Madrid, Spain, May 24 – Spain coach Luis Enrique left veteran defender Sergio Ramos from his side for Euro 2020 on Monday, but called on center-back Aymeric Laporte, who recently changed football nationality.
Ramos, the 35-year-old Real Madrid captain, has suffered an injury this season and has only played five times since the start of the year.
“It was a very difficult decision but he hasn’t been able to play this season and hasn’t trained much since January,” Luis Enrique said at the press conference announcing a 24-man squad.
âI called him yesterday (Sunday), it was hard, difficult. I feel bad because he is very professional and he helps the national team a lot. And he can still help her in the future. But I have to look for what is best for the team, âsaid the coach.
Ramos’ absence means there isn’t a single Madrid player in the Spanish squad.
Laporte, a 26-year-old Manchester City defender, was born in southwest France and has been called up three times for The Blues but has never been on the pitch.
Luis Enrique said the selection of Laporte “had nothing to do” with the absence of Ramos.
While French coach Didier Deschamps has a plethora of center-backs to choose from, Luis Enrique has had fewer options since Gerard Pique retired in 2018.
Ramos was an automatic starter when in good shape with a number of players including Pau Torres of Villarreal, Inigo Martinez of Real Sociedad and Eric Garcia of Manchester City playing alongside him.
After an impressive start at City, Laporte injured his knee in 2019 and has not been a regular for Pep Guardiola this season.
In Ramos’ absence, two 32-year-old Barcelona players Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba become the veteran leadership of a rejuvenated squad.
Luis Enrique has been able to test many young talents in recent months, and has called up a lot for the Euro, including Garcia, Pau Torres, Ferran Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal, Pedri and Dani Olmo.
Spain established themselves as one of the favorites with a 6-0 beating against Germany in the Nations League in November when Manchester City’s Ferran Torres netted a hat-trick and Real Sociedad’s Oyarzabal also scored.
Goalkeepers: David De Gea (Manchester United / ENG), Unai Simon (Athletic Club), Robert Sanchez (Brighton / ENG)
Defenders: Jose Gaya (Valencia), Eric Garcia, Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City / ENG), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Diego Llorente (Leeds / ENG), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Cesar Azpilicueta ( Chelsea / ENG)
Midfielders: Fabian Ruiz (Napoli / ITA), Pedri, Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City / ENG), Koke, (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool / ENG).
Forwards: Dani Olmo (Leipzig / GER), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Ferran Torres (Manchester City / ENG), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Alvaro Morata (Juventus / ITA), Adama Traore (Wolverhampton / ENG), Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain / FRA).