Spain boss Luis Enrique has explained why Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was excluded from his 24-man panel for this summer’s European Championships.
The talismanic central defender is the most capped player in the history of the Spanish national team with 180 appearances and his absence is noteworthy.
The 35-year-old has been troubled by injuries this campaign which have limited him to just 15 league starts and just once since 9 January.
It was within this context that the boss explained his absence from his squad, which nevertheless came as the headline news from Monday morning’s announcement.
Indeed, there are no Madrid players included at all in the panel – there is no room for right-back Dani Carvajal, for the in-form defender Nacho Fernandez or for forward Marco Asensio, while Lucas Vazquez is also out through injury.
Luis Enrique explained in his press conference, in quotes carried by Diario AS: “When you have to make decisions it is based on our criteria. I would like to talk about Sergio Ramos. Obviously it is because he has not been able to compete since January in the right conditions. It has not been easy.
“Yesterday I had the opportunity to communicate it to him. It was difficult and hard. It gives me a bad taste because he is someone who has always been at the highest level, but I clearly believe that it is a decision that seeks the best for the group. I recommended that he be selfish and recover 100 percent to continue playing for his club and in the future in the national team.
“It has been a decision that we have thought about a lot. I spoke with him at the Madrid-Sevilla game at half-time, but we only talked about his injury. I keep yesterday’s conversation private. It is not easy to convey something that is not positive for him. I have to stick to what is best for the team.
“Anything related to Sergio Ramos would generate controversy. I know what it means to train at the highest level. I hope and wish it does not affect the national team, which is prepared to compete.