Friendlies between national teams are great opportunities to see new faces, mainly young ones, get an opportunity to defend their country. I am trying to make sense out of the exclusion of Diego Lopez with the Spanish National Team but yet again I fail to wrap my head around it.
The most recent call up by mister Del Bosque features many young players, a lot of them stars of the U21 team, in the list. The obvious exclusion is that of Alvaro Morata, the top scorer of the team. Pedro, Torres, Villa and Soldado were Spain’s forwards in the Confederations Cup. None of them have been called up. In their place we see Negredo, Llorente and Tello. For the sake of it, let’s pretend Del Bosque rates Tello higher than Spain’s U21 top scorer Alvaro Morata and that is why Alvaro did not get a call-up. Okay, we can learn to live with that. He has changed the attack completely to give opportunities to others in a rather irrelevant game against Ecuador.
Now, Pique, Xavi and Busquets have also been given rest, because again, the game is not a do-or-die. But why are there only rotations in the midfield? Why not say, give opportunity to others on goal? The Spanish take pride of the large amount of talent they currently have in their footballers so why not show the world?
Spain just played the Confederations Cup in which all three goal keepers saw playing time. Furthermore all three goalkeepers are playing friendlies with their clubs. This dismisses the hypothesis that they are being called up to see playing time, because they can find it in their clubs.
Is the game important? Nope. Why is Pepe Reina called up? With all due respect to the Spanish “speaker”, I don’t see many people who rate Pepe higher than Diego Lopez, De Gea or even Jordi Codina. It is argued that Pepe gets called up because of his charisma, because let’s face it, the third goalkeeper hardly ever gets any serious playing time in any team unless injuries and suspensions. In Spain’s titles celebrations we have seen Pepe being the life of the party, a great guy. But was his call up really crucial for this friendly against Ecuador?
Then there is Victor Valdes. None of the three goalkeepers that Del Bosque always calls up has anything to worry about. It has repeatedly made clear by Don Vicente that he won’t be changing up his choices any time soon, not even for friendlies. Why not give Valdes rest too?
Iker Casillas is Spain’s captain and due to all the controversy that surrounds mentioning his name, I take it, Del Bosque won’t not call him up. Say Casillas is one of the three goalkeepers, could he not have called two new ones? Is changing up the goalkeeper going to completely ruin your team’s dynamics? Especially when you are calling up a group to experiment?
Let’s focus on Diego Lopez. He has only played one game with the Spanish national team but he has received many call-ups. In fact, he was part of the Spanish squad that played the Confederations Cup in 2009 and he also received a few call-ups in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. These call-ups were all from Vicente Del Bosque, the only Spanish coach to have ever given him the chance to defend his country.
Ever since his (re)arrival at Real Madrid, he was Mourinho’s number one goalkeeper. The fantastic performances against Manchester United, Barcelona or Borussia Dortmund are just a few to remember. Now, with a new coach, Diego Lopez’s position is somewhat unclear. Only last week Carlo Ancelotti has said that he is uncertain as to who will start the first Liga game, Casillas or Diego Lopez. What do these statements tell me? That Ancelotti rates Diego Lopez the same, or very close, to Spain’s number 1 goalkeeper. Ancelotti and Mourinho, two great managers. They have won it all. And so has Del Bosque. So why is there such a big difference in thinking? Is Diego Lopez truly Spain’s fourth best goalkeeper? Or Fifth? Or Sixth, mister Del Bosque? Is he truly that bad that he is not worthy of a shot in a friendly game? Is he that unlikable that he wouldn’t fit? Does he smell bad? Is his haircut getting on the way? Is he too tall? What is it? Because I fail to understand it. I fail to make any sense out of this situation and I would not want to think this is mere politics…