All of a sudden, the future is not what it was

The future is not what it was. I borrow this phrase from a title of a book released some years ago to express my view of the Spain's current international side. It’s a view shared by many, too. We won titles, we had universal respect, we had a style, and we had confidence that Spanish football had made a definitive leap forward. All of sudden, everything seems cloudy. Yes, I know football produces exaggerated sensations depending on the result. Right now we are all a bit melancholy, of course, and this might have fogged up our lenses. But facts are facts.

Golden generation fading fast

What remains of Spain’s golden generation (Casillas, Puyol, Xavi, Villa and Torres have all already been discounted) is fading as years and games go by, and it doesn’t go without notice. There are still some left from the original cycle (Ramos, Silva, Iniesta…) but age will soon catch up with them. The next generation should be filled with players from the team that won the under-21 European Championships in 2013, but only De Gea, Carvajal, Koke and Morata have managed to firmly install themselves at the highest level. From that successful young side, Isco and Thiago have still yet to really prove themselves, and the rest seem to have gone missing.

Players of Spain pose for a team photo prior to the UEFA European U21 Championship Semi Final match between Spain and Norway at Netanya Stadium on June 15, 2013 i

Big task to replace what's been lost

Batra went to Barca. Íñigo Martínez to Real Sociedad. Illarramendi was rejected at Real Madrid, and Muniain looks like he’s lost it. Goals have dried up on Rodrigo at Valencia. The list goes on and on. Injuries, setbacks, etc, etc. Two other recent figures, Deulofeu and Jesé, have also struggled to make the breakthrough for different reasons. Asensio, Denis Suarez, Williams, and Saúl all look like promising talents, but it’s difficult to imagine that those and the rest that are coming through could come anywhere close to replacing what we’ve lost. They’re certainly going to have a big task of it. Russia’s only two years away.