Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has continued to stoke the fire surrounding David de Gea, noting that the Manchester United keeper was going through a “crisis of confidence” with Spain at this World Cup.
The Spaniard came under the spotlight after letting a Cristiano Ronaldo shot slip through his fingers during a 3-3 draw with Portugal.
He let another shot slip under him against Iran, with VAR coming to his rescue, and had his weakness with one-on-ones exposed against Morocco on Monday, prompting widespread derision from the Spanish press and come calls for him to be dropped against Russia.
And Balague, speaking to Sky Sports, has refuted the idea that De Gea was the best keeper in the world and claimed he was going through a crisis.
“He is going through a crisis of confidence that is affecting everybody and there are calls for him not to be played in the next match,” he said.
“He’s only made one mistake but he stays on the goal-line, when he comes out he’s not assured and I guarantee you I know this for a fact the players are looking back and thinking ‘De Gea, what’s going on?’
“Is he [the best goalkeeper in the world]? Right now? Who is the best goalkeeper in the world? Well I would say I like Ter Stegen, I like Oblak, I like Alisson, you can argue it.”
De Gea didn’t come to the World Cup in the middle of a crisis. De Gea came to the World Cup with the ‘Golden Glove’ and club’s ‘Player of the Season’ award under his belt.
The real problem here is De Gea’s relationship with the Spanish national team, and the country as a whole. He does not feel at home playing for La Roja and his antipathy towards the national press is well known. There is an air of unease in his demeanour worlds apart from that steely confidence we see between the sticks at Old Trafford.
You can see why. De Gea has become the number one target for the Spanish press despite problems in Fernando Hierro’s side running much deeper than just their keeper. Their attack was exposed as blunt edged against Iran and their defence shaky against Morocco. They have just one win at this World Cup.
Perhaps Balague, and by extension the Spanish press, ought to focus on more than just the United keeper when diagnosing his country’s troubles at these finals.