As Sergio Ramos moved to the heart of La Roja's defence following the 2010 World Cup victory, a spot opened at right-back for someone to grasp. At the time there was no real competition for the place and Alvaro Arbeloa was the obvious choice. The 31-year-old made the spot his own in years to come and was part of a consistent back four that went on to win Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
The Real Madrid defender has been part of the national squad for many years now, and has clocked up 56 appearances for La Roja. However, this summer his place in Brazil is seriously in doubt.
Arbeloa was another product of the Real Madrid academy that blossomed away from Santiago Bernabeu before Los Blancos wanted him back. It was at Liverpool where he started to play consistently and soon earned a move back to his boyhood club in 2009. Since then he has been a fixture for club and country, but this season has not gone to plan for the full-back.
Carlo Ancelotti brought in Dani Carvajal in the summer to compete with Arbeloa for the right-back spot and although Arbeloa started the season, his younger competitor would soon be the preferred option for Ancelotti.
A rotation system was employed between the two until Arbeloa suffered a knee injury in the Madrid derby in March, ruling him out for eight weeks, taking us to the beginning of May.
For the national side, a rotation system was also being employed as Vicente Del Bosque had a look at his options for Brazil, with Juanfran and Cesar Azpilicueta both having impressive seasons.
The injury could not have come at a worse time for the former Deportivo player and even if Arbeloa wins his fitness race he could find himself sat at home this summer, and being past the wrong side of 30, could miss out on his last chance at a major tournament with his country.
Both Azpilicueta and Juanfran have had stunning seasons with their clubs and it would be a brave man to deny either the opportunity this summer. But what Arbeloa does have over his rivals is experience. A key ingredient to any successful side is having been there and done that and the Coach may opt for Arbeloa on that basis.
Time is running out for Arbeloa, though. After such a long absence he needs games to prove his fitness and regain his form extremely quickly before making a claim to be on the plane to Brazil. If the Coach goes on current form, Arbeloa will miss out but he can hope what he has done in the past is considered by the boss.