Terry Gibson says that Marco Asensio is already a superstar.
The men’s football tournament at the 2020 Olympic Games is about to get under way, with all 16 teams beginning their quests for gold on July 22nd.
Spain are one of the favourites to win the gold medal and Luis de la Fuente’s squad is packed with exciting young LaLiga talent, as 20 members of his 22-man squad played their football in LaLiga Santander or LaLiga Smartbank last season.
Some of the most high-profile members of the Spain Olympics team include Getafe’s dynamic winger, Marc Cucurella, Real Sociedad’s midfield, metronome Mikel Merino, Real Madrid’s goalscoring wide man, Marco Asensio and the Euro 2020 stars Unai Simón, Eric García, Pau Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal, Dani Olmo and Pedri. Pedri even comes into the Olympics after being named the Euro 2020 Young Player of the Tournament.
In addition to the 20 Spaniards, there are another 10 LaLiga players at the tournament representing other countries.
These are France’s Modibo Sagnan, Japan’s Takefusa Kubo, South Korea’s Kang-in Lee, Ivory Coast’s Idrissa Doumbia, Mexico’s Diego Lainez, Brazil’s Diego Carlos, Romania’s Alex Pașcanu and Andrei Rațiu and Argentina’s JeremíasLedesma and Nehuén Pérez.
This means that there are 30 LaLiga players at this summer’s men’s football tournament in Japan, spread across nine of the 16 competing nations.
No other league has this many representatives at the Olympic Games this year. Looking at the other major leagues of Europe, there are 24 Germany-based players going, 23 from France, 16 from England and nine who ply their trade in Italy.
The 30 Spain-based players who will be competing in Japan come from 17 different clubs, with Athletic Club, FC Barcelona, Cádiz CF, RC Celta, SD Eibar, RCD Espanyol, Granada CF, Getafe CF, SD Huesca, CA Osasu na, SD Ponferradina, Real Betis, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, SevillaFC, Valencia CF and Villarreal CF all having members of their 2020/21 squads at the Games. Of those clubs, it’s Real Sociedad who are sending more players than any other team as Martín Zubimendi, Mikel Oyarzabal, Mikel Merino and Modibo Sagnan will all be present in Japan this summer.
The Olympic Games squad lists also highlight the quality that is present in Spain’s LaLiga SmartBank. While 27 of the 30 Spain-based players were in the top division, in LaLiga Santander, last campaign, Javi Puado, Óscar Gil and Alex Pașcanu’s performances in the Spanish second tier were impressive enough to earn them call-ups for the tournamenttoo.
With so many players at the tournament, there will be some fascinating LaLiga battles in Japan this summer. For example, fans will be able to see Takefusa Kubo go up against Diego Lainez when Japan face Mexico in the second round of group stage games. Then, when Spain play Argentina in the final round of group matches, there will be a very special moment for Granada fans as Spain’s captain Jesús Vallejo and the Albiceleste captain Nehuén Pérez should lead their respective sides out, after playing together at centre-back this past season in Andalusia.
This summer’s tournament should be a thrilling one as the 16 qualified teams battle it out for a place in the gold medal match in Yokohama on August 7th. With 30 Spain-based players in the tournament, there is a good chance that at least one LaLiga player will be celebrating come the end of this competition.