Tough for Spain to match past glories, says Cazorla

Coach Vicente del Bosque has overhauled the squad of the European champions, who crashed out in the group stage of this year’s World Cup, but it has not been a smooth transition.


Spain have made a stuttering start to Euro 2016 qualification with two wins and a defeat by Group C leaders Slovakia which has left them in second place, three points off the pace.

“You cannot compare the situation now,” Cazorla told reporters.

“I know that it is inevitable but the Spain of the past will not return and we have to accept that.”

After Spain failed to retain the World Cup trophy, stalwarts Xavi, Xabi Alonso and David Villa announced their international retirements.

Diego Costa was earmarked to lead Spain from the front into a new era but it took the Brazilian-born striker three qualifying matches to notch his first goal for his adopted country.

Other new faces have taken time to adapt and the quality of Spain’s football has been below the very high standards set in recent years.

This has also led to friction in the camp and even the opening of old wounds about players’ commitment.

Defender Sergio Ramos suggested that maybe Cesc Fabregas and Costa were not giving their all for the national team as they are missing from Saturday’s qualifier against Belarus due to injury.

Cazorla believes that a problem is the expectation caused by a side that dominated for four years and were widely admired fortheir passing style heavily influenced by that of Barcelona.

“Now the objective has to be playing well, improving the mood and forming a team. There has been a change and everyone needs to have patience,” Cazorla said.

“Important players have left and to see again that Spain that won everything would be more than difficult.

“There is quality in this team and the fans need to realise that. The moment has now come to take a step forward and show what we can do. The first thing is to beat Belarus and so restore some of the calm.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)