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Spanish Euro 2004 Squad


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Reyes, Mista miss out on Spain squad

MADRID, May 20 (Reuters) - Spain coach Inaki Saez opted for a conservative Euro 2004 squad, naming eight defenders and leaving out Arsenal striker Jose Antonio Reyes on Thursday.

Experienced players from Real Madrid and champions Valencia made up the backbone of the 23-man squad which will play hosts Portugal, Greece and Russia in Group A.

The coach said 20-year-old Reyes, who has won four caps and scored two goals for Spain in the Euro qualifier against Armenia in October, had not yet reached maturity.

'Reyes is a man of the future for the national side,' Saez said.

As well as Reyes, Saez left out Valencia attacker Mista, the highest-scoring Spaniard in this year's Primera Liga with 19 goals. Mista's stunning form helped his side seal a league and UEFA Cup double this season.

'My experience of international tournaments is that central defenders always receive the most punishment, and in the final - which is what we aim to reach - you are always short of defenders,' Saez said.

'So I have put another man in at the back.'

Saez named Raul despite the Spanish captain's poor season with Real Madrid. Fellow striker Fernando Morientes of Monaco also won a place after a brilliant Champions League campaign.

Saez opted for versatile Barcelona defender Gabri to plug any holes in the Spanish defence, saying he was familiar with the player from coaching the Spanish youth team which won the 1999 World Cup in Nigeria.

Defensive stalwarts Ivan Helguera and Michel Salgado of Real Madrid, and Carles Puyol of Barcelona are included and Betis's Juanito won a place despite his side's indifferent league form.

Spain, who have not lost in nine internationals, will rely on first choice goalkeeper Iker Casillas of Real Madrid.

Athletic Bilbao's 24-year-old goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia was named in the squad for the first time.

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Santiago Canizares (Valencia), Daniel Aranzubia (Athletic Bilbao)

Defenders: Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Ivan Helguera (Real Madrid), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Michel Salgado (Real Madrid), Gabri (Barcelona), Raul Bravo (Real Madrid), Cesar (Deportivo Coruna), Juanito (Betis)

Midfielders: Juan Carlos Valeron (Deportivo Coruna), Xabi Alonso (Real Sociedad), Ruben Baraja (Valencia), Vicente (Valencia), David Albelda (Valencia), Joaquin (Real Betis), Xavi (Barcelona)

Forwards: Raul (Real Madrid), Albert Luque (Deportivo Coruna), Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Morientes (Monaco), Joseba Etxeberria (Athletic Bilbao)

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Good to see Fernando morientes back in the fold, he was being overlooked earlier in the year. He is the best striker they have right now.

Jose Antonio Reyes misses out, bit of a surprise there, seemed like he was picking up form.

Also a bit of a surprise that Diego Tristan Misses out.

Gaizka Mendieta also could have warrented a place. He had a pretty good season with Boro

Too bad Luis Enrique retired from international football, always liked him.

Otherwise a good squad, Raul and Morientes wil be a good partnership.

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