More than ten years after the World Cup final in Johannesburg, the Netherlands and Spain will face each other again on Wednesday evening. Of the fourteen Spaniards who took action in that final battle, three have also been selected for the friendly international match in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. How are things now with the Spanish finalists of that time?
Iker Casillas (39): also wins off the field
The goalkeeper, who has won everything there is to win in football, left Real Madrid for FC Porto in the fall of his career. There he wanted to find the fun again and he succeeded in the first three seasons. In his fourth year, the goalkeeper suffered a heart attack on the training field, after which he said goodbye to football last summer. Since then he has been trying to get children to play sports with his own foundation and has made a bid for the presidency of the Spanish Football Association. The former goalkeeper eventually decided against this because of the corona crisis, because he did not want to compete for the chairmanship during the corona crisis. According to Spanish media, Casillas now has an advisory role at Real Madrid, although this has never been confirmed.
Sergio Ramos (34): Still one of the best defenders in the world
The position is different – he was right back in the final – but otherwise in the life of Sergio Ramos perhaps the least changed of all the Spanish finalists. The center-back is still a mainstay at the back of Real Madrid, where he has become a legend in part thanks to four victories in the Champions League (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018). With Spain, Ramos is 109 international matches further (the World Cup final was his 66th) and he is Spanish record international with 175 international matches. The world record of the Egyptian Ahmed Hassan (184 international matches) is within reach.
Gerard Piqué (33): important for Koeman at FC Barcelona
The last ball he touched in the Spanish shirt was from the spot, in the penalty series lost against Russia at the 2018 World Cup. Piqué retired as an international and wanted to focus entirely on FC Barcelona. After the humiliation by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League (8-2), his time at the Spanish top club seemed to be over, but under Ronald Koeman, Piqué is again assured of a starting place this season and even signed a new commitment to mid-2024 at Camp Nou.
Carles Puyol (42): Wait for storm in Barcelona board to settle
The World Cup final in 2010 turns out to be his last major appearance in the Spanish national team. Puyol missed the 2012 European Championship due to a knee injury and retired in his 100th international match against Uruguay in 2013. The former defender, who played for FC Barcelona his entire career, declined an offer in 2019 to become general manager at ‘his’ club. It is not impossible that Puyol will eventually join as a board member, because according to various Spanish media he would wait until the club has a new president.
Joan Capdevila (42): after wandering back in the board of old love
Perhaps Capdevila is the most unknown player in this list. The left back played in La Liga for years until the World Cup final, but started a world tour after his retirement from the national team in 2011. He successively played for Benfica, Espanyol, the Indian NorthEast United, the Belgian Lierse SK and Andorran Santa Coloma. He eventually returned to Espanyol in an administrative position, for which he made his debut in the Primera División.
Sergio Busquets (32): part of the current Spanish selection
After Ramos, Busquets (117 games) is the first active international on the list with the most appearances for ‘La Selección’. The defensive midfielder was a crucial factor in both the national team and FC Barcelona for many years. In recent years, his place has been less undisputed; For example, he regularly sat on the bench at Spain after the 2018 World Cup without playing minutes. Busquets was allowed to start in all league games for Ronald Koeman’s team this season, although he never once completed the ninety minutes in the Champions League.
Xabi Alonso (38): trainer at Sociedad’s second team
The midfielder ended his international career in 2014, but did not want to say goodbye to football yet. He exchanged Real Madrid for three seasons with Bayern Munich, where he played under Pep Guardiola in the first two years. Immediately after his retirement as a player, Alonso started working as a youth coach at Real Madrid. However, he did not remain in service for long at ‘De Koninklijke’, because since last season he has been coach of Real Sociedad B. In 1999 he took his first steps in professional football with the second team from San Sebastian.
Andrés Iniesta (36): eye-catcher in the Japanese competition
In addition to being a goal scorer, he was the absolute playmaker of the team in 2010. Enthusiast Iniesta couldn’t get enough of playing international matches, but decided to call it a day after the quick elimination at the 2018 World Cup. He did not stop completely, because he switched to the Japanese league in the same year. Iniesta still plays the full ninety minutes almost every week at Vissel Kobe, earning millions every year. His contract with the Japanese club expires at the end of January 2021.
David Villa (38): American football club owner
In the last years of his career, Villa played on three different continents. After his departure from Spain, Villa spent four years for New York City and spearheaded Melbourne City and Vissel Kobe. At the latter club he played together with Iniesta, where they together had a significant share in the first cup in the history of the club. After his playing career, Villa became part owner of Queensboro FC. A new American club, which will play in the second division from 2021. Incidentally, Villa not only left positive feelings from his time in America, because an investigation into alleged sexual harassment by the former international is ongoing.
Pedro (33): basic player at AS Roma
Although Pedro was by no means always a basic player, he played more than sixty games for Spain, including the World Cup final in 2010. Also at Barcelona, where he played more than two hundred games, he was often not among the first eleven. With the arrival of Luis Suárez in 2014, his prospects for playing time only diminished. The winger opted to leave for Chelsea and after five years at Stamford Bridge, he moved to AS Roma this summer. In the Italian capital, he could count on a basic place in all league games this season.