Del Bosque opts for Negredo ahead of Soldado
SCHRUNS: Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo edged Roberto Soldado for the final striker’s spot in defending champions Spain’s squad for Euro 2012 announced by coach Vicent del Bosque here on Sunday.
Negredo effectively fills the void of Spain’s record goalscorer David Villa – who failed to recover from a broken tibia in time – after scoring 14 goals in La Liga in the season just finished.
Soldado misses out despite scoring 17 league goals as his form dipped dramatically in the latter stages of the season.
Barcelona’s Pedro was rewarded for doing exactly the opposite as his rich vein of form in the latter part of the season – including a double in Barca’s Spanish Cup final win over Athletic Bilbao on Friday – saw him make the squad.
“Pedro had an inconsistent season like others did,” said Del Bosque.
“But we took into account certain aspects of his season. We looked at his season in its entirety.
“And also we need players out wide, wingers who are effective,” added del Bosque of the 20102 World Cup winner.
Negredo will compete for places up front with Fernando Torres, who showed glimpses of a return to form for Champions League winners Chelsea at the end of the season, and Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente.
There are just four members of the 2008 squad missing, with Carlos Marchena and Joan Capdevila no longer in favour and talismanic defender Carles Puyol and Villa out because of injuries.
The midfield is dominated by Barcelona with Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta definite starters while Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets are also included.
However, Barcelona informed del Bosque that former Arsenal captain Fabregas will need up to 10 days to recuperate from the pulled right thigh muscle he suffered in the Spanish Cup final.
“The doctors are optimistic in his case,” said Del Bosque.
“It is an injury from which he should recover pretty quickly, although it did give me pause for thought when I came to select the definitive squad.”
In defence Del Bosque named Atletico Madrid right-back Juanfran in place of the injured Andoni Iraola, who had an outstanding season for Athletic Bilbao.
“Juanfran had a good season for Atletico and for that reason gets to replace the injured Iraola,” said Del Bosque.
Spain will remain at their training camp here and have two more warm-up matches – they beat Serbia 2-0 on Saturday – against South Korea and China before moving to their base for the championship in Gniewino on June 5.
They begin their title defence on June 10 against Italy, before other group games against the Republic of Ireland and Croatia.
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Reina (Liverpool/ENG), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).
Defenders: Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Arbeloa, Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos (all Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Valencia), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao).
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Santi Cazorla (Malaga), Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets (all Barcelona).
Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo (both Sevilla), Fernando Torres, Juan Mata (both Chelsea/ENG), Pedro (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao).