The season ended for half of Real Madrid players after the celebrations of the Champions League victory on May 24th. However, 12 of them still have a long way to go before holidays, since they will take part in the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil will see a record number of Madridistas in the tournament. In Japan and Korea 2002, Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010, the Madrid club sent ten men to play for their national teams. This time, there will be two more.
The teams that will include the most Merengues are Spain and Portugal. The reigning champions have called upon Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso. The three of them are expected to feature in the starting line-up, although Alonso might spend some time on the bench due to the high competition in the Spanish midfield.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Coentrao and Pepe will try to bring the Portuguese side to glory in a very competitive group. They will face Germany, Ghana and the United States, but they are determined to finally earn some success in an international tournament. The three are guaranteed starters for Paulo Bento.
Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema will try to regain France’s lost honour, after their disastrous time in South Africa, where they only earned one point. This time they should have a comfortable first round, facing Ecuador, Switzerland and Honduras.
The hosts will look for their sixth World Cup title with Marcelo playing at left-back. In the same group, Luka Modric will guide Croatia, one of the expected surprise packages.
Argentina will surely take advantage of Angel di Maria’s great run of form. After being named the best player of the Champions League final, the Fideo aims to win a title that the Argentinians have been waiting for 28 years.
Sami Khedira is the 12th Real Madrid man in Brazil. Despite being injured from November to May, the German has recovered in time to make it into the squad, although he’s not guaranteed a spot in the starting eleven.
All of them are serious contenders to lift the trophy and will look to follow the steps of Roberto Carlos, Cristian Karembeu Jorge Valdano and Gunter Netzer, who won the World Cup while they were playing for Real Madrid. Casillas, Ramos, Alonso, Raul Albiol and Alvaro Arbeloa are also part of that list after their success in South Africa.
This 12-men list of Real players in Brazil could have been longer had Jese Rodriguez been fit to play. Isco and Daniel Carvajal were also serious candidates to make it into Spain’s squad, but Vicente del Bosque finally decided to cut them. Diego Lopez, Jesus Fernandez, Nacho Fernandez, Arbeloa, Asier Illarramendi, Casemiro, Alvaro Morata and Gareth Bale have also stayed home. The Welshman is the only one whose nation has not qualified for the tournament.