herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Barcelona striker Munir ElHaddadi continued his dramatic rise in the game as part of a new-look Spain that have set their sights on Euro 2016 following a surprise early exit at this year's World Cup.

Barcelona striker Munir ElHaddadi continued his dramatic rise in the game as part of a new-look Spain that have set their sights on Euro 2016 following a surprise early exit at this year's World Cup.

Munir was introduced for the final 15 minutes as Spain rediscovered their touch in front of goal with a 5-1 win over Macedonia in their first qualifying match in Group C on Monday as they bid to retain the trophy they won in 2008 and 2012.

It was another giant step for the prodigious talent that hasc ome through Barca's famous youth academy, after he scored on his debut for the Catalan side in the opening game of the La Liga season against Elche.

His movement in the box and predatory instincts attracted the attention of Spain coach Vicente del Bosque who called him up against Macedonia as a replacement for the injured Diego Costa.

"This is a dream and I will keep this shirt," the 19-year-old said.

decision

Munir has a Moroccan father but decided that he would rather play for Spain. "This was my decision and I knew what I was doing. Since I was young I have played in Spain and this was my idea," he added.

"Since I came here they have given me confidence, supportand I feel very comfortable."

Though stalwarts like Xavi, Xabi Alonso and David Villa have retired, against Macedonia the team showed their emblematic quick-passing football remained.

"We won and we scored goals which is what people wanted," said David Silva (pictured). "We are not going to alter our style because we have won a lot this way."

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