Arsene Wenger has all but dismissed Spain’s Euro 2020 chances after claiming it was “unbelievable” not to include a single Real Madrid player in their squad.
Luis Enrique will be aiming to record a third Spanish Euro success in the past four tournaments following their dominance a decade ago.
Since winning three successive tournaments though Spain have fallen away and failed to make an impression at Euro 2016 or the last World Cup.
Enrique decided not to name a single Madrid player in his 24-man squad – a decision that raised eyebrows.
But Los Blancos are not the force of old and were well beaten in the last four of the Champions League and also failed to retain their La Liga title.
Barcelona meanwhile endured an even worse campaign as they deal with a transitional phase, but several of their players have been picked by Enrique.
In the past Madrid stars like Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso have been pillars of national success.
At Euro 2020 they won’t have a single Spanish player however with the likes of Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez overlooked.
And Wenger concedes Madrid’s recent struggles will have a knock-on affect for the national side.
He told Bein Sports : “Spain going to a big tournament, no Real Madrid player? It’s unbelievable.
“I don’t think it’s a problem with Enrique. It’s just a problem at the moment. What has happened in the last two, three years is Real Madrid is weaker, Barcelona is weaker and Spain is weaker.
“I personally give a huge credit to Spain because it’s the only team I have seen who dominated tournaments for three consecutive times… But since then, they drop.”
As a result of their recent struggles Wenger admits it would be a shock to see Spain win Euro 2020.
They find themselves in Group E alongside Poland, Slovakia and Sweden.
Enrique, a Champions League winning coach with Barcelona, could prove the difference maker though according to Wenger.
He added: “It would be a huge surprise that Spain … But let’s not forget, they have an experienced manager and they’ve always with technical level that is requested in the big tournaments.
“But you don’t see that same power, that same dominance, that same confidence in the team.”
Spain played out a goalless draw with Portugal last week as they failed to take any of their chances.
Despite that Enrique is looking to ramp up the expectation levels insisting he is optimistic about their prospects.
“I have to try and make the players believe it,” he said.
“I have to convince the players but I’m convinced we’re going to be very tough to beat. I could be wrong but I believe we’re among the six or seven favourite teams to win it.”