Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has been left out of Spain’s 24-member squad for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each participating team was allowed to have 26 players in the squad, but Spain coach Luis Enrique opted to name a 24-man contingent instead and left out Sergio Ramos.

"Ramos has not been able to compete this season, he has not been able to train with the group. I called him last night, it was difficult and hard,” Enrique told reporters while explaining his decision.

“I clearly see that it’s a complicated decision. I recommended that he be selfish and that he regains his level to play in his club and in the national team.”

In his absence, Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has been named captain of the Spain national football team. The former Barcelona coach, Enrique, in fact, decided not to include any player from Real Madrid in the team; this includes Nacho Fernandez, Dani Carvajal and Marco Asensio. Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Aarrizabalaga missed out on making the cut too. 

“It is possible (to leave them out) as players like Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos [had] injuries during the season.

“Apart from that I cannot pick the squad based on whether some people will be happy or not.”

It is the first time in history that no Real Madrid player will play a major tournament for Spain. For Ramos, he had not missed an international tournament for Spain since his appearance in Euro 2004. 

His 2020/21 season, however, was plagued with unfortunate injuries. He was out for a total of 35 matches across all competitions for Real Madrid and played the full 90 minutes in just three games in 2021.

Taking Ramos’ position are Manchester City center-backs Eric Garcia and Aymeric Laporte. Garcia played just 12 games for the Premier League champions this season while Laporte’s season was also disrupted with injuries.

“The Aymeric Laporte decision has nothing to do with the Ramos situation,” Enrique said.

“He is a top player, can help our national team a lot, plays at one of the best clubs in history. Please don’t mix Ramos not being in the squad with call-ups for others. I'd have liked him to be here, to have recovered.”

Spain are in Group E alongside Sweden, Poland and Slovakia for Euro 2020. They begin their campaign against Sweden on June 15 (per IST) at the Estadio de La Cartuja in Sevilla.

Spain football squad for Euro 2020

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Unai Simon, Robert Sanchez

Defenders: Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba, Jose Gaya, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Diego Llorente, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Llorente

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Pedri, Thiago, Koke, Fabian

Forwards: Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Alvaro Morata, Gerard Moreno, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, Pablo Sarabia

Featured photo: AFP / Mladen Antonov