Michel Platini has asserted his respect for the Spanish national team, and reflected that they remain one of the favourites for next summer’s World Cup.
The UEFA President was in conversation with AS this week, discussing a number of topics, including the perception in Spain that he is not a fan of La Roja’s recent run of success.
“This is not true. I like La Roja and their game,” Platini has countered in today’s edition of the publication.
“The team reminds me of how it was with France in the 1980s, with players of the style of Giresse and Tigana, small like Xavi and Iniesta, but with a great talent.
“It is not only their midfielders, but also the defenders who are skilled and who can play the ball. And then their forwards exploit this play with power and the ability to finish.
“Spain is a power, and they have been the best national team in recent years. That’s why they have won the last two European Championships and the World Cup.
“But most important is that they have done so with a popular style of play, that fans and professionals have loved equally. So, they have many followers in the world.
“Are they favourites for the World Cup? They are among the favourites because they are the current champions, but it depends on the strength and condition of the players when they get to Brazil 2014.
“This is especially so for the veterans like Xavi, Puyol and Xabi. But the truth is that the younger players who Vicente del Bosque has included are also proving they are up to the same level.
“The team has not suffered. If everything comes together well, Spain can retain the World Cup.”