Spain's Real Madrid core of no concern to Valverde

By Sports Desk September 14, 2018

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde thinks suggestions of a Real Madrid dominance of the Spain squad are inaccurate. 

Madrid stars Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho Fernandez, Dani Ceballos, Isco and Marco Asensio all started Tuesday's 6-0 Nations League thrashing of Croatia in Elche, while only Sergio Busquets was involved from a Barca perspective.

With Sergi Roberto the only other Barca player in the 23-man squad, there have been suggestions Madrid are becoming the dominant force within the national team, despite the presence of ex-Blaugrana head coach Luis Enrique.

However, Valverde highlighted that of those six Madrid players, only Nacho and Carvajal came through the youth system.

He also pointed to the absence of three Spain regulars over recent years from Barca who were not involved this time: Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique, who have retired from international football, and the overlooked Jordi Alba.

"I think you need to read things properly," he told a news conference. "It was said before how there were more Barca than Madrid players; now, there are more Madrid than Barca players.

"There are players who weren't there, like Andres, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba. In recent years, Madrid have signed players who can be called up, like Asensio, Isco, Dani Ceballos.

"If you look at the players from the Madrid and Barca youth teams, they are similar. I have the impression they're similar. 

"In any case, we'll fight to change that and to have more of our players called up."

Related items

  • Boateng closing in on shock Barcelona switch - reports Boateng closing in on shock Barcelona switch - reports

    Barcelona are understood to be on the verge of signing former Tottenham, AC Milan and Schalke attacking midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng from Serie A side Sassuolo.

    A report by Sky in Italy claims the 31-year-old will travel to Barcelona on Monday to conclude a loan switch until the end of the season, with an €8million option to make the move permanent.

    Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde has been looking for attacking reinforcements as cover for Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele – the latter now facing two weeks on the sidelines with a sprained left ankle.

    Munir El Haddadi joined Sevilla this month, while Paco Alcacer left for Borussia Dortmund during the previous transfer window, leaving the reigning LaLiga champions light up front.

    Valverde batted back questions over a purported interest in LAFC's Carlos Vela over the weekend, while Mundo Deportivo touted veteran Monaco striker Radamel Falcao as an option.

    Boateng would represent an even more leftfield move than those two, although he did enjoy a successful season in LaLiga with Las Palmas in 2016-17 on the back of his second stint at Milan – scoring 10 times in 28 matches.

    A campaign with Eintracht Frankfurt, Boateng's fourth Bundesliga club, followed before he joined Sassuolo.

    Boateng has been deployed as a false nine by Sassuolo and completed 90 minutes in Saturday's 0-0 draw against Inter at San Siro. He has four goals in 13 games this term.

  • Barcelona B defender Wague accuses Ejea fans of racist abuse Barcelona B defender Wague accuses Ejea fans of racist abuse

    Moussa Wague has said he was subjected to "numerous and repeated racist insults and songs that should never have to be tolerated on a football pitch" when playing for Barcelona B against SD Ejea.

    The 20-year-old Senegal international was sent off during Barcelona B's 1-0 defeat on Sunday, following an altercation with a fan when attempting to retrieve the ball for a throw-in.

    In a statement posted to his Instagram page, Wague apologised for the incident, in which he appeared to push the supporter in the face, but claimed he was angered by being on the receiving end of racism from the stands.

    "I want to express my sincere apologies to SD Ejea and the fan of that club for my conduct during the game yesterday," Wague said.

    "In a moment of anger, with the result going against us, I did not behave correctly and I acknowledge that and want to reiterate my apologies. 

    "I also want to report that my actions, in trying to get the ball back from a fan to take a throw-in, came after being the subject of numerous and repeated racist insults and songs that should never have to be tolerated on a football pitch."

    Wague joined Barcelona from Belgian club Eupen in August last year, having become the youngest ever African goalscorer at a World Cup.

    He was on the bench for the recent Copa del Rey trip to Levante and is in contention to win a place in Ernesto Valverde's squad for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

    Barcelona are yet to offer a public comment on the abuse Wague allegedly received.

  • Barca winger Dembele out for 15 days Barca winger Dembele out for 15 days

    Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele will spend two weeks on the sidelines after suffering a sprained left ankle during the 3-1 LaLiga win over Leganes.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.