Spain boss Luis Enrique has picked Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte in his Euro 2020 squad instead of captain Sergio Ramos.
In a decision that is bound to be controversial in Spain, Enrique overlooked Ramos due to concerns over his fitness as he named a 24-man squad, even though he could have named a maximum of 26 players.
However, Enrique defended the decision not to bring Ramos, and instead choose Laporte for the first time after he switched allegiances from France this month. Laporte has been regularly overlooked by his native France, and is eligible for Spain through family from the Basque region.
Laporte joins Rodri, Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia in representatives from City in the squad.
“We have contemplated the possibility of Laporte from the first moment,” Enrique told reporters.
“He is a great player who is in one of the best teams in the world. I do not like that his inclusion is related to the loss of Sergio Ramos. I don’t think Ramos had time to arrive in good condition.”
Laporte took to Instagram to react to the call-up, saying: “Very grateful for the trust placed in me by the coaching staff for this exciting Euro 2021.
“I feel very proud to be part of @spain and I am looking forward to the time to join this incredible team. Let’s go.”
As for the other City players, Rodri and Torres have been key players for Spain over the last year, while Garcia has played in recent games as his Etihad contract runs to an end.
Just like he was used at Brighton last week, Enrique says Garcia’s versatility at right-back, especially in a squad without regulars Ramos and Dani Carvajal, was a reason for his selection.
The manager said: “It is in the position where we have had more problems. We have brought Azpilicueta because we know him a lot and Marcos Llorente because although he is not a defense, he can play there. If there are emergency situations, Eric Garcia and Diego Llorente also they could act as laterals.”