Luis Enrique has to look further afield than his predecessors when calling up his goalkeepers for the Spanish national team.
During La Roja’s successful spell between 2008 and 2012, two of their three goalkeepers played in Spain.
Iker Casillas was joined by either Sevilla’s Andres Palop or Barcelona’s Victor Valdes in squads, which also included Liverpool’s Pepe Reina.
Now, each of Spain’s top three goalkeepers play abroad, with David de Gea at Manchester United, Kepa Arrizabalaga at Chelsea and Pau Lopez at Roma.
Spain’s biggest clubs currently opt to import their goalkeepers rather than look closer to home.
Barcelona: Valdes marked an era
Valdes said goodbye to the Camp Nou in March 2014 when a serious knee injury ended his Barcelona career there and then.
Later that year, Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen were brought in to lead the Blaugrana into a new era.
Since Valdes’ final match, Ter Stegen has played 224 of Barcelona’s 351 games, with Bravo on 75 appearances, Jasper Cillessen on 32, Jose Pinto on 12, and Jordi Masip and Neto each on four.
Real Madrid: Iker Casillas’ shadow
After it began to unravel under Jose Mourinho, Casillas eventually left Real Madrid in the summer of 2015.
Diego Lopez and Keylor Navas remained in the goalkeeping department, with the latter going on to start in between the sticks for three consecutive Champions League triumphs.
After his superb displays at the 2018 World Cup, Thibaut Courtois was signed from Chelsea and the Belgian has now established himself as first choice under Zinedine Zidane.
Atletico Madrid: De Gea has been well replaced
When De Gea left for Manchester United in 2011, many thought his gloves would be too big to fill for whoever came after him.
It turned out Atletico were in safe hands, with Courtois arriving on loan from Chelsea and then Jan Oblak establishing himself as one of the best in the world. Continue reading…
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