Alvaro Morata has been named Spain’s new captain ahead of Luis de la Fuente’s first match in charge, with the new coach seeking the “security and confidence” of a strong start.
It is all change for Spain following the 2022 World Cup, with previous skipper Sergio Busquets retiring and De la Fuente replacing Luis Enrique as boss.
Morata is left as the most experienced player in the former Spain Under-21 coach’s first squad and was confirmed as captain ahead of their first Euro 2024 qualifier against Norway on Saturday.
“It’s a pride and a joy,” Morata said in a news conference. “I’m looking forward to things going well and winning. I’m here to help the younger ones.”
The Atletico Madrid striker has been enthused by what he has seen from De la Fuente so far – and he believes he is not alone in that sense.
“I have been with different coaches and I see everyone very excited,” Morata added. “He likes to give affection to his players and work hard.
“We all have to win from playing and competing. The ticket for a European Championship and a World Cup is not easy, and we are all clear about what is important for us and that we have to always be at these tournaments.”
30 – Álvaro Morata has scored 30 goals in 61 international appearances for Spain, just one fewer than the entire Spanish current squad combined (31 goals from 13 players). Captain. pic.twitter.com/sF51uswuDz
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 22, 2023
De la Fuente is “enjoying and living an incomparable experience”, but he knows the importance of the result against Norway.
“Any project has to start well,” the coach said. “It’s not all about getting off to a good start, but I’d like to.
“It would give us more security and confidence. We are sure of that.”
Spain’s hopes of that first win have been boosted by the absence of Norway’s superstar striker Erling Haaland, out with a groin injury.
De la Fuente added: “I’m very sorry for any footballer’s injury. It is the ugly face of this sport. We also have injuries.
“That said, to say I’d like to see Haaland on the field tomorrow would be lying.”