The La Rioja tournament that unites ten members of the National Team

The La Rioja tournament that unites ten members of the National Team
The La Rioja tournament that unites ten members of the National Team

There are moments and places that can go unnoticed, and yet, they contain unique stories. There are also those who live in a continuous déjà vu, through which talent passes by on tiptoe and, after years, the locals ask themselves “do you remember when…?” In Arnedo, in what is known as the city of footwear, They remember when the players they see on television today went through the children’s tournament that takes place in the municipality, the Arnedo Cup.

Less than one hundred kilometers from the town of Haro, where the coach, Luis de la Fuente, is from, the then-called Arnedo Ciudad del Calzado tournament was born 29 years ago, which the Spanish coach sponsored in 2022. It was the last of the visits of those who today defend the colors of Spain in the Euro Cup, which reach double digits, counting the ten players who competed in it. The figure could be even higher, but José Luis Gayà’s injury and the Riojan’s decision to do without Marcos Llorente, two of the many illustrious visitors, leave it there.

More than two decades ago, in 2003, the first to visit Arnedo was Nacho Fernández. Two years later, Dani Carvajal succeeded him, accompanied by Pablo Sarabia and Álex Fernándezbrother of the centre-back (above; in the photo, inside the circle, with his hand on the Real Madrid shield, is the full-back, Sarabia is the first footballer on the right of those standing and Álex, unmistakable due to his color of her hair, in the middle), while Álex Grimaldo is, curiously, the only international who won the titleplaying for Barcelona, ​​in 2008.

Dani Olmo played in the Ciudad del Calzado tournament in 2011 with a Barça team that also included Carles Aleñá.

In 2009 they went through the Arnedo Cup Rodri Hernández, who played with Atlético de Madrid, and Mikel Merino, who played with Osasuna, in the first coincidence that has occurred in this time. The second was a kind of Catalan derby, since Cucurella and Dani Olmo were in 2011, with Espanyol and Barcelona. By then, Spain was already champion of Europe and the world, with a squad made up of two old acquaintances of the Arnedans, Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas.

Zubimendi (2012, Real Sociedad), Álex Baena (2014, Villarreal) and Fermín (2016, Barcelona) They are the last three members of the National Team who traveled to La Rioja. They are the last because the global coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of two editions of the trophy… which left the 2007 generation of the Barcelona Football Club without contesting it, and therefore, Lamine Yamal without playing it. This is one of the recent anecdotes surrounding this event, which is usually held on the second weekend of September and Messi was also unable to play: immersed in his treatment to increase his height, he was unable to travel with the rest of his teammates. .

As happened to Gayà, a cruciate injury has prevented Lucas Hernández from being in Germany with the French team. The French defender, who was also a colchonero in the Shoe City, is another of the stars who have passed through here, including coaches. Not in vain, the repeated presence of Zinedine Zidane’s four children led the French coach to visit her a few years ago, while Xabi Alonso’s coaching career, with the Real Sociedad youth team, began in Arnedo.

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