It’s been a season of mixed emotions for Barca, but the double is not yet out of sight. There are several European players who have helped them come within touching distance of the double, thus warranting them a place at the Euro’s. Through this player profile guide, we will look at the most likely contenders to lead their country to European Glory. For the most up-to-date information on the Euro 2016 qualifiers, check out thatsagoal.com
Alba has featured 30 times for Barca this season and has undoubtedly helped their title bid. Yet, the 27-year-old will face tough competiton with Nacho Monreal and Cesar Azpilicueta all chasing a place in the starting eleven. The advantage for Alba, however, is his versatility. When called upon, he is able to act as a left-winger and that is something that Vicente del Bosque may wish to take into consideration.
Pique has played a total of 44 games in the 15/16 campaign. The towering centre-back also five goals to his name, proving he can pose a threat from set-pieces. He is part of a Barca side that have conceded the second fewest goals in the league, and with Spain desperate to overcome their 2014 World Cup humiliation, defensive capability is something Bosque must select. And for competence at the back, Pique is his man.
Busquets has been described as the conductor of Barcelona: he is their engine room, the anchor man of their midfield. Chelsea and PSG have been vying for the midfielder’s signature but the Spanish giants are desperate to keep ahold of him. He has played the majority of games this season, displaying incredible fitness and can bring a wealth of experience for La Furia Roja.
Rakitic will be up against a number of his teammates, as Spain are in Croatia’s group, they will know just how overlooked the midfielder can be. Like Busquets, Rakitic has played the majority of games for Barcelona this season, scoring nine goals and bagging six assists. But there’s much more to his game than that, he is the catalyst for a lot of Barcelona’s attacks, he’s able to launch attacks from deep in midfield, and is central to Barcelona’s great attacking prowess.
Iniesta has made 42 appearances for Barca this season and the ageing midfielder shows no signs of slowing down. And despite turning 32 this month, he is still integral to Spain and should they want to produce a backlash from their 2014 disappointment, Iniesta will be heading to France. He remains the impetus of Spain, and although he may find himself playing deeper, he and Busquets would make an excellent pairing at Euro 2016.
What about outside of Barcelona? Which players do you see making the most impact at Euro 2016, and are there any that you feel the Blaugrana should target this summer?