Football Features

Where are they now? The Spain side that won the U21 Euros in 2013

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:02, 12 June 2019

In 2011, Spain won the Uefa European u21 Championship. Then in 2013 they did it again.

Everyone remembers the 2011 side because Spain sent World Cup winners Juan Mata and Javi Martinez to represent them, as they were both eligible thanks to the competition’s weird laws about age.

But the 2013 side often gets forgotten, even though retaining a trophy is often harder than winning it the first time.

Coping with expectations of fans, dealing with the pressure of being champions, having every opponent give you their best possible performance.

Yet Spain powered through all of that in 2013 with Julen Lopetegui as head coach (who is currently down on his luck after being sacked by the Spain senior side and Real Madrid in a matter of weeks).

But what became of the players who triumphed in Jerusalem? We’ve taken a look back at the 2013 winners to see where they are now and how they’re getting on.

David de Gea

Position: Goalkeeper

Current club: Manchester United

Senior Spain caps: 39

Currently Manchester United undisputed No.1. De Gea’s individual quality has skyrocketed in recent years. However, recent shaky performances has seen him lose his starting berth for Spain.

Diego Mariño

Position: Goalkeeper

Current club: Sporting Gijón

Senior Spain caps: 0

Didn’t kick on at Villarreal and is now in Spain’s second tier with Sporting Gijón.

Joel Robles

Position: Goalkeeper

Current club: Real Betis

Senior Spain caps: 0

Believe it or not, he was once considered a greater prospect than De Gea. Third choice in Israel, and is now back in his homeland with Betis after leaving Everton in the summer of 2018.

Dani Carvajal

Position: Right-back

Current club: Real Madrid

Senior Spain caps: 21

He is now the starting right-back for Spain and Real Madrid and played in key role in Los Blancos’ domination of the Champions League in recent years.

Martín Montoya

Position: Right-back

Current club: Brighton

Senior Spain caps: 0

Once seemed a can’t-miss prospect with Barcelona, Montoya was first choice over Carvajal in Israel. Failed to make the most of his talent and is now at Brighton. He also has a handful of caps for Catalonia.

Marc Bartra

Position: Centre-back

Current club: Real Betis

Senior Spain caps: 14

The handsome centre-back never quite cracked the Barcelona first XI, but enjoyed decent decent success at Borussia Dortmund before returning to his homeland.

Iñigo Martínez

Position: Centre-back

Current club: Athletic Bilbao

Senior Spain caps: 8

Iñigo was previously seen as one of the most highly rated players that none of the big clubs really wanted. He made over 200 appearances for Real Sociedad before heading across the Basque country to join Bilbao last year.

Álvaro

Position: Centre-back

Current club: Villarreal

Senior Spain caps: 0

Alvaro was a back-up in 2013 and he is currently in a similar position. He has never been fully on board as a regular member of the Yellow Submarine’s starting line up.

Marc Muniesa

Position: Centre-back

Current club: Girona

Senior Spain caps: 0

Once the jewel of La Masia, Muniesa joined the Mark Hughes revolution at Stoke in the weeks after Spain’s triumph.

He had had enough after five years in the Potteries and is now playing for Manchester City feeder club Girona. It’s been a long way down for him, but his smile is as lovely as always.

Nacho

Position: Defender

Current club: Real Madrid

Senior Spain caps: 22

The versatile Real Madrid defender hasn’t progressed beyond the role of back-up but is now a back-up that actually plays with some regularity.

His trophy cabinet is well stocked courtesy of his time at Madrid and will always be remembered for a gorgeous strike against Portugal at the 2018 World Cup.

Alberto Moreno

Position: Left-back

Current club: Liverpool

Senior Spain caps: 4

Seemed destined to battle with Jordi Alba in 2013, but his potential never really panned out and he has slipped down Jurgen Klopp’s pecking order.

Moreno is set to leave Anfield this summer.

Asier Illarramendi

Position: Defensive midfield

Current club: Real Sociedad

Senior Spain caps: 3

Illarramendi moved to Real Madrid shortly after Spain lifted the trophy but struggled for game-time. Has since moved back to San Sebastian and is once again a dominant defensive force in the middle of the pitch.

Ignacio Camacho

Position: Defensive midfield

Current club: Wolfsburg

Senior Spain caps: 1

Camacho didn’t see much action in Israel but became Malaga’s all-action defensive superhero in the middle of the park. His numbers were incredible. So Wolfsburg signed him. But injury problems have scuppered his progress.

Koke

Position: Centre midfield

Current club: Atlético Madrid

Senior Spain caps: 44

Atlético Madrid to the core, since 2013 Koke has helped his side lift La Liga and make it to two Champions League finals (losing both). A borderline world-class midfield talent who is on course to become a certified Atleti legend.

Thiago

Position: Centre midfield

Current club: Bayern Munich

Senior Spain caps: 34

Inexplicably sold by Barcelona, Thiago has excelled in Bavaria. Injuries mean that he perhaps hasn’t reached the heights many expected him to, but time is still on his side.

Isco

Position: Attacking midfield

Current club: Real Madrid

Senior Spain caps: 38

After years of struggling for first-team minutes at Real Madrid, Isco has finally started to get his turn.

Sergio Canales

Position: Attacking midfield

Current club: Real Betis

Senior Spain caps: 2

By 2013 the shine had already come off the Canales apple thanks to injury and a bad career move. But now he’s back on track at Betis along with several other of his 2013 team-mates.

Pablo Sarabia

Position: Attacking midfield

Current club: Sevilla

Senior Spain caps: 0

This devastating talent had something of a breakthrough season under visionary Jorge Sampaoli. The stage is set for him to kick on to greater things.

Iker Muniain

Position: Winger

Current club: Athletic Bilbao

Senior Spain caps: 2

He had already played four full seasons when the 2013 tournament rolled around. Now despite, being just 26, he’s played almost 400 career games and is an established part of the Athletic Bilbao first-team.

Rodrigo

Position: Wing-forward

Current club: Valencia

Senior Spain caps: 18

Rodrigo was disappointing in Israel and made a poor career move (to Valencia) a year later, where he is still floundering, despite an improved 2017/18 campaign.

Cristian Tello

Position: Wing-forward

Current club: Real Betis

Senior Spain caps: 1

Cristiano Tello is faster than the speed of light, but his lack of end product saw Barcelona move him out on loan to improve. He helped Fiorentina finish eighth in Serie A and joined Betis in the summer of 2017.

Alvaro Vázquez

Position: Striker

Current club: Real Zaragoza

Senior Spain caps: 0

Once one of the brightest striking prospects in Spain, he never quite made the grade and is currently on loan at Zaragoza from parent club Espanyol.

Alvaro Morata

Position: Striker

Current club: Chelsea

Senior Spain caps: 31

Morata never got a proper crack of the whip at Madrid, despite an impressive loan spell at Juventus. Chelsea broke the bank to sign him in 2017 but, after a promising start, he has lost his way in west London and spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Atlético Madrid.