Morata leads a Spain without ‘centenarians’ and with a survivor of the ‘golden generation’


The Spanish soccer team will compete in the Euro Cup in Germany with a block already known and with experience in major events, but without ‘centennial’ players in its squad, although still with a survivor of the so-called ‘golden generation’ that dominated among 2008 and 2012.

Spain will face the challenge of winning its fourth continental crown with a group of players with whom coach Luis de la Fuente has been working for some time, although almost half of his 26 players, 12, will debut in a major international event. This is the case of goalkeeper Alex Remiro, defenders Dani Vivian, Robin Le Normand, Alejandro Grimaldo and Marc Cucurella, midfielders Mikel Merino, Alex Baena, Fermín López, Martín Zubimendi, and forwards Lamine Yamal, Joselu Mato and Ayoze Pérez.

And of this dozen the figure of Lamine Yamal stands out above all. The FC Barcelona winger, who will turn 17 on July 13, will be the youngest, not only in the national team, but in the entire continental championship, with the addition that he will surely have a leading role in the team.

At the opposite pole of the Blaugrana is the now defender Jesús Navas, the oldest of those called up at 38 years old and who will once again play a great tournament with the ‘Roja’ twelve years later. Then, the one from Los Palacios, who played as a winger, was part of the team that closed the historic treble with the 2012 Euro Cup.

The Sevilla player will be one of the six players aged 30 or over that Luis de la Fuente has called up along with Ayoze Pérez (30), Aymeric Laporte (30), Dani Carvajal (32), Nacho Fernández (34) and Joselu Mato (34 ), which has raised the average age of the team with respect to the World Cup in Qatar, since it has gone from the 25.3 years that Luis Enrique Martínez presented to the 28.1 that De la Fuente will have, who will only have Yamal as player under 20 years old. Pedri, Fermín and Nico Williams, at 21, and Baena, at 22, are the next youngest in the ‘Roja’.

Furthermore, after the international retirement of Sergio Busquets once the last World Cup concluded, Spain will not have any centennial player in international caps, a figure that no one comes close to in the current squad where the captaincy now falls to striker Álvaro Morata.

The man from Madrid will participate in his fourth major tournament with the national team after having been in the 2016 and 2021 Euro Cups, and in Qatar 2022, and will be the leader of the locker room, supported by his 73 caps, the most of those called up. In fact, Rodri Hernández, with 50, and Navas, with 53, are the other two who accumulate the most.

Those with the fewest caps are the newcomers Fermín López (1) and Ayoze Pérez (1), goalkeeper Alex Remiro (1), defender Dani Vivian (2), midfielder Alex Baena (3) and full-backs Alejandro Grimaldo ( 4) and Marc Cucurella (4).

After Morata and in addition to Jesús Navas, Dani Carvajal, Unai Simón, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Pedri, Dani Olmo and Ferran Torres will play their third major tournament. In the case of the Madrid full-back, his resume could be longer since he missed the 2016 and 2021 Euro Cups due to injury, while the rest were already part of the team at EURO 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.

And looking closer, the ‘Final Four’ of the Nations League, De la Fuente maintains 15 players: the goalkeepers Unai Simón and David Raya, the defenders Le Normand, Carvajal, Laporte, Nacho and Jesús Navas, the midfielders Rodri, Fabián, Mikel Merino and Zubimendi, and the forwards Morata, Joselu, Nico Williams and Dani Olmo.

Finally, from his first list as Absolute coach, in March 2023, Nacho, Carvajal, Rodri, Zubimendi, Fabián, Merino, Pedri, Morata, Olmo, Williams, Oyarzabal and Joselu remain, of whom, except for the center back from Real Madrid and the Canarian midfielder, all have been permanent fixtures since then. Unai Simón did not enter that call due to injury.