Michu waited a long time for his Spain debut, but he failed to live up to the hype on a frustrating night for the Swansea striker.
It was a long time coming, and in the end, it was not much to write home about.
Having excelled in his final season at Rayo Vallecano and improved even further since his switch to Swansea City, Michu was finally handed a start for the Spanish national side in their World Cup qualifier against Belarus.
He was there because David Villa was not, the Atletico Madrid forward ruled out by injury. But rather than prove what Vicente del Bosque’s side had been missing out on, he had something of a ‘mare.
His only contributions of note were to miscontrol the ball when a chance loomed, and to fail to put enough power into a header before he was ultimately substituted after just 57 minutes.
His cause for another start against Georgia next week was not helped by the fact that Spain scored just four minutes after he left the field, and that his replacement, Alvaro Negredo, added a second with 12 minutes to play.
That second proved vital, as a late Belarus strike saw the game finish 2-1. And after the match, the Spanish press were less than glowing in their analysis of Michu’s performance.
El Confidencial said Michu had, “starred in one of the most striking recent Spanish football progressions,” so all good so far…but then they added, “but the current Swansea striker is not a born number nine. Thus he was on the field for 56 minutes and hardly touched the ball with clarity.”
Mundo Deportivo did not focus on the Swansea man, claiming that until the first goal, only one Spaniard deserved praise.
“Only Pedro brought some flashes,” they wrote, as the Spaniards tried and for so long failed to break down their resilient opponents.
But just as Negredo bided his time on the bench at Manchester City and proved to be the goal-scoring solution, so he was again on Friday. And as long as Michu waited for his first match for his country, he could be waiting just as long for his second…
image: © Benjamin Blackler