Spain has named its 23-man roster tasked to defend the title in the European Championships that is to be held in Poland and the Ukraine.
Managed by Vicente del Bosque, the team is peppered with familiar faces. In fact, a dozen players, including captain Iker Casillas, from the side that previous manager Luis Aragones piloted to the title in Vienna will be returning to defend the title. To add, only four players are missing from the team that hoisted the Jules Rimet trophy in South Africa.
However, two of those four players are were supposed to be in plans to make the team. It had been said that FC Barcelona captain Carles Puyol wanted to end his international career in the Euros, but he had to undergo knee surgery earlier this month, thus removing himself from consideration. His teammate David Villa, who is La Roja's all-time leading goal scorer with 51 goals in 82 matches, was not able to recover in time from the tibia injury he suffered while playing for the Catalans in Japan for the World Club Cup last December.
Malaga's Santi Cazorla makes his return, as well as Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo. Santi was on the Euro 2008 team but not on the World Cup 2010 team, while Alvaro had been a previous call up back during the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers, but left off the squad that actually went to South Africa. Joining them are two relative newcomers in Atletico Madrid's Juanfran and Valencia's Jordi Alba.
Here are the players comprising the Spanish team in the European Championships:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (captain, Real Madrid CF), Victor Valdes (FC Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool FC)
Defenders: Raul Albiol (Real Madrid CF), Gerard Pique (FC Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Jordi Alba (Valencia CF), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF), Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid CF)
Midfielders: Andres Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Xavi (FC Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (FC Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid CF), Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Malaga), David Silva (Manchester City), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Juan Mata (Chelsea)
Forwards: Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Pedro Rodriguez (FC Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao)