for €6 million, in the summer of 2006, from Osasuna, despite him never having played a first team game.
25 November 1981
66 / 7
Son of former Real Sociedad and Barcelona midfielder Periko Alonso and brother of Tenerife player Mikel Alonso. Vicente del Bosque has long been a fan and immediately gave the then Liverpool midfielder a regular starting role when he took over from Luis Aragonés. Has not disappointed for Spain or Real Madrid.
25 January 1980
84 / 8
Third in the FIFA World Player award, perhaps the finest midfielder Spanish football has ever produced is finally getting his dues after a Barcelona career that started over a decade ago. The metronome that keeps the best Barcelona and the best Spain in history ticking over. Just count the number of passes he makes.
3 December 1981
55 / 36
Does not have the media cheerleaders, either domestically or across Europe, as other more high profile names. But makes a powerful case to be considered the best striker of them all. Top scorer at Euro2008, no one has scored more than him over the last six years in Spain. Quick, clever, two-footed and deadly in front of goal.
8 January 1986
33 / 6
There must be something in the water in Arguineguín, Canary Islands. Its population is barely 7,000 but it’s produced arguably the two most talented attacking playmakers the Spanish national team has witnessed in a decade: Juan Carlos Valerón and the fleet-footed, tough, creative David Silva. A vital part of the set-up.
20 March 1984
72 / 23
When you look at Fernando Torres’s stunning goal-scoring statistics at Liverpool, it is hard to believe that he has spent so much of the season injured. With Spain, it’s a different. Didn’t score in qualification and only got one at Euro2008. But that was the winning goal and, boasting pace, power, and an understanding with Villa, no one doubts his value
6 caps 3 goals
Talented target man and goalscorer enjoying his best ever season. Llorente was called up several times by the Basque Country national football team. He scored one goal for the tricolor in a match against Catalonia at the Camp Nou, in 2006.
21 November 1985
3 / 0
Another new arrival in the Spain team under Del Bosque, Navas would have made the national squad years ago but for an anxiety problem which made it impossible for him to leave home. Has now overcome that and adds real pace and skill on the right hand side for Spain. Likely to play a big part coming off the bench.
1 cap 0 goals
Goals, goals and more goals have made Pedro a fans’ favourite at Barcelona but a Spain call up was still a surprise. He became the first player to score in six different club competitions during a single season in Barcelona’s 09–10 campaign.