?Spain are one of six national teams already qualified for the men’s tournament at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next summer.
As winners of the Under-21 European Championships this year, their place in Japan is assured, while the other semi-finalists France, Germany and Romania are also in.
Japan (as hosts) and New Zealand are the other teams already qualified, with ten more places up for grabs from around the rest of the world.
The prospect of the games is already causing quite the buzz in Spain, particularly so after Sergio Ramos and Dani Ceballos expressed interest in making the squad despite there also being the small matter of the European Championships next summer.
The Olympics will take place after the Euros, so in theory it is possible that players could feature in both tournaments, but it’s highly unlikely the Spanish FA or indeed the players’ clubs will allow that due to the risk of injury and exhaustion.
Luis de la Fuente, the Spain Under-21 coach, who will take charge next summer, reciprocated that ?he, in turn, could never say no to Ramos if he wanted to tag along.
With the tournament designed as one primarily for Under-23s, the Olympic rules permit only three players born before 1 January 1997 to be included in the 23-man squad.
Here’s a (very) early stab at who might be in the running for Spain as they seek their first gold since 1992…
Unai Simon seems a likely first-choice pick for Spain, having shone for Atheltic Club so far this season. The 22-year-old has even attracted attention from Real Madrid for his displays. ?Read more about him here.
Betis youngster Dani Martin and Las Palmas’ Josep Martinez also seem like possibilities. However, strong performances from any of the keepers at the Under-17 World Cup currently taking place could thrust any of them in De la Fuente’s thinking.
As for over 23 wildcards, should someone like Pau Lopez miss out on the Euros squad, he could be an option. Solid ?La Liga stoppers like Joel Robles and Sergio Asenjo are unlikely to be brought in ahead of younger players who played in the Under-21s this summer.
Rising stars like Marc Cucurella, Unai Nuñez and Pau Torres ?(read more about him here)
Teenagers Juan Miranda (?Barcelona) and Eric Garcia (?Manchester City) are other possibles.
Ramos is the obvious over-23 wildcard option but whether he be allowed to a) ditch the Euros, or b) play both seems as unlikely as it is intriguing. Would be fun though, wouldn’t it?
Gerard Pique is retired from Spain duty but would he come back for a shot at Olympic gold? Probably not, especially after all the booing.
In midfield, Spain have a wealth of options including Dinamo Zagreb’s coveted star Dani Olmo, Valencia’s Carlos Soler and Barcelona’s Carles Aleña.
Celta Vigo’s Brais Mendez is in the right age range, as is Real Sociedad Igor Zubelda. The latter’s teammate Mikel Oyarzabal won the Under-21 Euros in Italy this summer but may be called up to the senior team for the Euros in 2020, if he continues to impress like he is.
Marc Roca, Pablo Fornals and Fabian Ruiz too were all part of this summer’s tournament win but are now too old to be included, unless as part of the three older options.
Equally, should an older experienced player like Isco, Dani Ceballos, Pablo Sarabia or Koke fail to make Robert Moreno’s squad then they would surely be very welcome additions.
There is already talk that Ansu Fati, 17 this week, will be brought along after getting his Spanish passport. You can ?rea?d more about him here.
Valencia wonderkid Ferran Torres and Barça’s Carles Perez also appear strong possibilities.
Marco Asensio, now 23, is already too old to be included without being made one of the three exceptions but he could be a good outside bet, with his long-term injury putting him on the fringes of the Spain national team.
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