Joselu was in dreamland after scoring twice on his Spain debut to help La Roja beat Norway 3-0 in Malaga on Saturday.

New head coach Luis de la Fuente named a somewhat unfamiliar squad ahead of their two opening Euro 2024 qualifiers as he began his tenure after replacing Luis Enrique.

Joselu's call-up was long overdue in the eyes of many, given he had reached double figures for LaLiga goals in each of the previous three seasons.

He was introduced at La Rosaleda in the second half with Spain stuttering unconvincingly towards a 1-0 win, but he scored twice to put the game to bed.

As such, he became the oldest debutant to score for Spain since September 2006, two days before his 33rd birthday, and he was left in disbelief.

"The truth is that I still don't believe it," he told TVE. "This is everything a player can have and in the end, the daily work has had its reward.

"I think I would especially like to thank my wife and my children, and my mother, who have come here today.

"The truth is that I am not believing it."

Joselu was also Spain's oldest debutant since 2006, with De la Fuente opting to pick a few somewhat unfashionable options who were largely neglected by his predecessor.

The striker subsequently paid tribute to De la Fuente for giving him the opportunity.

"I thank him for everything, being here, trusting me, being on the first list," he said.

"I think I have responded more than enough.

"Age doesn't matter to me because I feel like a kid, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. I want to enjoy this; I want to hug my family because today is an incredible day."

Joselu may feel he has done enough to earn a maiden start next time out, when Spain are set to face Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday.

"Knowing the players and giving them confidence is our job, but all the credit belongs to him," De la Fuente said of Joselu. 

"We have recognised the great work he does every day at his club and I am happy for him and for everyone else."

Joselu scored two late goals on his international debut as Spain opened Euro 2024 qualification with a 3-0 win over Norway at La Rosaleda in Luis de la Fuente's first game in charge.

Spain were by no means impressive, with the Erling Haaland-less visitors wasting several fine opportunities, but Joselu repaid De la Fuente's faith towards the end.

De la Fuente – appointed Luis Enrique's successor after World Cup elimination – named an unfamiliar-looking starting XI yet saw his side take an early lead through Dani Olmo.

They held Norway at bay through some excellent Kepa Arrizabalaga saves and a big miss from Alexander Sorloth, and substitute Joselu punished them with two goals in as many minutes.

It took Spain just 13 minutes to get the first goal of their new era, Alejandro Balde's cross-cum-shot flicked home by Olmo.

They needed a brilliant save from Kepa just before the half-hour to remain ahead, however, the goalkeeper turning Fredrik Aursnes' blistering close-range volley over.

Mikel Merino went close in similar circumstances a minute later, only for Orjan Nyland to tip the ball around the post.

Chances aside, Spain were second best for significant periods and had another fortunate escape early in the second half.

Marcus Pedersen's goal-bound effort was crucially deflected by Nacho Fernandez, and Kepa got back to hook the careering ball off the line.

Sorloth then volleyed off target in the 80th minute and Spain duly capitalised.

Joselu nodded in Fabian Ruiz's cross from deep, before smashing home from close range when Mikel Oyarzabal's shot was deflected into his path, capping a memorable night for the Espanyol striker.

Pedri plans to stay at Barcelona for "many years to come" but is not ruling out a move to the Premier League.

The 20-year-old has been a revelation since breaking into Barca's first team, establishing himself as a key player for the LaLiga leaders.

Pedri won FIFA's Golden Boy award for being the best young player in Europe in 2021 and quickly forced his way into the Spain team.

The young maestro is contracted to the Blaugrana until 2026 and has no intention of moving on for now, but suggested he may ply his trade overseas further down the line.

When asked about the possibility of a switch to England, he is quoted as saying by Marca: "At the moment, no. I'm at Barca and hopefully I'll stay here for many more years.

"I love LaLiga, but nothing should ever be ruled out."

Pedri will miss Spain's Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland due to a hamstring injury, but is relishing a new era for the national team under Luis de la Fuente.

Having played under De la Fuente at Under-21 level and in the Tokyo Olympics, Pedri believes the new Spain head coach will be a success.

Pedri said: "He is a person who goes straight ahead, he likes to work on the things he believes in and I think we will do well.

