Jorge Vilda’s Spain squad sliced apart: Claudia Zornoza and Marta Cardona both to undergo surgery after injury confirmation
The two Madrid-based players suffered injuries that leave them in a race against time to be fit for the upcoming World Cup.
Spain’s latest squad list has, once again, thrown up plenty of surprises and created countless topics of debate ahead of the World Cup in July. None of the 15 players who wrote to the Spanish FA (RFEF) requesting that they no longer be made available for selection have returned, despite rumours on the contrary circulating all week, in the lead up to the announcement of Vilda’s squad for the friendlies against Norway and China.
Captain Irene Paredes was the standout inclusion of a list that no longer reads like a Barcelona tribute act; the all-conquering club side make up the majority of the 15 players who claimed that their “emotional state” and “health” were such that they could not play for the national team.
The new, Barcelona-less Spain
Instead of, understandably, choosing a squad packed with FC Barcelona players, Vilda has been forced to dip into various teams across the league and has, as such, lifted somewhat lesser known names who have made their mark on the division. Marta Cardona and Claudia Zornoza - one current and one ex-Real Madrid player - were not of the lesser known names in the league. However, given the squad constraints, they have since shot up Vilda’s pecking order and have become undroppable in the new-look side.
Zornoza, Madrid’s central midfield metronome, had shone in the 22/23 season in various creative roles within the side. Whether partnered with Maite Oroz or Tere Abelleira, the ex-Levante centre-midfielder’s left foot produced magic on an almost weekly basis, providing the balance needed for players like Caroline Weir, Athenea and the newly incorporated Linda Caicedo to shine further up the pitch. Her name was thrown into the mix for the Spain team even when Alexia, Aitana and Patri were the stars; since the drama unfolded, she has become a fixture in the side.
As for Marta Cardona, the Atlético Madrid winger (5 goals and 4 assists this season) had already found her place in the Spain XI in ‘the before times’, and proved key during Euro 2022 qualification and the tournament itself. Her move to Atleti from rivals Real Madrid was seen as a huge blow for Las Blancas after two stellar seasons and her departure was a deeply unpopular move from a fan perspective, but the club were ruthless and did not count on her given her injury record, choosing instead to bring in different names.
Injuries for Zornoza and Cardona
Unfortunately for Jorge Vilda, when it rains, it pours, and now he has to contest with the fact that both of these players are injured and in a race against time to be fit for for the World Cup, which begins in July. Claudia Zornoza’s injury was confirmed on Saturday 31st March after Madrid’s win over Levante Las Planas: a broken fibula. The midfielder was subject to a strong challenge and was immediately taken off in place of Tere. It is estimated that Zornoza will be out for 6-8 weeks.
As for Cardona, she will undergo surgery on a knee injury she sustained earlier in the season. Jorge Vilda, who broke the news before beginning his press conference on March 31st, said that “it was nothing serious” and that “she will be back soon”. However, despite the fact that no time scale has been put on Cardona’s return (it is estimated to be a recovery time of around 4-6 weeks), the World Cup is her objective and may be back even before the league season is over.