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:

Guillem Balague

Balague: Barca training tough

Guillem Balague says Barcelona’s stars will suffer gruelling double sessions during their week at Burton....

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Gerrard hard to replace

Jamie Carragher says there’s no natural replacement for Steven Gerrard in the England team....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Liverpool land Divock Origi, Ross Barkley signs new Everton deal and Southampton insist key duo will not leave.

Barkley signs new Everton deal

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has signed a new four-year deal with the club.

Liverpool sign Origi

Liverpool have signed Belgium striker Divock Origi from Lille for a fee of £10million.

Saints chairman: Duo staying

Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin will not be sold, according to Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger.

Dzeko confirms City talks

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko has confirmed that he is in talks about signing a new deal at the Etihad.

Features

La Liga: A look at the best buys so far in Spain

La Liga: A look at the best buys so far in Spain

The top value signings of the summer might not necessarily involve the best players. Clearly, James Rodríguez and Luis Suárez are a cut above anyone recently recruited by Real Sociedad.

In part two of his Sky Sports Fantasy Football scout report, tipster Tim Clement looks at which young stars are set to shine this season

In part two of his Sky Sports Fantasy Football scout report, tipster Tim Clement looks at which young stars are set to shine this season

There’s nothing quite like spotting a young talent set to flourish and Sky Sports Fantasy Football managers will be especially desperate to discover the next young star set to shine.

Good Week/Bad Week: We take a look at the winners and losers from the last seven days

Good Week/Bad Week: We take a look at the winners and losers from the last seven days

So much can change in a week of sporting action and, sure enough, there have been plenty of highs and lows over the past seven days.