"All the coaches who come try to have the ball and play, especially because of the style of footballers we have, and I think not It will change a lot."

Alvaro Morata has been named Spain's new captain ahead of Luis de la Fuente's first match in charge, with the new coach seeking the "security and confidence" of a strong start.

It is all change for Spain following the 2022 World Cup, with previous skipper Sergio Busquets retiring and De la Fuente replacing Luis Enrique as boss.

Morata is left as the most experienced player in the former Spain Under-21 coach's first squad and was confirmed as captain ahead of their first Euro 2024 qualifier against Norway on Saturday.

"It's a pride and a joy," Morata said in a news conference. "I'm looking forward to things going well and winning. I'm here to help the younger ones."

The Atletico Madrid striker has been enthused by what he has seen from De la Fuente so far – and he believes he is not alone in that sense.

"I have been with different coaches and I see everyone very excited," Morata added. "He likes to give affection to his players and work hard.

"We all have to win from playing and competing. The ticket for a European Championship and a World Cup is not easy, and we are all clear about what is important for us and that we have to always be at these tournaments."

De la Fuente is "enjoying and living an incomparable experience", but he knows the importance of the result against Norway.

"Any project has to start well," the coach said. "It's not all about getting off to a good start, but I'd like to.

"It would give us more security and confidence. We are sure of that."

Spain's hopes of that first win have been boosted by the absence of Norway's superstar striker Erling Haaland, out with a groin injury.

De la Fuente added: "I'm very sorry for any footballer's injury. It is the ugly face of this sport. We also have injuries.

"That said, to say I'd like to see Haaland on the field tomorrow would be lying."

Spain striker Iago Aspas wants Premier League target Gabri Veiga to stay with Celta Vigo – but even the club's president is struggling to see that happening.

The 20-year-old Veiga is among the most coveted midfielders in LaLiga, scoring nine goals and adding three assists in the Spanish top flight this season.

He has the most goal involvements – combined goals and assists – of all midfield players in LaLiga in the 2022/23 campaign.

This is despite Veiga only starting 18 league games so far, also coming off the bench seven times.

Aspas spoke at Spain's press conference on Thursday about the youngster, who has been linked with clubs including Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle United.

"I would like him to remain with us," Aspas said. "The club is in a good moment both as an institution and in the sporting side. We are doing little but very good steps and next year we have the centenary of the club."

Celta president Carlos Mourino accepts the club are likely to be powerless to prevent Veiga moving on, because he has a release clause in his contract. That is reported to be €40million (£35.4million), potentially a great deal if Veiga continues to excel.

"We do not want to sell Gabri Veiga, but they are going to buy him from us. And there isn't anything we can do about it," Mourino said.

Mourino explained there is extensive interest from England in Veiga, saying: "Of the top 10 in the Premier League, four have asked for him."

Asked whether Real Madrid may also make a move, Mourino said: "They haven't asked us, we don't know if they will have called the player."

Quoted in Mundo Deportivo, Mourino said it was not the case that Veiga is for sale, merely that Celta would be unable to prevent him walking away if the clause is met.

"The decision is Gabri's," Mourino said. "He will play wherever he wants."

Luis Enrique had no 'plan B' and Spain suffered a premature World Cup exit as a consequence, according to Iago Aspas.

Veteran striker Aspas missed out on the squad for Qatar 2022 but has been recalled by Luis Enrique's successor, Luis de la Fuente, for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland.

The 35-year-old Celta Vigo player was powerless to prevent Spain losing to Morocco on penalties after a goalless stalemate at the last-16 stage of the World Cup.

"I was wishing Spain to score," Aspas said on Thursday, looking back at that game.

"With Luis Enrique we had a very defined game style. For me, who in future could become a coach, we did not have plan B, and when plan A was stuck there wasn't plan B or other types of footballers to try to revert that situation. From my point of view."

Aspas knowingly added: "Now the headline is easy, of course."

Luis Enrique felt Aspas did not contribute sufficiently from a defensive perspective for Spain.

De la Fuente has chosen to see for himself what the former Liverpool player might be able to achieve for the national team in the twilight of his playing career.

Reflecting on Luis Enrique's reasoning, Aspas said: "I didn't agree really, but didn't have a chat with Luis Enrique to talk about this. I do not know if he said that referring to me specifically, but in my team I run like anyone else.

