To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Spanish National Team, we decided to put together a starting XI of players who have suited up both for Villarreal and Spain, so here we go:
Sergio Asenjo, Diego Lopez, or Pepe Reina? If we take all current sentiment out of it, Reina has had the best career, though he has been a controversial figure in recent years. I tend to be brutally pragmatic in team selection, so Reina it is.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and list Joan Capdevila as our left back. I know, I live on the edge. Right back pits Ángel López vs Mario Gaspar. The two men only combined for eight Spain caps, but Mario is the Villarreal lifer and the more traditional defender so I will let him hold down the fort on that side.
Raul Albiol got here late in his career, but he’s still the most accomplished Spanish CB we’ve ever had. Unai Vergara is an option we are not going to use, and Pau Torres is too early in his Spain career to join him. I’m going to give Marchena the other slot here, although I’m a bit perturbed to use someone who spent so long at Valencia.
The shoe-in candidates here are Marcos Senna, Bruno, and Santi. There’s actually a tactical decision to be made here, because I don’t think we have the wide forwards to build a 433. We can either grab López from above since he spent time as a wide right midfielder, and stick Santi on the left OR we can do the responsible thing and make it a narrow diamond, push Senna up, count Parejo on our list and put Santi in the ten slot.
We have one Zarra winner in history, so Gerard Moreno gets the nod up top. Paco is honestly probably the other option.
One of the natural results of being a club that emerged in the top flight at the turn of the century is that some of our best national team representatives played their best football somewhere else. That’s fine, it is what it is. Congratulations to the men’s team on 100 years, and hopefully we will see Spain reach international glory again soon!