Euro 2020: Luis Enrique and Spain happy to wait for Sergio Busquets to recover

Spain captain tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and his manager has no plans to replace him in the squad

epa09259752 A handout photo made available by the Spanish Soccer Federation (RFEF) shows Spain's soccer squad head coach Luis Enrique Martinez addresses a press conference at Las Rozas Sports City near Madrid, central Spain, 10 June 2021.  EPA/Pablo Garcia / RFEF/ HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
Powered by automated translation

Spain manager Luis Enrique has ruled out the possibility of replacing Sergio Busquets in his Euro 2020 squad, insisting he will give his captain as much time as he needs to recover from Covid-19.

Barcelona midfielder Busquets tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, resulting in the rest of the Spain squad - who all tested negative - to enter isolation, leaving the Under-21 team to fulfil a friendly fixture against Lithuania.

A parallel Spain squad has also been put together and is training in a separate bubble as a precaution should Luis Enrique need to call up any players if a raft of positive tests are returned.

However, the Spain manager said Busquets, the only surviving member of Spain's 2010 World Cup winners, was worth waiting for.

"I'm going to wait for him, we're all going to wait for him. He has the advantage that he was the first player to test positive and there's still time. I'm certain he'll remain in the squad," Luis Enrique told a news conference.

"Anyone who has watched football in the last 12 years can see what Busquets can contribute, every time the ball passes through him our play improves, he's one of the leaders of this team."

Busquets, who was given the captain's armband following Sergio Ramos' exclusion from the squad, was still asymptomatic and able to train at home and stay fit, Luis Enrique added.

Leeds United defender Diego Llorente tested positive on Tuesday and was also sent into quarantine, but the Spain team said he was due to return on Friday after negative results in his last two tests, and serious indications he had returned a false positive.

Luis Enrique admitted the results had disrupted the team's preparations but said the setbacks made them even more determined for the tournament, which they won in 2008 and 2012.

"We complied with all the protocols and we were even stricter than Uefa had suggested, but everything changed after the first positive. Everything went downhill from that day," he said.

"But we have the hope of doing something great. We've always adapted to circumstances outside of football and all I can think is that positive and beautiful things await us."

Spain were given the green light by the government on Wednesday to receive Covid-19 vaccines although the coach - who said he had asked for players to be inoculated from May 24 - said there was no confirmation when they would receive them.

Spain begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Sweden on Monday.