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Cubarsi called up to Spain squad for first time


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Barcelona defender Pau Cubarsi has earned his first senior call-up to the men’s Spanish national team for their international friendlies against Colombia and Brazil this month.

The 17-year-old has been a regular for his club over recent weeks and Luis de la Fuente has rewarded the youngster for his impressive performances.

Cubarsi, who plays as a centre-back, has featured in 23 matches across all competitions this season and provided an assist in Barca’s Copa del Rey round-of-16 win against Unionistas.

Cubarsi’s Barcelona team-mate Lamine Yamal, meanwhile, has also been called up, with the 16-year-old enjoying a hugely successful debut campaign. He has scored six times and assisted on seven occasions.

Yamal was called up for the first time to the national team in September 2023 and became the youngest player to score for Spain when he netted against Georgia in a European Championship qualifier. He has since been capped on four occasions.

Athletic Bilbao defender Dani Vivian has also been called up for the first time, with the 24-year-old enjoying a strong season under manager Ernesto Valverde.

Spain face Colombia on March 22 and play Brazil four days later.

Are there any surprises?

Analysis from Guillermo Rai

After losing Brahim Diaz — who has switched allegiances to Morocco — Spain’s roster was quite predictable. De la Fuente has worked with the same group of 20 players in recent selections.

There has only been one change in goal compared to November. Kepa Arrizabalaga has lost his place at Real Madrid, which makes it impossible for him to be here. His replacement is Alex Remiro, who De la Fuente rates a lot.

In defence, De la Fuente has gambled on two of La Liga’s most promising young defenders — Vivian and Cubarsi.

Tottenham Hotspur full-back Pedro Porro and Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Pablo Sarabia, who have not been in De la Fuente’s previous call-ups, are rewarded for their impressive performances in the Premier League.

Vivian has impressed at Bilbao (Diego Souto/Getty Images)

Who is Pau Cubarsi?

Analysis by Pol Ballus



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Cubarsi joined Barcelona in 2018, aged 11. He was raised in Estanyol, a tiny town about 100km (62 miles) north east of Barcelona with a population of about 200. He grew up in a family of carpenters. Fusteria Cubarsi, based in Estanyol, was founded 105 years ago, and the footballer’s parents are the fourth generation leading the business. He has always been close to the family business, even helping out with work.

Cubarsi’s football journey started at his local club Bescano but, at the age of six, Girona recruited him to their youth system. His defensive skills, leadership and competitive mentality caught the eye of Barca’s scouts three years later.

He is from the same age group as Yamal. They played in the same team throughout their years at La Masia and remain close friends. Marc Bernal, the 16-year-old also now at Barcelona Atletic, and Quim Junyent, 16, are two other names spoken of highly among their renowned intake.

Spain squad in full

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon, David Raya, Alex Remiro.

Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Jesus Navas, Pedro Porro, Robin Le Normand, Pau Cubarsi, Dani Vivian, Aymeric Laporte, Alex Grimaldo, Jose Gaya.

Midfielders: Rodri, Martin Zubimendi, Alex Baena, Mikel Merino, Fabian Ruiz, Oihan Sancet.

Forwards: Alvaro Morata, Joselu, Mikel Oyarzabal, Nico Williams, Lamine Yamal, Dani Olmo, Pablo Sarabia, Gerard Moreno.

 (Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

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