x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Reina believes Spain are too good to be replicated

Jose Reina believes the quality of Spanish players makes it hard for teams to copy their play.

Jose Reina believes other countries trying to replicate the recent success of Spanish football will find it is not as easy as just copying their system.

The national team are the current holders of both the World Cup and European Championship. They are favourites to retain their European title when they compete at Euro 2012 next summer.

Barcelona, the majority of whose squad are Spain internationals, have won the Champions League three times in the past six years, with two of those successes coming in the last three seasons, and have won the Primera Liga for the last three seasons, too.

The Catalan club's football, which heavily influences the way Spain plays with Xavi and Andres Iniesta at the heart of both, is envied throughout the world.

However, Reina said there were specific reasons why Spain play like they do.

"We have found a great generation of players the same age," said the 29-year-old Liverpool goalkeeper, who has been named in the squad to face England in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

"These players know how to win because they have won already in their club divisions. It is not always possible to play our way. It depends on the player and the team and depends on the philosophy you have. But not everyone can play as we do because no one has the quality of players we have."

Reina has followed in his father's footsteps in terms of becoming a world-class goalkeeper. His father, Miguel, played for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the 1960s and 1970s.

Miguel last week saw his Barca record for the most minutes without conceding a goal broken by current incumbent Victor Valdes.

Valdes is a member of Spain's top trio of keepers, along with Reina and long-time No 1 Iker Casillas. The form of the Real Madrid captain has meant Reina has been limited to just 23 appearances for his country since making his debut in August 2005.

He will be hoping to get a game against England at the weekend in the country where he has established himself as one of the best in the world.

But rather than be frustrated by seeing his international career limited, the former Barcelona player takes great pride in his country's achievements in recent years.

"We are the champions of Europe and the world," said Reina, who played one match in Spain's triumph at Euro 2008, but did not get on the field for the World Cup in South Africa last year. "To be world champions with my national team is a dream come true."

Fifa has rejected the English Football Association's renewed plea for England players to be allowed to have embroidered poppies on their shirts on Saturday.

The FA had made a special request to football's world governing body for permission for the poppies to support Remembrance Day, saying in a statement accepting the proposal would "jeopardise the neutrality of football".

* Press Association