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Sergio Ramos didn’t forget Casillas


A new era for Spain

A fresh start. The Spain national team met up in Madrid, while Alcácer was given permission to join them a little later after his speedy trip to Barcelona to pass a medical – this way football has of getting going late, finalising squads when the season is already well under way. Barça’s signing of Alcácer means in the Spain squad there are an equal number of Madrid and Barcelona players – five apiece – a number which would also remain if Iniesta and Isco were available after Lopetegui announced they were part of his plans. At any rate, this draw means Madrid have gained back some ground as they become more “Spanish”.

Iker Casillas no more

Sergio Ramos, captain of both Madrid and the national side (at least for now), arrived giving his opinion on Casillas’s omission (“Iker’s absence surprised us all”) and a message of support for his new boss (“We have to be calm and patient with Lopetegui and let him do his job). He also spoke of “those of us who have been here a long time, the captains…”. They are messages that sounded natural, but did not speak of this “new era”; instead they spoke of rights gained and captaincies, and, in truth, they spoke of a ‘status quo’ cemented at a time that was already in decline.

Lopetegui is set to start something new, but it’s going to be difficult to change certain mentalities, including Sergio Ramos’s. Rebuilding a team without a cornerstone like Xavi Hernández is also going to be difficult, as will calling up players who, despite having the right qualities, are likely to be on the bench from one week to the next – will Asensio, Isco, Lucas Vázquez, Morata, Alcácer play regularly for either Madrid or Barcelona? As they fight against this recent past, in which La Roja won back-to-back European-World Cup-European titles, they will need more than words of kindness from Sergio Ramos