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If Luis Enrique can back down over Jordi Alba...


Next Thursday, Spain visit Croatia in Zagreb, in a game that will decide our fate in the recently rolled out Nations League. If we win, we're into the semi-finals, and if we don't, we'll have to wait and see. We're certain of avoiding relegation, at least. Luis Enrique named his squad yesterday, and - finally! - has recalled Jordi Alba. That's good to see. It takes a wise man to realise he was wrong. The pair had their issues at Barça, and it was more than just tittle-tattle that Luis Enrique was overlooking the player because of the difficulties they've had. But we're talking about a left-back who is by a distance Spain's best in the position and, what's more, is in a rich vein of form. Luis Enrique backed down with humour and good grace. Well done to him.

At the same time as that welcome decision, we had the pleasure of a visit by Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales. It was a chance to share a few laughs and funny stories, but also have a formal discussion that Marco Ruiz reports on in today's AS. I was particularly keen to persuade Rubiales that it'd be to everyone's benefit if he and LaLiga chief Javier Tebas could get on better, because they seem to me to be two enterprising guys with the right intentions. But he looked as unenthusiastic about the idea as Tebas has when I've put it to him. It's a shame. Both are good on the ball and like to get into the box, but don't pass to each other. Disagreements between the FA and LaLiga are par for the course, but it'd be good if they worked on establishing greater common ground.

Not long ago, Spain's secretary of state for sport, María José Rienda, was here, and, without meaning to refer to Rubiales and Tebas, offered up a phrase that both could do with heeding: there's only one ball to go around on the football field, and without it there's no game. If a guy of Luis Enrique's reputation for stubbornness has proved able to do an about-turn, call up Jordi Alba and patiently answer all number of questions about it with a smile on his face (when us journalists get fixated on something, we don't do it in half measures), it surely can't be impossible for Rubiales and Tebas to sit down one day, lay out their visions as leaders of their respective organisations, and reach shared solutions. It'd be good for everyone.