That's right. Vicente del Bosque, in his infinite wisdom (and this time we mean it!), has called up FIVE Villarreal players for La Furia Roja's upcoming trip to America. That's tied with Real Madrid, and only 1 behind Barcelona. Astounding.
Admittedly, Barca's Puyol and Xavi have been omitted due to injury and fatigue. But it's impressive that we have five players in the squad without Diego López and Marcos Senna, two former regulars.
The 23-man list to play the U.S. and Venezuela (h/t Bill Lumbergh):
GOALKEEPERS: Casillas, Reina, Valdés.
DEFENDERS: Arbeloa, Albiol, Ramos, Piqué, Marchena, Capdevila, Iraola.
MIDFIELDERS: Xabi Alonso, Busquets, Cazorla, Iniesta, Bruno, Borja.
FORWARDS: Villa, Silva, F. Llorente, Torres, Pedro, Manu Del Moral (his first call-up), Negredo.
More on the Villarreal selections below the jump:
Joan Capdevila: Euro 2012 likely will be Capdevila's last major tournament with La Furia Roja. He started at Euro 2008 and South Africa 2010 (the only player not from either Madrid or Barca), so he will be remembered for generations. He looked fresher at the end of the season, and del Bosque has limited alternatives at left back (Monreal, Iraola), so Capdevila's spot looks safe for the time being.
Santi Cazorla: Good to see him back in del Bosque's plans. Only injury kept him from South Africa 2010, and he coolly converted a penalty to break the Italian hex in Euro 2008 (along with Senna). He should be a mainstay through Brazil 2014, though a starting spot in a crowded midfield looks difficult.
Carlos Marchena: Ho-hum for the veteran warrior. He's not a starter at center back with Piqué and Puyol fit, but he knows his role and can be versatile (as displayed with Villarreal in 2010-11). Euro 2012 seems on the cards; beyond that depends on the alternatives and his health.
Bruno Soriano: A second call-up for our alternative to defensive midfielder Busquets. Bruno was maligned for his debut in Mexico City, but the whole Spanish side was poor that day. Let's hope that this call-up marks a fresh start. I know that Bruno can become a starter in this Spanish XI.
Borja Valero: Also his second call-up. Borja has suffered from the expectations placed on him as a youngster in Real Madrid's academy. While his performances with Mallorca and now Villarreal have impressed, questions still linger about his ability in big matches. A big opportunity for the attack-minded midfielder.
La Furia Roja plays in Boston against the United States on Saturday, June 4. Then on Tuesday, June 7, the Spaniards travel to Venezuela to take on the vinotinto. Enhorabuena Villarreal!