Naming of squad for Euro '08 delayed after team doctor's death
Suspense continues as Spain's soccer coach delays unveiling results of squad to pay respect to the 62-year-old national team doctor.16 May 2008
MADRID - Suspense surrounding Spanish soccer coach Luis Aragonés' naming of the squad for next month's European Championships is to continue for a further 24 hours following the news Thursday that the national team doctor, Genaro Borrás, had died of cancer. He was 62.
Aragonés said he would delay the unveiling of his 23 chosen players from Friday to Saturday, in order to be able to pay his last respects to Borrás at a cremation ceremony today in Vigo. Borrás had worked with Celta de Vigo as head of the club's medical department for over 25 years, while also joining the Spanish team at several World Cup and European events.
Meanwhile, speculation is rife concerning the final list of those who will go to the Austria and Switzerland-hosted event, mainly focusing on whether two famous forwards - one a glittering future promise, the other facing the possible eclipse of his career as an international - will be named.
News agency Efe and other sports media yesterday predicted that neither 17-year-old Bojan Krkic nor 30-year-old Raúl, capped 102 times by Spain, would be on the list.
The decision not to offer Krkic his chance to debut for Spain on one of the biggest possible stages is reported to have been a consensual one, with Aragonés having sought the advice of both the young Serbo-Spaniard's family and club, Barcelona.
"He's dead on his feet," came the reply from Barça, in reference to the player's tiredness after his first full season at the top level, one that has ended bitterly with the firing of coach Frank Rijkaard after the team failed to win a trophy.
Raúl, meanwhile, has made clear his desire to return to the national team after one of his best seasons at Real Madrid in recent years.
But Aragonés seems unlikely to waver at this late stage, having weathered an almost constant stream of criticism for two years over his exclusion of the former captain.
"My objective now is to rest," the striker who has scored 44 goals for Spain said.
All of which would appear to leave a vacancy to fill the forward ranks alongside the likely picks of Fernando Torres, David Villa and Mallorca's leading La Liga marksman Dani Güiza.
In the midfield Getafe's Rubén de la Red is rumoured to be close to inclusion, with Valencia's David Albelda short of match fitness after being sidelined by his club for much of the season.
[El Pais / J. Badcock / Expatica]