THE END OF AN ERA
Spain are coming to the end of a spectacular generation of footballers, who have defined the success that the nation has achieved in the last five years. Players like Carlos Puyol and Xavi will be soon retiring as they are in the twilight of their careers.
Puyol has been ravaged by injury problems in the last few years, while Xavi has also been slowing down in recent times. This has led to many believing that Spain's time of domination in the world stage has come to an end. The 2014 World Cup is likely to see the retirement of several key players.
Despite this, Vicente del Bosque has stated that age would not be a crucial factor when he names his squad for the World Cup. Spain suffered a shock 3-0 defeat against Brazil in the final of the Confederations cup. However, they still remain as the favourites to win the 2014 World Cup in less than 12 months time. This is because they suffered a defeat in the Confederations cup in 2009 as well, but came back strongly to win the 2010 World Cup. Del Bosque has rejected suggestions that players like Xavi and Puyol may not feature in the World Cup itself.
“Why won’t Xavi return to his best level? I do not believe that for his age he is unfit for the national team for next year’s World Cup. Age is not a reason to remove anyone from the squad. Performance is a reason. We are always expectant. Arbeloa is a very safe full-back, who had an excellent championship, beyond whether he is liked or not. Iker Casillas? He is not guilty of anything. It was a good tournament that was marred by the last game," said the former Real Madrid manager, whose team will next face Italy in a friendly match.