NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

No excuse: Sergio and Isco skip Spain duty


Something that didn't please me about Spain's friendly game against the Swiss was that it did not alleviate previous fears about the team's ability to score. It's not an area we've ever really excelled at, however, since David Villa left it's been an even more obvious defect. But there is another aspect that I liked even less: that Sergio Ramos and Isco were allowed to miss the entire trip, instead staying in Madrid while 20 of their national teammates (including three Kiev finalists) travelled to Vila-real. Carvajal is an exception, still recovering from injury in Las Rozas. In his case, it makes sense that he stays in the capital and gets specialist care. But Isco and Sergio Ramos?

Back for the official team photo - Spain's Diego Costa and Sergio Ramos during the team photo.
Full screen
Back for the official team photo - Spain's Diego Costa and Sergio Ramos during the team photo.SUSANA VERAREUTERS

Real Madrid exceptions: Ramos and Isco

The official explanation is that 'they were starters in Kiev'. Good, and...? They were in no more need of rest and relaxation than the others, after so many days already. Out of interest, Nacho played almost as many minutes as Isco in that final, 54 against 61, and joined up with Spain on Thursday. On Sunday he played his part and twice came close to scoring. Lucas Vázquez and Asensio played a good part too, and impressed, on the wings. All three came to win their place. Ramos and Isco feel that they have already secured theirs, so they disregarded this game when several other assumed starters did play. I'd guess that they too would have liked to spend the weekend at home, with their families, ahead of the month of separation that is coming.

Reporting for duty | Spain's Asensio in action against Switzerland.
Full screen
Reporting for duty | Spain's Asensio in action against Switzerland.ANGEL SANCHEZDIARIO AS

Salah opportunity missed

Sergio Ramos also missed an opportunity. Vila-real is in close proximity to Benicassim, where Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is receiving treatment on his injured shoulder. Ramos has been unfairly attacked over his part in the incident that resulted in the injury, which was completely by chance. The opportunity missed, though, was being able to visit Salah in Benicassim with ease, and give him a hug. It's a pity. It would have been a great image for football. Perhaps it didn't occur to anyone, not in his personal entourage, nor in the club, nor in the federation. But, with or without the Salah gesture, what I don't like is that the captain of the national team, as well as Isco in his shadow, were allowed to avoid a trip that all the others, except for the injured Carvajal, went on.

A look at Spain's style by Robbie Dunne | Diversity over dogma: Lopetegui making Spain harder to beat