Fernando Torres and Cesc Fàbregas may still be recovering from knee and leg injuries, but they made it into Spain’s 23-man World Cup 2010 squad, announced yesterday.
Marcos Senna though, many pundits’ choice for Spain’s most valuable player at their successful Euro 2008 tournament, misses the cut.
Senna has been suffering from injuries all season and only played eight games for his club side Villarreal, but such was his importance two years ago it is still a surprise Spain manager Vicente del Bosque decided against involving him.
Spain, strong in all departments, have a particular glut of options in midfield though, and Senna’s position has been filled admirably by Xabier Alonso throughout qualification and in recent friendly wins against Argentina and France.
But uncapped 21-year-old Javi Martinez offers del Bosque an alternative option more in the mould of Senna, who made an art form out of sitting in front of the back four and ruffling the opposition.
The Athletico Bilbao player is an imposing 6 foot 3 inches and has been a regular for his club since signing for €6 million four years ago, with this season seeing him turn out a series of superb displays.
With a first-choice midfield set to include the diminutive trio of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and David Silva, ex-Liverpool man Alonso, a player more renowned for his precision passes than his physical presence, may seem like a luxurious liability against bigger teams.
The other uncapped players to make the final Spain selection are Barcelona duo Victor Valdes and Pedro Rodríguez.
A World Cup call-up is the culmination of a breakthrough year for 22-year-old Pedro who hit the back of the net 22 times for the Catalan giants and managed the unique feat of scoring in six different competitions; La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League, European Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
It is likely that Pedro will be used as a back-up for either new club team-mate David Villa or Torres, when he declares himself fully fit. Indeed, with Torres, Fàbregas and Iniesta (leg) all still receiving treatment it seems as though injuries will be the main obstacle to a Spanish World Cup win.