Blogs & Opinion


Guillem Balague:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Cem Takaci on Making his mark

"Hi Guillem, all of this hype sourounding jose mourinho and the saying that the wave is swinging for real madrid right now. But once Jose leaves and it does seem that he will if not this... " View all comments

Siyavuya Zamxaka on Awesome foursome

"wonderfull column as always...I think Madrid have a better chance of winning the Cup game in all of these 4 games. This is because Mourinho can play any system and not worry about how ... " View all comments

Guillem Balague tips Thiago to make World Cup, but expects Torres to miss out on a plane ticket

Guillem Balague - Guillem Balague Posted 4th March 2014 view comments

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque is looking for versatile players and guys who can play in different positions at more or less the same level.

Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez, who can play in central midfield or at centre-back is one, and so is Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta, who can play on both flanks.

Azpilicueta, Juanfran, and Sergio Ramos can play at right-back, hence the absence of Alvaro Arbeloa in this squad to face Italy on Wednesday, and while I do think Arbeloa will go to the World Cup as he is very good defensively, this is a warning sign for him.

Pass master: Thiago is ideally suited to Spain's style, says Guillem

Pass master: Thiago is ideally suited to Spain's style, says Guillem

Cesc Fabregas can play in midfield or as a forward and because he can be used as a false nine - something which will definitely be utilised by Spain in Brazil - Del Bosque might, for the first time ever, take only two strikers to the World Cup, possibly Diego Costa and Alvaro Negredo.

I read that Del Bosque watched the final of Euro 2012 - the 4-0 win over Italy - where Cesc played as a false nine and it worked, so I think that will continue as it is part of the essence of Spain.

He is irregular in the way he runs but you don't know where he is going to go and that is a talent.

Guillem Balague on Diego Costa
Quotes of the week

In terms of novelties, to have Thiago Alcantara in the side is not much of surprise because they saw him as someone who could go to the World Cup even when he wasn't a regular for Barcelona.

And now that he is a regular for Bayern you have to count on him, plus he plays in the style that goes so well for La Roja, in terms of possession and position.

Commitment

However, I don't think the team will change too much.

There are famous absences that may be repeated for the World Cup - there is no Fernando Torres, no David Villa, no Fernando Llorente and I don't think either of those three will make it, but I think Juan Mata will.

The arrival of Diego Costa, though, will add something new to the team - he adds commitment, aggression, and runs; he's very powerful in the air and, while he looks clumsy at times, finishes well.

He is a strange player and irregular in the way he runs but, as defenders say, you don't know where he is going to go and that is a talent.

He didn't score for Atletico in the Madrid derby but he made life very difficult for what, for me, is the best defensive pairing in the world, Pepe and Sergio Ramos.

I know a lot of people won't agree with that but find me one that is better than them - it's not just the defending, they can build from the back and defend high - but Costa was superior to them, and he didn't get involved in play acting.

Finally, Casillas will be the number one of Spain, there is no doubt about that, as Del Bosque looks not only for a good keeper but a leader, and Casillas, with Xavi, is the leader of the side.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Merse tips draws for Arsenal and Man City and a win for Man United because of their name, not their form....

Jamie Redknapp

Jamie: Arsenal must prove progress

If Arsenal want the title they must shut out the top teams, starting with Everton, says Jamie Redknapp....

Guillem Balague

Balague: no room for James

Guillem Balague says £63m man James Rodriguez may struggle to find his place in the Real Madrid line-up....

Latest News RSS feeds

Mackay to assist FA inquiry

Malky Mackay says he will co-operate fully with an FA investigation into Cardiff's text message dossier.

Sky Sports Today

All the build-up to a busy weekend of football action plus latest on Liverpool's move to sign Mario Balotelli.

Live transfer updates

Liverpool to hold more Mario Balotelli talks, Arsenal keen to strengthen plus latest from the morning papers.

Sherwood out of Palace running

Tim Sherwood has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant manager's role at Crystal Palace.

Spurs hit back to sink AEL

Tottenham hit back from a goal down to win 2-1 away at AEL Limassol in the first leg of their Europa League playoff.

Features

Premier League Transfer: New signing Marcos Rojo must prove the critics wrong once again at Manchester United

Premier League Transfer: New signing Marcos Rojo must prove the critics wrong once again at Manchester United

It’s not Arturo Vidal or Mats Hummels but it seems Manchester United finally have a new signing in £16million man Marcos Rojo. The Argentine defender will arrive at Old Trafford with more questions than those believing him to have the answers. No matter. Rojo has proved the critics wrong before.

Champions League playoff: Arsenal survive Besiktas test with Calum Chambers impressive in the centre of defence

Champions League playoff: Arsenal survive Besiktas test with Calum Chambers impressive in the centre of defence

It was a night that always threatened to be ghastly for Arsenal, the type of long European trip that smacks of the clichéd banana skin so early in the season.

Transfer News: Sky Bet rate Liverpool's chances of signing each of the strikers on their reported shortlist

Transfer News: Sky Bet rate Liverpool's chances of signing each of the strikers on their reported shortlist

In a recent statistical write up by Whoscored.com, over 60 per cent of Skysports.com readers named Marco Reus as the much-needed forward they believe Liverpool should sign before the summer transfer deadline.