Why Real Madrid aren’t dominating the Spanish national team anymore

Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) /

On Monday, the RFEF had released the list of players called by the Spanish National Team for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. And the national team captain, Sergio Ramos, was the only Real Madrid player selected by Luis Enrique. It’s quite alarming that the domination of the greatest club in the history of Spanish football isn’t the same anymore.

In the last three FIFA World Cups and the last two UEFA EURO’s, at least two Real Madrid players have represented Spain.

  • 2010 FIFA World Cup: 5- Iker Casillas, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos.
  • 2012 UEFA EURO:  5- Iker Casillas, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos.
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup: 3 – Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso
  • 2016 UEFA EURO: 2- Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vazquez (Carvajal was ruled to due to injury)
  • 2018 FIFA World Cup: 6 – Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Nacho Fernandez, Isco, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez

The 2018 FIFA World Cup saw great domination from Real Madrid players, as six of them were called up by Julen Lopetegui, and every player was used by Fernando Hierro. Most of them did well, while Isco was one of their best players and Nacho scored a brilliant volley against Portugal. Fast forward to 2021 March, Ramos is the only Madridista to be called up by ‘Lucho’. Dani Carvajal would have been an automatic selection, but his long-term injury forced him out.

Why are fewer Real Madrid players making it to the ‘La Roja’?

It doesn’t take a genius to answer this question. The number of Spanish players in Real Madrid has decreased over the years. Currently, there are only eight Spaniards- Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Nacho Fernandez, Isco, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Alvaro Odriozola and Mariano Diaz (who’s eligible to represent Spain).

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Ramos is an undoubted pick, but the others are struggling in some way or the other. Carvajal is struggling with injuries this season. Isco has been out of form since 2018 and he isn’t a first-choice player now, he doesn’t even get many opportunities now. Marco Asensio has been very disappointing, while Odriozola and Mariano are dealing with fitness and form issues.

But Lucas Vazquez and Nacho Fernandez are having a brilliant season. I expected at least one of them to make it to Spain. Both of them are in their prime, they won’t get many chances in the future. But Enrique didn’t even consider them, and he chose Eric Garcia over Nacho, while the Manchester City defender isn’t even playing much of late. Enrique is entitled to have his own preferences, but some of his selections do look surprising.

Real Madrid’s Spanish contingent has become smaller in recent years. The apparent decrease in quality of the Spanish players over the years and the recent affinity towards French and Brazilian players can be considered as a reason. But it’s definitely alarming that only one or two players might be called up for the EUROs.

What can we expect in the future?

Real Madrid is the greatest club in the history of Spain, and they are based in the capital of Spain. Fans expect Real Madrid to dominate Spain, but that isn’t happening of late. There is a lot of quality in the current eight Spaniards of Real Madrid, and they should give their best to get called up for Spain and make it to the 23-man squad selected by Enrique for the EUROs.

Only Asensio and Odriozola are below the age of 25. They still have time, but they need to improve their performances to make sure that they are eligible to compete for a spot. And it looks like there are some issues between Asensio and Enrique, which are somewhat evident from Enrique’s strange words on Asensio in October 2020.

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Coming to the future, there are some highly talented Spaniards in Castilla, including the likes of Sergio Arribas, Antonio Blanco, Miguel Gutierrez, Ivan Morante, Pablo Ramon, and Hugo Duro. We can’t really say if these players will make it to the Real Madrid first-team in the future. But these Spanish players are so talented that they have the quality to play international football for Spain. They have the ability to make it to Spain in three or four years.

Let us hope for the best in the near future, and expect to see Real Madrid dominate Spain again.