"Data is there and anyone can see how I can make 10 kilometres per game each weekend. We [at Celta] are a team that cannot leave one player without defending because other teams could then destroy you.

"I was an important footballer in my [club] team, but when I have come to the national team in other occasions I think that I have demonstrated that I am a versatile player who can play on different positions: behind the striker or as a striker, or on the side. So I am here to help and for what the coach needs."

Spain lost an attacking option on Thursday when Bryan Gil pulled out of the squad ahead of Saturday's clash with Norway due to "discomfort that has prevented him from exercising normally".

De la Fuente does not plan to call in a replacement for the player who is on loan to Sevilla from Tottenham.

The first international window after a major tournament always offers the chance of a reset, with squads freshened up whether teams have failed or triumphed.

It gives coaches the opportunity to reassess as they build towards the next competition.

In Europe, qualifying for Euro 2024 begins, so there'll be a competitive edge to the majority of the fixtures.

It's an ideal time for newcomers to the squads to assert themselves. Here, Stats Perform looks at the players aiming to do just that.

 

ARGENTINA

Lionel Messi finally got his hands on the biggest trophy of them all last year, as he led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar. Now, Lionel Scaloni will be looking to see what prospects he can bring into the squad as La Albiceleste aim to retain their Copa America title in 2024. Two friendlies against Panama and Curacao should give him the ideal chance to test out some newcomers.

Nehuen Perez is enjoying a fine season in Serie A with Udinese and will be looking to improve on his one Argentina appearance, while Manchester City youngster Maximo Perrone has received his first international call. Perrone joined City from Velez Sarsfield in January, having only made his professional debut last year.

BRAZIL

Like Argentina, Brazil have a friendly – just the one – on the cards this month, though it is against World Cup semi-finalists Morocco. That should prove a tough test for the first match of Ramon Menezes' interim tenure.

With Brazil still reeling from their quarter-final exit in Qatar, and key players such as Neymar and Richarlison injured, Menezes has named plenty of fresh faces in his squad.

Among them is Rony, who has already scored six goals for Palmeiras in 2023, following a haul of 23 last year. Joao Gomes, who joined Wolves in January and has already netted in the Premier League, will also be hoping to make an impression, as will Andrey Santos. The 18-year-old is back on loan at Vasco de Gama from Chelsea but now has a chance to win his first cap.

ENGLAND

There were no new call-ups in Gareth Southgate's squad for England's Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine, but Ivan Toney was something of a surprise inclusion.

That's not due to Toney's form – only Erling Haaland (28) and Harry Kane (21) have scored more Premier League goals than the Brentford striker (16) this season – but because he is under investigation over an alleged breach of Football Association betting rules.

Toney was included in Southgate's final squad before the World Cup but did not make the cut for Qatar, and has not yet made a Three Lions appearance. Given his inclusion this time around, the 27-year-old, who has averaged a league goal every 140 minutes this season, will be hoping to make his mark.

 

FRANCE

Kylian Mbappe is the new France captain following Hugo Lloris' international retirement, which has left a spot to fill in goal. Milan's Mike Maignan is the natural successor though has struggled with injury this season. Meanwhile, Brice Samba received his first call-up as one of the three shot-stoppers.

Samba left Nottingham Forest to join Lens last year and the 28-year-old has impressed in Ligue 1. His 78.1 save percentage is the third-best in the division out of goalkeepers to have played at least five games, while according to Opta's expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) model, he has prevented 5.2 goals, the fourth-best total in France's top tier.

 

Khephren Thuram, son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram and brother of France striker Marcus Thuram, is having a superb season at Nice and could look to force his way into Didier Deschamps plans for midfield, especially with the injury issues of N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.

GERMANY

As hosts of next year's Euros, there'll be no competitive matches for Germany this month, though Hansi Flick's team will be looking to atone for their horror show in Qatar. Six uncapped players have been called up by Flick for friendlies against Peru and Belgium, including Milan defender Malick ThiawKevin Schade, on loan at Brentford from Freiburg, is another newcomer in the forward line.

Marius Wolf has earned his first international opportunity at the age of 27. He has only scored one goal and provided one assist in 24 games this season, so perhaps he won't be the player who goes on to propel Germany to glory in 2024.

