When Manchester United were dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid in the round of 16 it happened under controversial circumstances.
The red-card shown to Nani was described by most people other than the belligerent Roy Keane as extremely harsh and that changed the shape of the game. Goals from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo ended up being the difference.
The tie was defined by the performances of opposing goalkeepers.
In the first-leg at the Bernabeu David De Gea seemed a man possessed convincing the frequently trigger-happy English press to suggest he had ‘come of age’ in his hometown.
In the second leg it was the turn of Diego Lopez. The 31-year-old was brought in during the winter window as emergency cover for the injured Iker Casillas and the former Villarreal stopper made several sublime stops late on to prevent an unlikely victory for The Red Devils.
Now it seems likely that Casillas will not immediately become first choice custodian again upon his return from injury later this month.
But the two goalkeepers were not done facing off as both De Gea and Lopez were fighting for a place in the Spain squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Finland and France.
With Casillas injured and the form of Liverpool’s Pepe Reina in doubt it was being reported that whoever was chosen would do so as the second choice behind Victor Valdes for the upcoming games.
So while Real may have got the better of De Gea in the Champions League at least the young stopper can celebrate beating his opposite number in terms of international recognition after earning his first call-up to the national team since May 2012.
Given his recent form it is only fair for the 22-year-old to get some praise and back-pats considering some of the stick he has got in the past. His save from Juan Mata in the FA Cup tie last weekend was a true reflection of his most obvious talents and Manchester United fans should be proud of their young keeper.
Here is the Spanish squad in full with a grand total of eight Premier League based players in the final selection:
V Valdes (Barcelona), J Reina (Liverpool), D de Gea (Man Utd), A Arbeloa (Real Madrid), R Albiol (Real Madrid), S Ramos (Real Madrid), C Azpilicueta (Chelsea), G Pique (Barcelona), I Monreal (Arsenal), J Alba (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi (Barcelona), A Iniesta (Barcelona), C Fabregas (Barcelona), S Busquets (Barcelona),S Cazorla (Arsenal), J Garcia (Man City), Isco (Malaga), D Villa,(Barcelona), D Silva (Man City), Pedro (Barcelona), J Mata (Chelsea), A Negredo (Sevilla), J Navas (Sevilla).
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