Former Spain defender Carles Puyol has backed the country’s emerging stars to take the team forward as many of its best players near the end of their careers.
Puyol was part of the Spain team that won the European Championship in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, along with current players Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and David Silva – all of whom have passed 30.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has the likes of 21-year-old defender Hector Bellerin and 24-year-old midfielder Koke at his disposal in France, and Puyol believes the blend of youth and experience will pay off.
The former Barcelona man told SoFoot.com: “We have great players, some of whom are experienced and can handle this kind of tournament, but also young people who arrive with a great desire and who, with their clubs, have already won major trophies.
“I think it’s a good combination. Some of the pillars of our victories in the Euros and the World Cup have retired, but the current generation is promising to revive the team.
“I’m not sure there’s much doubt. Personally, I think we have a very good selection, but it is still difficult to guarantee a result. I think the Roja can go far.”
Del Bosque signalled his intention to step down from his role as coach after Euro 2016, but Puyol believes the 65-year-old, who guided Spain to glory at the 2012 European Championship on the back of the World Cup win, may have a change of heart.
“He is a very good person and a very good coach,” said Puyol. “With his experience, he knows how to manage a group.
“He communicates a lot with the players, like the rest of the staff also, so that you are not just a team but a real, united group. Thus, we can accomplish great things. I really wish him the best.
“It might not be his last tournament. If he feels good at the end of the Euros, there is no reason why he should not continue. But of course, it all depends on his projects.
“All the players are happy to have him – he’s a fantastic coach.”