El Centrocampista

Spanish number nine?

The topic of just who will be the Spanish National Teams main striker is one that is debated in bars up and down the country.

But in the last three years, or so, the debate around the area has risen to a whole new proportion. With Fernando Torres and David Villa not being able to secure a spot in the starting eleven in their current club teams, La Roja seems to have lost their power up front.

Even Fernando Llorente is sitting on the bench at San Mamés every weekend, while the memories or Julio Salinas and Raúl are luckily long gone.

Nonetheless, Spain seems to find themselves in the somewhat unusual position of being without a striker.  It didn’t matter in the Euros with Fabregas playing as ´false nine´ as Spain managed to dominate the continent one more time and reach glory for a third straight big trophy.

However, it is hard to believe that the same success will follow in the World Cup without having someone who can score goals. Michu’s current success puts him in a sort of privileged position but truth be told he still hasn’t received a call from Del Bosque. This is despite already scoring 15 goals in the last two consecutive seasons, something that no other Spaniard can say at the moment; doing it so in, perhaps, the two most competitive leagues.

But Michu aside, the answer may relay in La Liga itself. Despite the superiority of foreign players like Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Radamel Falcao leading the scoring the table the truth is that this have been the best year for Spanish strikers in many years.

In fact, since the 2000/2001 season they haven’t been that many Spanish strikers amount La Liga top ten. That year, seven Spaniards were amount the league leaders, this season we have six, apart from the three superstars mentioned before, Mexican Carlos Vela completes the list of foreigners this season.

Only once this millennium – the 2000/2001 season – have there been more Spaniards in the top ten of the goal scoring charts that foreigners.  In fact the last Spanish to win a Pichichi trophy was Dani Guiza in 2007/2008 season. Apart from Guiza, Torres and Villa are the only Spaniards to appear in the top three goal scorers list in the last 10 campaigns.

The years of a Spaniard winning the top boot are long gone until the moment that Messi and Ronaldo decide to leave Spain.

However, the fact that in the top 20 scorers this season only seven are foreigners is rather encouraging.

With the expected names such as Negredo and Soldado, we also find old school strikers as Riki and Aduriz as well as more interesting promises like Rubén Castro, Iago Aspas or Isco. Despite starting only 10 games, Villa is also in the top 20 with seven goals.

Of course part of this Spanish rise has to do with the economical crisis that restraints teams to buy foreign players. But the fact that talents like Michu are succeeding abroad and that names like Negredo, Soldado or Villa are join by players like Aspas and Isco shows a brighter future for the national team that many seem to believe.

Plus with all the “tiki-taka” still in midfield, Spain probably won’t worry too much about a striker just yet.

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