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SPORTS UPDATE

New Spain manager hints on Sergio Ramos return

Spain’s new manager, Luis de la Fuente, has opened the door for Sergio Ramos to return to the national team, after previous manager Luis Enrique snubbed the central defender a place in the squad for the previous two tournaments.

Enrique decided Ramos wasn’t deserving of a spot in the Spain squad at either Euro 2020 or World Cup 2022, despite squad allocations rising to 26 players. Enrique has since been sacked by Spain, though, after failing to take the nation past the last 16 at the World Cup, losing to Morocco on penalties.
Luis de la Fuente, the Spain U21 manager since 2018, has stepped up to replace him now. Speaking at his unveiling as the new Spain manager, De la Fuente tried not to get dragged into a debate surrounding Ramos’ omission from the national team for the past 18 months.
“I was not the coach and you should not enter a debate about Sergio Ramos or any other,” he explained.
However, after a constant bombardment of questions related to the 36-year-old Paris Saint-Germain defender, De la Fuente eventually left the door open.
“Sergio Ramos, can he come to the national team? Yes. Is he in good condition? Yes. All footballers who are in good condition have a chance to be selected.”

The new national team manager said he is willing to give players opportunities in the side, regardless of their age or experience. Previously he has been constrained by age limits, but, now, he has the potential to pick whoever he likes.
“Until now, in the lower ranks, I have worked with an age limit. Now I have the option of choosing any footballer. I do not close the doors to anyone.
“I am a man convinced of young talent, but also of veterans who have given us so much and they continue to give us at the top level and in the national team. We are not going to be looking at identity cards.”
De la Fuente’s first games in charge of Spain will be in March, as they kick off their Euro 2024 qualification campaign against Norway and Scotland.

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