How could Spain line up without players from Super League clubs?
On Sunday shockwaves were sent through the football world at the announcement of a new European Super League only for a select group of teams from the continent.
Should it happen, it will act as a breakaway tournament from the Champions League, with 15 permanent members competing every season plus an additional five teams who can take part via qualifying.
Twelve of these teams have already been announced; Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Milan.
One of the consequences of the announcement has seen UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin declare that any player who is employed by one of the Super League clubs will be banned from representing their country at the World Cup or European Championships.
If this does happen, several nations will see their squads decimated moving forward, with Spain being one of them.
So, how could Luis Enrique adapt his squad without superstars from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid?
Spain players who could miss out
Throughout Spain’s successes over the last 15 years or so, the backbone of their team has usually been made up of players from Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Although that is not quite as prominent as it once was, they still stand to lose some major stars of past, present, and future if players are banned.
Even though Sergio Ramos may not be at Real Madrid for much longer, he would not be eligible to feature, as would long-term central defensive partner Gerard Pique. Sergio Busquets and Ansu Fati and Pedri, with the latter duo viewed as the future of the national team, would be banned too.
From Atletico Madrid, Marcos Llorente, Koke and Saul Niguez would be among the unlucky punished few.
Looking at teams from England, the likes of David de Gea, Rodri, Ferran Torres, Hector Bellerin, Thiago Alcantara, and Sergio Reguilon would not be available.
Taking a look at Spain’s latest original squad announcement from the March fixtures, this is the full list of players who would miss out this summer:
Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United)
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Eric Garcia (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Pedri (Barcelona), Thiago (Liverpool)
Forwards: Ferran Torres, (Manchester City), Alvaro Morata (Juventus)
Spanish players who would benefit
Although Pau Torres has had plenty of opportunities at centre-back, the spectre of the Ramos-Pique partnership which has been so successful for so long has still been lingering over him.
With that pair away, he would undoubtedly become his nation’s most important central defender.
Similarly with Jose Gaya, he has been Alba’s understudy for years but could make that left-back position his own moving forward.
With Thiago and Busquets away, that would allow other players to become playmaker-in-chief, with Fabian Ruiz and Mikel Oyarzabal both benefitting from the extra responsibility.
Spain’s Starting XI with no Super League players
Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simon should start in goal in front of a back four of Gaya, Torres, Inigo Martinez, and potentially Jesus Navas.
The Sevilla veteran is 35-years-old now, but could he answer to the call for a return at right-back due to the absences of Dani Carvajal, Pedro Porro, Lucas Vazquez and Sergi Roberto?
In midfield, Fabian Ruiz is already a frequent starter so he is a certainty, potentially alongside Villarreal’s Dani Parejo and Sergio Canales of Real Betis.
Gerard Moreno has been one of the most in-form players in Spain this season so it is by no means an issue for him to start, with Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo sure to provide plenty of creativity.