ITALY

There's three new faces in Italy's squad, though Roberto Mancini has been lamenting what he sees as a lack of homegrown talent at his disposal. Italy, of course, won the delayed Euro 2020, only to then fail to qualify for the World Cup.

Of the three uncapped players in this selection, Mateo Retegui is certainly one to watch. The 23-year-old, Argentina-born striker holds dual citizenship and plays in the South American nation for Tigre.

Retegui has scored 29 goals since the start of last season. Wladimiro Falcone and Alessandro Buongiorno are the other players who could win their first caps.

NETHERLANDS

Ronald Koeman has given five uncapped players an opportunity to impress in the first squad of his second spell in charge and Sven Botman is undoubtedly the biggest name. The Newcastle United defender was a surprise exclusion from Louis van Gaal's World Cup squad, but the 23-year-old centre-back has been given the nod by Koeman.

Botman has helped Newcastle keep nine clean sheets in the Premier League, while he has made more blocks (15) than any of his defensive club-mates, though he will be hoping to avoid a mistake such as the one he made to gift Nottingham Forest a goal last week. 

Xavi Simons, meanwhile, will be looking to make an impact further forward. The 19-year-old has scored 13 goals and provided six assists in the Eredivisie this season.

 

SPAIN

Most of the players on this list are on the younger side, but new Spain coach Luis de la Fuente has handed a first call-up to 32-year-old Joselu.

The Espanyol forward, previously of Newcastle United and Stoke City, is one of LaLiga's leading scorers this season with 12 goals. Better late than never, perhaps?

Osasuna's David Garcia is another newcomer, while Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias – who like Joselu has netted 12 times in LaLiga – was called up in place of the injured Gerard Moreno on Sunday.

Yeremy Pino and Borja Iglesias have been called up to Spain's squad for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland.

Pedri and Gerard Moreno withdrew from the squad over the weekend due to injury.

Barcelona star Pedri missed Sunday's crucial Clasico win over Real Madrid after he failed to recover from a hamstring issue, and he will not feature in Luis de la Fuente's first games as Spain boss.

Moreno, meanwhile, suffered a muscular problem during Villarreal's 3-0 LaLiga win over Osasuna.

Winger Pino teed up Villarreal's final goal in that win, and the 20-year-old – who has netted three times in LaLiga this term and was included in Spain's World Cup squad – has been called in.

He is joined by Real Betis forward Iglesias, who returns to the national team after missing out on Luis Enrique's squad for Qatar.

The 30-year-old has scored 12 league goals this season, trailing only Enes Unal (13) and Robert Lewandowski (15).

Spain must try to stop Erling Haaland when they host Norway on Saturday before facing Scotland three days later.

Jordi Alba is the most notable omission from Luis de la Fuente's first Spain squad, joining Barcelona team-mates Ferran Torres, Ansu Fati and Eric Garcia in missing their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland.

Former under-21 boss De la Fuente took charge of the senior team after last year's World Cup, with Luis Enrique leaving the role after a surprise last-16 exit against Morocco.

Senior players Sergio Busquets and Sergio Ramos have stepped away from international football since that tournament, with the latter doing so after being overlooked for La Roja's trip to Qatar.

Alba – who started three of Spain's four games at the World Cup – is the biggest name to be left out by De la Fuente, with fellow Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde getting the nod.

Blaugrana midfielders Gavi and Pedri made the cut, but their club team-mates Torres, Fati and Garcia have joined Alba in being omitted.

Osasuna defender David Garcia and Espanyol's 32-year-old striker Joselu are the two uncapped players in the 26-man party, which will meet up in Malaga before facing Norway there next Saturday.

Spain then travel to Hampden Park to take on Scotland three days later, with Cyprus and Georgia the other teams drawn alongside La Roja in Group A.

Spain squad: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea), Robert Sanchez (Brighton and Hove Albion), David Raya (Brentford); Jose Gaya (Valencia), Alejandro Balde (Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Nacho Fernandez (Real Madrid), David Garcia (Osasuna), Pedro Porro (Tottenham), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid); Rodri (Manchester City); Martin Zubimendi (Real Sociedad), Mikel Merino (Mikel Merino), Gavi (Barcelona) Fabian Ruiz (Paris Saint-Germain), Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid), Pedri (Barcelona); Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao) Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Bryan Gil (Sevilla), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Joselu (Espanyol), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo).

