May 22, 2012, 5:12 PM EDT
The loss of their best defender increased the need to get Spain’s biggest scoring threat healthy, but David Villa’s participation in Euro 2012 was always a long shot. Today came the news we were expecting: Spain’s only consistent goal scoring threat won’t be at Poland-Ukraine, out while recovering from a broken leg at December’s Club World Cup.
According to a statement on Barcelona’s web site, the decision was Villa’s. On Tuesday, Villa told Spain and coach Vincente del Bosque that he can’t do it. After his last couple of training sessions it’s clear: He won’t be ready come June 10 (when Spain faces Italy).
Villa communicated his decision to the Spanish Football Federation and FC Barcelona this Tuesday.
After not showing sufficient progress in his recovery in the last few training sessions, David Villa told [head coach Vicente] Del Bosque that despite wanting to be part of Spain’s team in Poland and Ukraine, that he is not in optimal physical condition to play in a competition like the EURO.
Still only 30 years old, Villa is already Spain’s all-time leading scorer, posting 51 goals in 82 career appearances. After him, there’s a huge drop off for La Roja. Fernando Torres has scored 27 times, but that’s in 91 appearances (then there’s the fact that Torres isn’t that good anymore).
Spain’s other forwards: Fernando Llorente, Roberto Saldado and Alvaro Negredo? They’ve combined to score 15 goals (albeit in 30 games). As worrisome, they’re all very different types of players from Villa. Del Bosque’s going to have to tweak Spain’s approach.
When PST claimed Spain are no longer the tournament’s favorites, we have Villa’s absence in mind. Except for some small hopes expiring, nothing much has changed. Spain still has the talent to win this tournament. They’ve got three weeks to figure it out.
ProSoccerTalk is doing its best to keep you up to date on what’s going on in Poland and Ukraine. Check out the site’s Euro 2012 page and look at the site’s previews, predictions, and coverage of all the events defining UEFA’s championship.
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