Barcelona’s Pau Cubarsi left out of Spain squad for Euro 2024


Barcelona defender Pau Cubarsi has been left out of Luis de la Fuente’s Spain squad for the European Championship in Germany.

The 17-year-old joins Girona’s Aleix Garcia and Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente in players that were cut from the preliminary squad that was announced in May.

Cubarsi made his senior international debut in March, coming on as a late substitute during the 1-0 defeat by Colombia at the London Stadium. He has earned two further caps since. 

Cubarsi’s omission is perhaps a surprise following the impressive debut season he had for Barcelona. He made 35 appearances in all competitions during 2023-24, three of those coming in the Champions League. 

Spain face Northern Ireland at Estadi Mallorca Son Moix on Saturday in their final friendly before the start of Euro 2024. 

They kick off their tournament against Croatia on June 15 before taking on Italy for a repeat of the Euro 2021 semi-final on June 20. They round out the group stage against Albania in Dusseldorf on June 24.

Could Cubarsi’s Olympic involvement have something to do with his Euro omission?

Analysis from The Athletic’s Barcelona correspondent Pol Ballus

Not many people around the Spain national team expected Cubarsi to miss out on Luis de la Fuente’s final list.

As long as one out of the five centre-backs included on the preliminary list was set to be cut off, Barcelona’s 17-year-old gem seemed to tick several boxes to travel to Germany: unique skill set, solid end-of-season form with Barcelona and the chance to give a potentially generational talent a unique experience to learn the ropes with the national team.

However, De la Fuente opted to give the fourth centre-back spot to 24-year-old Daniel Vivian, who also had an excellent season at Athletic Bilbao. A factor on Vivian being the surprise call in this list also relies on the struggles Cubarsi showed on his international debut, in March, against Colombia.

The first read in Cubarsi’s omission might point towards the defender being in a pole position now to join Spain for the Olympics. This had been a subject of discussion between Barcelona and the Spanish FA for months this season – the club did not want their young starlets to play both competitions over summer, in order to not overuse them.

Pedri was one of the footballers who completed the Euros and Olympics in the same summer (2021) – leading the 21-year-old to have three injury-prone seasons in a row.

Lamine Yamal, who is expected to be a starter at the Euros, is seen as unlikely to go to the Olympics. But as Cubarsi was never expected to have a primary role in Germany, his inclusion in the Olympics squad was not off-the-table yet.

Some people at Barcelona might be happy to see Cubarsi having some time off in the coming weeks but if he is included in the Olympic squad, he will miss a big part of pre-season with his club.

The other two players to be left out of the final cut are Garcia and Llorente. Despite Girona’s wonder season, Garcia was a clear candidate to be dropped as he fought against experienced Rodri and Martin Zubimendi to get a place in the team.

In the case of Llorente, his multifunctionality was seen as an interesting asset, but he has probably been a victim of the great form other players are in. Ayoze Perez scored against Andorra, Fermin Lopez was involved in three goals in that same game and Alex Baena ended the season in a fantastic way with Villarreal. They have clearly won that battle in De la Fuente’s eyes.

Spain’s Euro 2024 squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), David Raya (Arsenal), Alex Remiro (Real Sociedad).

Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Aymeric Laporte (Al Nassr), Robin Le Normand (Real Sociedad), Nacho (Real Madrid), Dani Vivian (Athletic Bilbao), Alejandro Grimaldo (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc Cucurella (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Rodri (Manchester City), Martin Zubimendi (Real Sociedad), Fabian (Paris Saint-Germain), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Pedri (Barcelona), Alex Baena (Villarreal), Fermin Lopez (Barcelona).

Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Joselu (Real Madrid), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Lamine Yamal (Barcelona), Ayoze Perez (Real Betis).

(Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

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