For years, Atlético Madrid fans witnessed how the Spanish national team experienced its glory years, winning cup after cup, and becoming the first country ever to win three major tournaments consecutively, without a Rojiblanco player present.
Some fans might have even started to wonder whether former Real Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque was ignoring the red and white club altogether.
But Juanfran’s inclusion in the European Championship winning side of 2012 was the first sign of change to come. As Spanish clubs, forced by growing debts and decreasing power in the international transfer market, take more and more to signing domestic players and youth products, Atlético, too, has developed a core of Spanish players representing the team.
Atleti’s success under Diego Simeone has not gone unnoticed, as Vicente del Bosque called up no less than three Colchoneros for Spain’s upcoming matches, a World Cup qualifier against Finland on the 6th of September and a friendly against Chile four days later.
The players representing Atlético in La Roja are Koke, Mario, and Spain’s all-time top scorer David Villa.
Clearly Mario and Koke’s inclusions are evidence that the hard work of everyone in Atlético’s youth academy at the Cerro del Espino is paying off.
The club is always well represented in all categories of Spain’s national team setups, and it seems there are more potential future internationals in our ranks, as Óliver Torres and Saúl Ñíguez have been called up to Spain U21 for two European Championship qualifying games.
Elsewhere, Atlético have another trio called up. Diego Godín, Cristian Rodríguez, and the young José María Giménez received a call from Óscar Tabárez to play for Uruguay. Giménez is yet to make his debut for Atlético, but has a growing reputation in his home country after his impressive performances in the U20 World Cup. He stands to make his debut for Uruguay if he’s given minutes in their games against Peru and Colombia.
Arda Turan and goalkeepers Bounou and Thibaut Courtois will also join their respective national teams.
Do you think any Atlético players have a chance of representing Spain at the World Cup in Brazil next summer?