Madrid, June 5 (IANS) The Spanish squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup had a busy day on Tuesday as they were visited by new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, posed for their official team photo, and also saw representatives of FIFA carry out a doping test on the 23 footballers.
Sanchez was at the Las Rozas training camp outside of Madrid to hand veteran midfielder Andres Iniesta the medal the ‘Cross of Sporting Merit’ which he had been awarded by former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Everyone remembers your (World Cup winning) goal in Johannesburg and who we were with when we celebrated,” Sanchez told Iniesta.
“You are going to have an extraordinary World Cup: I wish you all the best and whatever happens the fans will be behind you,” added the Prime Minister.
Spain captain Sergio Ramos spoke in a press conference and added to the controversy he caused by hauling over Liverpool’s Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah in the Champions League final, injuring Salah’s shoulder in the process.
“Everything gets blown out of context, but he holds onto me first, I fell the other way and he hurt his other arm and people say I have used a judo throw on him. Then they say the goalkeeper, (Loris Karius) suffered concussion after a collision with me… all it needs is for Firminho to say he caught a cold after a drop of my sweat fell on him,” said Ramos.
The Spanish squad flies to Russia on Thursday and will play Tunisia in their final preparation game on Saturday June 9, six days before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Portugal in Sochi on June 15.