Catalans playing their part in Spanish success
Footballers from Catalonia have been playing a key role in Spain’s international side. In fact, Catalan players have accounted for over a quarter of all Spanish internationals who have played at the last decade’s worth of European Championships and World Cups.
Across the Spain squads of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Euros, as well as the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, 26% of the players have been Catalan.
For example, Catalans Cesc Fabregas, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets were all involved in Spain’s 2010 World Cup, in a relatively small squad of just 18. This means that in this tournament alone, they made up 30% of the squad, contributing 50% of their nation’s goals along the way and playing a vital part in Spain’s triumph that year.
Considering that there are just 7.5 million people in Catalonia, making up just 16% of Spain’s overall population, the 26% of footballers it has contributed to the national team’s last decade of football shows that the region is more than pulling its weight.
When it comes to the number of Catalan players in each of tournament over the last ten years, amount of goals scored and assists, they nearly always outdo themselves in terms of ratio to players from the rest of Spain.
Going back to 2008, the Catalan contingent of Spain’s Euro squad recorded over 58% of their country’s assists and more than 16% of goals scored, with 27% of the squad members originating from the breakaway region.
Fast-forward to 2012 and, thanks to Fabregas and Alba, Catalonia’s representatives notched up a quarter of all Spain’s goals in the tournament to help retain the trophy.
After winning the 2008, 2010 and 2012 competitions, Spain broke their winning streak in the following World Cup and European Championships, finishing in the group stage and round of 16, respectively.
It is interesting to note that Spain have been unsuccessful in these two bids, where they brought squads featuring the lowest percentage of Catalan players over the last decade.
For a region that only makes up 16% of Spain’s population, Catalan has consistently delivered players to the Spanish side who have gone above and beyond during the last five major tournaments.