There is uncertainty at Paris Saint-Germain due to fears over further financial fair play sanctions, leading to speculation of numerous players being sold or offloaded.

L'Equipe claimed earlier this week that PSG had put on hold contract negotiations with Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi.

Messi is contracted with PSG until the end of this season, although he reportedly had come to a verbal agreement with the club in December.

Back in September, the Ligue 1 leaders were hit with a €10million fine for FFP violations after the 2020-21 season with a further €45m suspended for any future infringements.

TOP STORY – MESSI'S OFFER TO ECLIPSE RONALDO'S RECORD

Marca reports Lionel Messi is set to receive a world-record €220million (£193m) per year offer from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club.

Messi's contemporary rival Cristiano Ronaldo joined Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr in January in a deal worth €200m, the highest football salary in history.

The Mirror claims the unnamed club is Al Hilal. The Argentinian has constantly been linked with the MLS too.

ROUND-UP

–  Barcelona head coach Xavi has been in touch with Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan about a move, with his contract running out at the end of this season, claims AS.

– Calciomercato claims Marco Verratti is weighing up a move away from Paris Saint-Germain following recent criticism. Verratti penned a contract extension until 2026 recently.

Manchester United are pondering tabling a £105m offer for Eintracht Frankfurt forward Randal Kolo Muani, per Sport Bild.

– Mundo Deportivo claims Manchester United are interested in Barcelona's Franck Kessie as a midfield partner for Casemiro, while Tottenham and Chelsea are also circling for him.

Arsenal are interested in Real Madrid midfielder Eden Hazard who may be available for a cut price with his current deal due to expire in 2024, reports Fichajes.

Paul Pogba is eager to remain at Juventus despite battling injuries throughout this season, claims 90min.

Mohamed Salah is contracted with Liverpool until 2025 having penned an extension in July.

Salah's new deal is reportedly worth around £350,000 per week.

However, the 30-year-old has only managed 11 Premier League goals this term, with Liverpool's hopes of mounting a title charge long gone, and their place in next season's Champions League is far from secure.

There is now speculation that one of Europe's elite is looking to poach Salah ahead of next season.

 

TOP STORY – SALAH STRONGLY WEIGHING UP LIVERPOOL EXIT

Fichajes reports Mohamed Salah is strongly considering departing Liverpool, with Paris Saint-Germain circling.

The Egypt forward extended his Anfield stay last year but the situation has changed amid an underwhelming season.

Liverpool might be in need of a revamp next season, with Roberto Firmino already confirmed to be on his way out, following Sadio Mane's exit last year.

Jurgen Klopp will surely want to keep Salah, but if PSG offer huge money, it could provide the German with the cash needed to rebuild, with Borussia Dortmund's sought-after midfielder Jude Bellingham widely reported to be Liverpool's priority target.

ROUND-UP

–  Tottenham do not want to sell talisman Harry Kane even if he does not commit to a new deal, with his contract due to expire in 2024, according to Sky Sports. Kane has been linked with Manchester United and Bayern Munich, while he wanted to join Manchester City in 2021.

City, meanwhile, have agreed on a new five-and-a-half-year contract for Argentina forward Julian Alvarez amid interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to Fabrizio Romano.

City have also asked Napoli about Victor Osimhen's availability, reports Florian Plettenberg. The Nigerian forward has interest from PSG, Chelsea and Manchester United too.

– Football Insider claims Chelsea have made Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong their primary focus for the next transfer window.

Juventus may move for PSG pair Juan Bernat and Renato Sanches with Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot set to exit, reports Calciomercato.

– The Times reports former Spain head coach Luis Enrique would be interested in becoming Tottenham boss should Antonio Conte depart.

Carlo Ancelotti said the "issue of age is the same for veterans as it is for youth" in expressing empathy for Sergio Ramos following his international retirement from Spain.

The veteran defender announced he was calling it a day from international football earlier this week after a hugely decorated Spain career, saying head coach Luis de la Fuente had left him no choice.

