The national soccer coach, Luis de la Fuente, offered this Friday his first list in his new position, a very renewed call, with new names such as Martín Zubimendi (Real Sociedad), David García (Osasuna) or Joselu Mato (Espanyol ), and many returns such as those of Iago Aspas (Celta), Nacho Fernández (Real Madrid) or Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea).

The coach from La Rioja showed his first cards for the matches against Norway, at La Rosaleda Stadium on Saturday, March 25, and against Scotland, at home on Tuesday, March 28, with which he will begin the qualifying phase for the Eurocup in Germany in 2024, where he will go with a very renewed team compared to the last World Cup and where youth and returning players that he knows from his time in the lower categories predominate.

In fact, the one from Haro has only kept goalkeepers Robert Sánchez (Brighton) and David Raya (Brentford), defenders Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Alejandro Balde (FC Barcelona) and Dani Carvajal ( Real Madrid), the midfielders Rodri Hernández (City), Pedri and Gavi (FC Barcelona), and the forwards Álvaro Morata (Atlético), Dani Olmo (Leipzig) and Nico Williams (Athletic Club).

To this group we should add the winger José Luis Gayà (Valencia), who missed the appointment due to an ankle injury and who was in the initial call-up for Luis Enrique Martínez, who later replaced him with Balde.

De la Fuente’s main novelties surely come with the names of Aspas and Nacho, two footballers who are back after a long time and veterans of 35 and 33 years, respectively. The Celta striker played his last game with La Roja against the Faroe Islands in June 2019, while the Real Madrid defender had his last appearance in October 2018 against England.

The one from Moaña will be in a forward with many changes where the name of Joselu Mato stands out, a striker from Espanyol who is one of those who will have the opportunity to make his international debut and who arrives to contribute a goal. Also returning are Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), who did not make the list for the World Cup, and Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), who is returning after a serious knee injury that occurred a year ago. Another novelty on the offensive side is Sevilla winger Bryan Gil, whom the La Rioja native knows very well and who, along with Nico Williams, is the only one specific to that position.


In midfield, Zubimendi will join Rodri Hernández in the ‘5’ position and occupy the position left by Sergio Busquets, in a midfield where Pedri and Gavi remain and where Fabián Ruiz, Dani Ceballos and Mikel Merino return. The one from PSG was not called up since the last Euro Cup, the Madrid player had not been called up for more than two years and the Navarrese since November 2021.

Behind, also news, the main one that of another player who receives his first call as the Osasunista David García, rewards his last two seasons at a high level and who will fight for the position of central defender, in addition to Nacho, with another player who returns like Íñigo Martínez (Athletic Club) and with Laporte, the only center-back who survives from Qatar despite not having his best year in terms of minutes.

On the wings, Balde and Gayà will fight for the left, while Pedro Porro (Tottenham) will compete with Carvajal, another of the thirty-somethings (31) on the list, while in goal, where Unai Simón (Athletic Club) is low, Kepa Arrizabalaga returns, at a high level with Chelsea and whose last international game was in June 2020.

De la Fuente finally ruled out other players in great shape such as Gabri Veiga (Celta), who will play with the Under-21, or the nationalized Robin Le Normand (Real Sociedad), and he did not include Barca player Ansu Fati or no Atlético player like the World Cup players Koke and Marcos Llorente.

In addition to these three, Eric García and Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Hugo Guillamón (Valencia), Carlos Soler (PSG), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (Wolwerhampton ), Ferran Torres (FC Barcelona) and Yéremi Pino (Villarreal) also fall with respect to Qatar, although Guillamón and Pino ‘go down’ to Santi Denia’s Under-21.


GOALKEEPERS: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Robert Sánchez (Brighton) and David Raya (Brentford).

DEFENSES: José Luis Gayà (Valencia), Alejandro Balde (FC Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Íñigo Martínez (Athletic Club), Nacho Fernández and Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), David García (Osasuna) and Pedro Porro (Tottenham).

MIDFIELDERS: Rodri Hernández (Manchester City), Martín Zubimendi and Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Pedri and Gavi (FC Barcelona), Fabián Ruiz (PSG) and Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid).

FRONTS: Álvaro Morata (Atlético de Madrid), Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Nico Williams (Athletic Club), Bryan Gil (Sevilla), Mikel Oyazarbal (Real Sociedad), Iago Aspas (Celta), Joselu (RCD Espanyol) and Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) ).

By Lay

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