Spain's 2010 World Cup squad: What happened to all 23 players?

  • Rob Swan

Up until 2008, Spain were known as football’s perennial underachievers.

They’d produced some fabulously gifted players over the decades and boasted arguably the world’s two most formidable clubs in Real Madrid and Barcelona, but they’d always flop at major tournaments.

That all changed, however, in 2008 when they won the European Championships.

Two years later, La Roja won the World Cup for the first time in their history, beating Netherlands 1-0 deep into extra-time thanks to Andres Iniesta’s late winner.

11 July 2010 is a day that Spaniards will never, ever forget.

Spain, who continued their dominance by winning Euro 2012, had a hugely talented group of players at that World Cup in South Africa.

But what happened to all 23 members of the squad?

As it’s the 10-year anniversary, we thought we’d investigate…

Iker Casillas

Spain’s captain and one of the greatest goalkeepers we’ve ever seen, Casillas left Real Madrid in 2015 as his form began to rapidly decline for both club and country.

He suffered a heart attack in 2019 while at Porto and this eventually forced him to retire at the age of 38.

Casillas, who was given a role on Porto’s coaching staff, submitted an application to become the Spanish Football Federation’s president earlier this year - only to withdraw it shortly afterwards.


Raul Albiol

Now 34 years old, the defender was a Real Madrid player at the time but left the Bernabeu for Napoli in 2013.

Albiol joined Villarreal in 2019 and has 56 international caps to his name at the time of writing.


Gerard Pique

Pique was just 23 when he won the World Cup. The Barcelona centre-back has enjoyed a magnificent career and will be remembered as one of the best defenders of his era.

However, he had a strange relationship with the Spanish fans and was even booed by them on occasions, partly because of his support for Catalonia’s independence referendum.

He retired from international football after the 2018 World Cup, aged 31.


Carlos Marchena

Carlos Marchena ended his career in 2015 following a brief stint with Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League.

He now coaches at Sevilla Atletico alongside former Sevilla midfielder Paco Gallardo.


Carles Puyol

An absolute warrior who scored Spain’s winning goal against Germany in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals, Puyol retired from football in 2014 after spending his entire career with Barcelona.

He now works as an ambassador for both UEFA and La Liga and has also served as a football agent, representing the likes of Bojan Krkic, Carles Alena and Marc Bartra.


Andres Iniesta

Hero of the 2010 World Cup thanks to that unforgettable goal in the final, Iniesta said an emotional farewell to Barcelona after a glittering 16-year professional career with the Catalan giants.

The former Spain international is still producing magical moments at the age of 36 with Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe.


David Villa

One of four players to score five goals at the 2010 World Cup - along with Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan - David Villa was instrumental for Spain during the most successful era in their history.

El Guaje - ‘The Kid’ - became the owner of Queensboro FC in the United States last year after hanging up his boots.



One of the best midfielders of all time, like his former midfield teammate Iniesta, Xavi left his beloved Barcelona in 2015 before spending the final four years of his illustrious career with Al Sadd.

He became Al Sadd’s manager in 2019 and recently signed a contract extension with the Qatari side, despite talk that he could replace Quique Setien at Barça this summer.


Fernando Torres

Spain’s hero at Euro 2008 failed to make the same impact at the 2010 World Cup, but he still ended the tournament with a winners’ medal.

Torres completed a controversial £50 million move from Liverpool to Chelsea in 2011 but struggled to produce his best form at Stamford Bridge.

He retired in 2019 following a season with Sagan Tosu and it surely won’t be long before we see him back in football in some capacity.


Cesc Fabregas

The man responsible for providing the all-important assist for Iniesta’s winning goal, Fabregas went on to play for Barcelona and Chelsea after leaving Arsenal in 2011.

He currently plies his trade for Monaco and has represented Spain 110 times, scoring 15 goals.


Joan Capdevila

The retired left-back ended his career in 2017 following a brief stint with Andorran side Santa Coloma.

He currently works within the Institutional Relations department at Espanyol, where he played in the late 1990s.


Victor Valdes

If it wasn’t for Casillas, Valdes would certainly have had more than 20 international appearances to his name.

The ex-Barcelona ‘keeper had a strange end to his career after leaving Camp Nou in 2014, playing just two games at Manchester United after falling out with Louis van Gaal in spectacular fashion.

He then played one season with Middlesbrough but failed to prevent the north-east club from sliding down to the Championship.


Juan Mata

Mata spent one more year at Valencia before lighting up the Premier League with Chelsea.

The Spaniard was exceptional during his first couple of seasons at Stamford Bridge, but Jose Mourinho’s return to west London in 2013 led to a shock move to Manchester United.

Mata has since played 252 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 48 goals, but is no longer one of the first names on the teamsheet.


Xabi Alonso

One of the classiest midfielders we’ve ever seen, Xabi Alonso enjoyed five hugely successful years at Real Madrid before moving on to Bayern Munich in 2014.

He ended his career in 2017 with three Bundesliga winners’ medals and is currently in charge of Real Sociedad’s reserve side.

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Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is now the sixth highest goalscoring defender in history - check out the top 10 HERE - with 120 goals. Remarkable.

The Real Madrid legend, now 34, is Spain’s record appearance holder (170) and has also scored 21 goals for his country.


Sergio Busquets

Ten years after Spain’s World Cup win and Busquets is still playing week-in, week-out for Barcelona.

The 31-year-old has been a massively important player for Barça and Spain during the most successful periods in both teams’ histories.


Alvaro Arbeloa

Arbeloa continued playing for Spain until 2013 and Real Madrid until 2016.

The full-back then moved to West Ham but, in truth, his best days were long behind him by this point. It was no surprise when he announced his retirement in 2017.

Arbeloa went on to serve as an ambassador for Real Madrid but plans to launch his coaching career next year.



Pedro waved goodbye to Barcelona in 2015 after it became clear that he would no longer be a starter in the first team.

He has since played 203 times for Chelsea, scoring 43 goals, but will join Italian side AS Roma on a free transfer at the end of the season.


Fernando Llorente

Llorente, now 35, is currently on Napoli’s books after joining the Italian outfit from Tottenham in the summer of 2019.

The Spaniard’s final match with Spurs was the 2019 Champions League final, but he was unable to prevent Liverpool from lifting the European Cup in Madrid.


Javi Martinez

Martinez was just 21 when the 2010 World Cup began and playing for Athletic Bilbao.

He joined Bayern Munich in a big-money deal in 2012 and has spent the past eight years with the German giants, winning trophies left, right and centre.


David Silva

Snapped up by Manchester City after the 2010 World Cup, Silva has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest ever Premier League players over the past decade.

There’s even talk that he might get a statue outside the Etihad Stadium as he prepares to say an emotional farewell to the City fans.


Jesus Navas

At the age of 34, Jesus Navas is still bombing up and down Sevilla’s right touchline.

He spent four years with Man City between 2013-2017 - winning one Premier League title and two League Cups - before returning to his beloved boyhood club.


Pepe Reina

A hugely-popular member of Spain’s dressing room, Pepe Reina was La Roja’s third-choice goalkeeper at the tournament.

After leaving Liverpool in 2014, he went on to play for Bayern Munich, Napoli and AC Milan.

The 37-year-old is currently battling to keep Aston Villa in the Premier League.

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