Barcelona 'resisting' Spain's desire for Euro 2024 and Olympics call-up after Pedri struggles

  • Pau Cubarsi wanted by Spain for Euro 2024 & Olympics
  • Barcelona defender made first-team breakthrough in January
  • Concerns over player welfare following Pedri's injury hell
Pau Cubarsi could have a busy summer ahead
Pau Cubarsi could have a busy summer ahead / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Barcelona are resisting attempts from Spain to include teenage centre-back Pau Cubarsi in both the country's Euro 2024 and Olympics squads this summer, reports in Spain claim.

The European Championship in Germany runs from 14 June until 14 July, with the Olympics in France then commencing on 24 July and running for 16 days into August.

Technically, the calendar would allow players to participate in both tournaments, but it would mean minimal to no summer rest for anyone that does and force them to miss most or all of pre-season.

MARCA writes that Cubarsi, who only turned 17 in January, has been in the thoughts for Spain coach Luis de la Fuente for Euro 2024 since he made his senior debut in March. The young defender had earlier established himself as a starter with Barcelona just after the winter break.

But, given his age, he is an obvious choice to also be selected for the Olympics, which is an Under-23 competition, barring three designated overage players. In meetings with the Spanish federation (RFEF), Barcelona have outlined a position that they would prefer players not to double up and go to both tournaments one after the other. RFEF have tried to offer assurances that every care will be taken to protect players and seemingly still intend to call up whoever they want.

Pau Cubarsi
Cubarsi has already played for Spain at senior level / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Cubarsi isn't necessarily the only player it could affect, with 16-year-old Lamine Yamal another contender to be included in both squads. Fermin Lopez is one who may sneak in for Euro 2024, having been a shoo-in for the Olympics, with Athletic Club's Nico Williams also in the picture.

The obvious example of where it might be seen as too much is Pedri, who went to the last Olympics straight after competing at Euro 2020. It took a physical toll on the midfielder, who clocked up more than 70 games that season and has struggled with injuries ever since.

Pedri wasn't the only player to do both because Pau Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal, Eric Garcia, Dani Olmo and Unai Simon did as well. But he was the only outfield player to have a major role across the two.

The Olympics has a unique place in international football as it is not part of the official FIFA calendar. That means while clubs must release players for things like the Euros, World Cup, various qualifiers and even sanctioned friendlies, they are not obliged to do so for the Olympics.

Most usually will, although Pep Guardiola personally persuaded the Barcelona hierarchy to let Lionel Messi participate at the Games in 2008, while Real Madrid have so far taken the stance of blocking their players – which will almost certainly include Kylian Mbappe – from going to this year’s tournament.