Michu thrilled to link up with Spain
Swansea attacker Michu said his first training session with the Spanish senior side was nerve-wracking but feels he is now ready to make his international debut this week if required.
Michu, 27, has yet to be capped by his country but Vicente del Bosque called him into the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Georgia after David Villa withdrew with an ankle problem.
At his first outing at the Spanish FA’s Ciudad de Futbol facility in suburban Madrid on Monday evening, Michu wore Villa’s usual No. 7 jersey and played in the ‘presumed starters’ team alongside senior players such as Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets and Xavi Hernandez.
Michu told reporters at Tuesday morning’s press conference that Chelsea star Juan Mata, a fellow Asturian, had helped him settle into this new environment.
“I know Mata very well and I have a really good relationship with him,” he said. “When you step out on the grass, with the star on your chest, the sensation is indescribable. I was a little nervous, but in the end, when you are out on the grass, with the good fortune to be playing with these players, you settle down quickly.
“I am here to make the most of the opportunity -- and to help Spain qualify for the World Cup, which is what everyone wants.”
The World Cup holders need four points from their remaining two qualifiers - on Friday against Belarus in Mallorca or on Tuesday versus Georgia in Albacete - to ensure a spot at next summer’s finals in Brazil.
The former Rayo Vallecano attacker said he was hopeful of winning his first cap, but just training with the team was a dream come true for him.
“I have always said that, for anyone, playing for your country is the maximum,” Michu said. “To put on the jersey of the Spanish team -- the best team in the world -- is the biggest thing in my career.
“At the moment I am just enjoying myself here, with the training sessions and with my teammates. It is a prize to be here with the best players in the world. If I get a chance to play, I would be happy.”
Michu, long tipped for a call-up by pundits both in Spain and the UK, said he had never felt let down when not called up for previous squads.
“You must feel privileged to be here,” he said. “There are a lot of really good players who have not had a chance to come. [Del Bosque] has to be fair with everyone.”
Asked about Diego Costa, whom he knows from their times together at Rayo and also Celta Vigo in the Segunda Division, Michu said there would be no issues with teammates should the Brazilian-born centre-forward get a Spanish call.
“I know Diego from Rayo and Celta, and he is a good guy and would have no problems at all,” he said. “As a player he is a top quality footballer.”
Michu and his teammates are due to train again in Madrid on Wednesday evening. Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique, who sat out the first session of the week with minor knocks, are expected to take part and be available for selection against Belarus on Friday.
With Jordi Alba absent through injury, Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal is also expected to start that game, with Sevilla’s uncapped Alberto Moreno on the bench. Del Bosque should also keep faith with Iker Casillas in goal, despite the national captain’s current status as back-up to Diego Lopez at Real Madrid.