Spain manager Luis Enrique has announced his final 26-man squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. And the list features two players from Real Madrid and three more from Atletico Madrid.
The two Real Madrid players who make the cut are right-back Dani Carvajal and forward Marco Asensio. Their inclusion hardly comes as a surprise given that they have been regulars in the scheme of things under Enrique.
Carvajal will battle with Cesar Azpilicueta for the starting right-back slot while Asensio will compete for a spot in the attacking unit that also comprises of talents like Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Dani Olmo.
As expected, there is no place for veteran star Nacho Fernandez, while former Real Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos, has also not been called up.
As for Atletico Madrid, Koke, Marcos Llorente and Alvaro Morata are the three players who have made it to the final list that will fly to Qatar with the Spanish national team.
While the Rojiblancos are not going through the best of moments on the pitch, Enrique has continued to place his faith in the aforementioned trio for the biggest tournament in football.
🚨 OFICIAL | Convocatoria de la @SEFutbol para el Mundial de Catar.— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SEFutbol) November 11, 2022
👥 Estos son los 26 jugadores elegidos por @LUISENRIQUE21 para defender a España en la gran cita.
🤗 Esta es mi lista, la tuya, es #LaListaDeTodos.
🇪🇸 ¡¡#VamosEspaña!! ¡¡VAMOS A HACER ALGO GRANDE!!#Catar2022 pic.twitter.com/6PhppxRDc1
Mario Hermoso, Saul Niguez and Sergio Reguilon (on loan from Tottenham) are the Atletico Madrid players who miss out from the La Roja roster.
Spain begin their journey on November 23 against Costa Rica before facing Germany in a high-profile encounter. They will end their group stage commitments with a fixture against Japan.
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.