Luis Enrique is not known for his messing about in press conferences and is well aware of the headlines that can be created, regardless of what he means.
That was the case when he was asked who his favourite was for the World Cup. Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Spain’s match with the Czech Republic in Malaga.
“I’m going to take advantage of the question… Argentina.”
“A long way ahead of everyone else. And then Brazil. More than anything because otherwise a Brazilian journalist will come and say ‘you think Argentina are better than Brazil?’, because no matter what you say, it will be distorted. But they are a long, long way ahead of the rest.”
Those comments are not only interesting from a purely footballing point of view, they come shortly after Kylian Mbappe had said that European teams were ahead of their South American counterparts. Something which naturally didn’t go down too well.
Spain themselves will be looking to make a significant impact at the World Cup, having exited at the group stage in 2014 and the second round in Russia. Their appearance in the semi-finals of the Euros sparked optimism about La Roja that had been lacking for some time, but Italy’s own failure to qualify for the World Cup should serve as a keen reminder of their mortality.