Spain: Three players to keep and eye on at the 2018 World Cup


Nicole Mastria

With less than one week until the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, teams from around the globe are gearing up to compete for the coveted trophy. Each of the 32 teams participating has a 23-man squad, which means there will be 736 players vying for the attention of the world in the hopes of making a name for themselves (if they haven’t done so already).

Spain’s first 2018 FIFA World Cup match will take place at Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 15th at 21:00 local time. Apart from La Roja’s big-name players such as Sergio Ramos, David Silva, Andres Iniesta, and Diego Costa, let’s take a look at three additional Spanish players to watch closely this summer.

Santa Clara, CA – Real Madrid vs. Manchester United at Levi’s Stadium, July 23, 2017.

David De Gea (Goalkeeper, 27, Manchester United)

2018 Premier League Golden Glove winner and Manchester United star David De Gea hopes to keep a clean sheet this summer. The 27 year-old goalkeeper started in nine of the ten qualifying matches leading up to this year’s World Cup. The only match De Gea didn’t start was the final qualifier match for Spain, after the team had already secured their spot in the upcoming tournament.

After making his debut for the Premier League squad in 2011, De Gea faced a bit of a rough patch but has since overcome it to become one of the most respected keepers in the world. In his 2017-2018 season alone as keeper for Manchester United, he made an impressive 115 saves and racked up 18 clean sheets.

There is talk that Real Madrid may (once again) try to pick up De Gea after his contract with Manchester United expires. However, the keeper has quieted any rumors of a transfer for now, instead shifting the focus toward the upcoming World Cup matches.

Attacking Midfielder Isco

Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, simply known as Isco in the soccer world, is looking to add the title of 2018 FIFA World Cup Champion to his list of successes. The Real Madrid attacking midfielder already has a number of championship trophies under his belt. He played a key role in the success of Spain’s Under-21 squad during the 2013 UEFA European Championship and has won four Champions League finals with his club team.

Although 26 year-old Isco seems relatively young compared to the rest of Spain’s national squad, he has proven himself a valuable asset. Throughout Isco’s 2017-2018 season with Real Madrid, he scored seven goals and assisted seven more. His transfer value has risen tremendously since his 2013 transfer to Real Madrid. Isco is ranked 2nd among all players from Spain and 5th among all players his age based on data from

Whether he starts the match or is brought on from the bench–let’s hope it’s the former—Isco will provide the squad with plenty of chances up top. The Real Madrid playmaker constantly moves the ball to wherever he finds space and has a knack for leaving opposing defensive lines flustered upon his attack.

Marco Asensio (Midfielder, 22, Real Madrid)

Making his World Cup debut this year is Marco Asensio–who also happens to be the youngest player on La Roja’s current roster. Asensio has played on Spain’s Under-19 and Under-21 squads, and is more than prepared to take on the challenge of becoming a world champion. Because of his young age, it is not surprising that Marco is overshadowed by more well-known Spanish players. However, this shouldn’t be the case.

In his most recent La Liga season with Real Madrid, Asensio scored six goals and also assisted on six goals. Last summer during the UEFA Under-21 Euro Cup, the incredible midfielder achieved a hat trick in one of the group stage matches (which helped Spain finish first in their group).

Whether he’s playing as a wide midfielder, a central midfielder, or even a number ‘10’ for his squad, Asensio is a powerhouse in the midfield. (A player in the number ‘10’ position plays as an attacking midfielder, behind the forward.)

This young soccer star is already making waves on the pitch for Real Madrid, scoring phenomenal goals with his lethal combination of quick footwork and incredible plays. If Asensio is given the opportunity, one can only imagine how well he’ll perform during this tournament and in the coming years. It is easy to say that the Spaniard has a very promising future ahead of him.


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