Spain boss Vincente del Bosque has defended his Ballon d’Or selections and the policy of playing long distance friendlies.
Del Bosque snubbed favourites Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to pick La Roja stars Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta in the player category, and left Real Madrid Coach Jose Mourinho out of his Coach of the Year nominations.
“It was impossible to please everyone,” said the 61-year-old in an interview with Marca conducted in Brazil. “Some time ago I spoke about this with [assistant Coach] Toni Grande. And I did pretty much what we said.
“His argument was that we represent Spanish football and had to vote on it. So we opted for the two captains and the best player in the tournament [Euro 2012]. Andres [Iniesta] represents all the others, the entire seleccion.”
Del Bosque was then asked about Brazil and whether they have been usurped as world football’s number one power by Spain.
“I do not think the distance between Spain and Brazil is great. We cannot do anything stupid, football is dangerous. Brazil are a powerhouse and will be the team to beat at the Confederations Cup.
“It is a quality competition. There’s Mexico, who are growing, Japan, who proved theirselves at the Olympics, the winner of the African Nations Cup and Tahiti, who will want to go to war. Finishing third in 2009 left a bad taste, we will bring the best players we have.”
In February Spain will travel to the middle east to face Qatar, for another long distance friendly after recent trips to Puerto Rico and Panama.
“I don’t want to convince anyone,” the Salamanca native continued. “There has been no disruption with the matches we have played in the Americas, a part of the world where there are many things which unite us with the people there. This is football and injury can happen at any time. I’m not opposed to these trips.”
Del Bosque then turned to the composition of the squad and addressed the issue of why there tend to be so many Barcelona players in it.
“We are at a time when there are many in the squad who have reached full maturity, and young talents like Isco, [Iker] Munain, Thiago [Alcantara] and [Cristian] Tello who are pushing very hard. In Panama we had eight Barcelona players. If one day I have to select 14 Barcelona players because they deserve it, I will. Carles Puyol? If he is ok, not injured and playing for his team, why shouldn’t he return to the seleccion?”