Sergio Ramos out, Laporte in
There is still a number of weeks before the opening of the European Championships this summer however the big news is dropping well ahead of the tournament’s opening fixture.
As nations announce their teams ahead of the competition there are sure to be some big shock omissions and inclusions.
This is certainly the case for Spain as Luis Enrique has chosen to not include Real Madrid defender and Spain captain Sergio Ramos for the first time since the early 2000s.
Instead, he has drafted in Manchester City Defender Aymeric Laporte who previously has featured for the French youth sides but never at senior level.
Ramos has suffered with a number of injury issues this season which has kept him out of much of the latter part of the season. Rushed back in Real Madrid’s Champions league tie with Chelsea, he seemed off the pace and endured a torrid 90 minutes.
Perhaps Enrique believed he couldn’t rely on the Spain stalwart’s fitness throughout the competition, yet the decision to omit his captain is bound to send shockwaves through Spanish football.
Laporte, now 26, has been overlooked for the French squad for many years despite playing at u17, u18, u19 and under 21 a total of 51 times. Born in Agen, France, he joined the Athletic Club academy in 2010.
One right back?
With the full list now being released by the official Spanish channels, there are a number of surprises in the squad.
For one, the only recognised right-back is Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta. Furthermore, 24 out of a possible 26 have been selected.
Jesus Navas of Sevilla has been left out despite having a great season under Julen Lopetegui. With Ramos also out, maybe Enrique is looking to move away from squads of the past and bring in a fresh look?
Some surprising inclusions are Eric Garcia who has barely featured for Manchester City and will leave this summer. Adama Traore of Wolves has struggled to find form and the net this season. Likely his variety is what has convinced Enrique of his place.
Also, one of the more shocking attributes of the team is that it contains no players from Real Madrid. Enrique was the former manager of Barcelona, could his El Classico bias have had something to do with it?
Of the team, Sergio Ramos, Nacho Fernandez, Alvaro Odriozola, Isco and Marco Asensio were all overlooked. Dani Carvajal would have likely made the squad, Lucas Vazquez too, however both have long-term injuries.