“Incomprehensible!” That was the gut reaction of most Atleti fans after Vicente del Bosque released his latest list of players called up for Spain’s upcoming clash against Italy.
The reigning World Cup title-holders meet for a friendly match in Bari next week and once again the coach had no place for José Antonio Reyes in his 22-man squad.
It’s been four years since Pablo Ibañez was the last Atlético-player to play for La Roja, and the Rojiblanco faithful were hoping the Andalusian winger would be included in Spain’s senior squad after the great form he displayed in pre-season.
‘La Perla’ was almost single-handedly responsible for defeating Stromsgodset with three goals and an assist to his name in our 4-1 win on aggregate.
Del Bosque selects players from a wide variety of clubs, but seemingly has no place for Atleti players. The Spanish team is arguably the world’s most dominant football force on all levels, but los Colchoneros are missing out on all the glory.
But that could change.
Del Bosque named only five defenders for the game against the Azzurri, and if any of the players were to miss the match due to injury, then Álvaro Domínguez is said to be one of the prime candidates to receive a call.
The centre back is coming off of an excellent performance in the tournament in Denmark where he clinched the European U-21 Championship title with Spain, and Del Bosque hinted earlier that the stars from La Rojita, also including Thiago from Barcelona and our new signing Adrián, would be given a chance with the senior side.
The call up would be a big reward for the 22-year old, who is on a comeback after a disappointing 2010/11 campaign with Atleti.
The defender suffered under Quique Sánchez Flores after the coach had a falling out with the player’s agent and then criticised Domínguez for sticking with his representative.
Domínguez was a regular during our Europa League run but wasn’t able to hold on to his form in his second season on the first team.
Álvaro openly spoke about the uncomfortable situations he endured under Quique, who benched him and opted to play with Diego Godín and Luis Perea instead.
The two stoppers are still there and were joined by Brazilian defender Miranda this summer, but all signs indicate that new coach Gregorio Manzano is going with the left-footed youngster this year.
In pre-season, he was even handed the captain’s armband ahead of senior players like Tiago and Gabi. Antonio López, Diego Forlán, and Raúl García are presumably still ahead of Domínguez in the pecking order, but it goes to show how much the defender’s status has grown in recent weeks.
Recently, before it was announced Kun would join Manchester City, Domínguez was one of few players to speak about Agüero’s romance with Real Madrid, publicly stating the hypothetical move would show the Argentine “had no loyalty.”
The statement reeked of irony considering Álvaro himself switched sides as a 12-year old, but it showed Domínguez’s passion for and commitment to the red and white shirt.
This season Domínguez will have something to prove, but if he’s able to hold on to the form that won Spain U-21 the European title, then it can’t be long before we’ll finally have an Atlético-player donning La Roja’s red shirt again.
Do you think Álvaro Domínguez will secure a starting spot on the team this year, or would you rather see a centre back duo composed of any combination of Godín, Miranda or Perea?