Ramos racked up 180 appearances for La Roja - making him their most-capped player - while he played a vital role as they lifted the European Championship trophy in 2008 and 2012 either side of becoming world champions in South Africa in 2010.

But the Paris Saint-Germain centre-half, who turns 37 next month, last played for Spain in March 2021 and was left out of Luis Enrique's squad for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.

Although Luis Enrique's replacement De la Fuente initially said the door was open for Ramos to potentially return to the team, the defender indicated the new head coach had changed his stance when announcing his decision to call it quits.

Real Madrid boss Ancelotti, who coached Ramos during his first spell with Los Blancos between 2013 and 2015, said he can understand the frustration.

The veteran coach also highlighted notable examples to demonstrate that age is not important when determining a player's impact.

"The issue of age is the same for veterans as it is for youth," he said. "If a player complies, he does not have to look at the passport.

"If at 17 he deserves to play, let him do it. He doesn't have to play if he doesn't deserve it or if he's not better than another, the same with a 37-year-old player.

"A coach has to evaluate what happens on the field every day, in each training [session], if the player is well and can meet, no matter the age. Through thick and thin, it never has to be something to make a decision, in my opinion.

"Sometimes, they tell me I don't use the academy and forget that I put [Gianluigi] Buffon in at the age of 17 at the beginning of my career. It was because he was very good, better than others.

"The Champions League has been won by a 39-year-old player like [Paolo] Maldini, who trained once a week and played because he was better than others, period. If you are better than others, you have to play." 

Former Juventus, Athletic Bilbao and Spain striker Fernando Llorente has retired from football at the age of 37.

Llorente – who has been without a club since the end of last season – made the announcement to Movistar Plus, confirming the end of an 18-year senior career.

When asked about continuing to play football, he replied "No" and suggested he will instead "keep fit by playing padel."

Llorente began his career with Athletic, where he played for nine seasons for the first team, scoring 84 goals in 262 LaLiga games.

He then earned a move to Serie A giants Juventus, where he scored 16 in 34 league games in his first season, though was unable to repeat that form before he left on a free transfer back to Spain with Sevilla in 2015.

After one season at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, where he scored just four goals in 23 LaLiga appearances but won the Europa League, Llorente moved to the Premier League with Swansea City.

He netted 15 league goals in 33 games for the Swans before signing for Tottenham after an impressive year in Wales.

Llorente struggled for game time at Spurs, though, with Harry Kane the established striker at the club.

Nevertheless, he did play a key role in their run to the 2019 Champions League final, scoring the goal that put Spurs through to the semi-finals at the expense of Manchester City.

Llorente was unable to get back to his previous best in spells at Napoli or Udinese, before playing what turned out to be his final season back in Spain with Eibar in the Segunda Division.

He won three Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia crowns and a Europa League during his club career. Llorente was also part of the Spain squads that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, earning 24 caps for his country in all, scoring seven goals.

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Spain in their opening match of the Cup of Nations at Central Coast Stadium in Australia on Thursday.

Former Barcelona and Spain winger Marcos Alonso Pena, the father of current club left-back Marcos Alonso, has died aged 63.

Known as Marcos during his playing days, the former Blaugrana man played over a hundred games for the Camp Nou club between 1982 and 1987.

He also enjoyed spells with Racing Santander and Atletico Madrid either side of his time with Barca, and was a full Spain international, like his son.

In a statement, Barca expressed sadness at Marcos' death and passed on their support to their defender and his family.

"FC Barcelona would like to express its deepest condolences for the passing of former Barca player Marcos Alonso Pena," they wrote.

"All of our strength to Marcos Alonso and his entire family. Rest in peace."

Making his debut with Racing 1977, Marcos followed in the footsteps of his own father Marquitos, a former Real Madrid defender, in turning to football.

A move to Atletico followed before he first arrived at Barcelona in 1982, where he amassed multiple honours, including LaLiga and Copa del Rey success in a five-year spell.

He later returned to the Rojiblancos, before a brief spell at Logrones and a final return to Racing.

At international level, Marcos won 22 caps for Spain and was an unused squad member at Euro 1984, when La Roja finished as runners-up.

To mark his passing, a minute of silence was held at Barca president Joan Laporta's press conference on Wednesday.

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