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How good would a current Basque XI be?

Aymeric Laporte, Ander Herrera and Javi Martinez all star in our current Basque XI

On 30 December 2016 a Basque Country XI took to the pitch against Tunisia.

The Basque Country beat Tunisia, who were 35th in the FIFA rankings an unbeaten in seven, 3-1 in front of 15,000 people at Athletic Bilbao’s San Memes stadium.

But how would a current XI look?


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Basque Boys

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Basque Boys

Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao)

Depending on how much you trust Spanish tabloid reports Arrizabalaga passed a Real Madrid medical during the January transfer window.

But Arrizabalaga didn’t end up moving to the Bernabeu. Instead he signed a new seven-year contract with Bilbao through to 2025.

That decision looks better with every passing game.

This is what you could have won

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This is what you could have won

Right-back: Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad)

When Lionel Messi is attempting to convince Barcelona to sabotage Real Madrid’s move for you you must be a special player.

The 22-year-old right-back is on the shopping list of Spain’s two biggest clubs following an impressive two years at Real Sociedad.

Take your pick.

Madrid or Barcelona? Your pick

Getty - Contributor
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Madrid or Barcelona? Your pick

Left-back: Yuri Berchiche (PSG)

Not many players have turned out for Cheltenham Town and PSG.

Berchiche spent a month in League One back in 2009 but now finds himself playing for Ligue 1’s runaway leaders.

His battle with fellow left-back Layvin Kurzawa is one of the few competitive things about PSG this season.

From Cheltenham to French champion

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From Cheltenham to French champion

Centre-back: Aymeric Laporte (Man City)

City have no fewer than four quality centre-backs to call upon after Laporte’s club-record £57million arrival.

Ederson is undoubtedly the best passer in the squad but Laporte’s ability to switch the ball means he’s up there.

Just what Premier League paupers City needed.

Man’s Not Hot was last month mate

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Man’s Not Hot was last month mate

Centre-back: Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)

Laporte’s move to City meant Bilbao had the money to trigger Martinez’s release clause and finally bring him to the club after years of trying.

Extra salt around the move was ensured by Martinez’s comments from four years ago saying he’d never join Bilbao.

In a bid to make sure Martinez is forgotten at Sociedad the club are offering supporters the chance to swap his shirt for a different name.

Strong beard game

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Strong beard game

Defensive midfield: Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich)

Martinez is back to his best under Jupp Heynckes at Bayern Munich.

When fit he’s a force of nature in the middle of defence or midfield, where he’s been playing in Germany.

But the fact he’s only picked up 18 caps for Spain show how difficult keeping fit has been.

The sadness in his eyes

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The sadness in his eyes

Centre-mid: Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad)

Illarramendi became Real Madrid’s most expensive Spanish signing when he joined for £34mil in 2013.

But Illarramendi, who joined during the same window as Gareth Bale, Isco, Dani Carvajal and Casemiro, struggled to replace Xabi Alonso.

He’s now back at Sociedad where he’s broken into the Spain squad and is generally impressing in the heart of midfield.

Perfect timing

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Perfect timing

Centre-mid: Ander Herrera (Man United)

Herrera’s become something of a forgotten man at Old Trafford this season.

But the 28-year-old still gives everything when he steps on the pitch for United, hence why opposition fans often hate him.

If he does leave this summer then United fans will never forget the EFL Cup top assist provider award he won in 2017.

A familiar sight this season

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A familiar sight this season

Right winger: Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao)

Iker Muniain’s knee injury forced Williams to step up his game this season.

Anyone wanting to sign Williams will have to pay a €80million release clause for the 23-year-old Spain international.

His highlight reel is already pretty sensational thanks to some quite magnificent strikes, the most eye-catching of which was arguably scored against Getafe.

How big is a piece of string?

Getty - Contributor
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How big is a piece of string?

Left winger: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)

Napoli were tempted during the January transfer window but for now Oyarzabal remains a Sociedad player.

The 20-year-old made his first-team debut in 2015 and was capped by Spain a year later.

His impressive form this season could see him sneak into Spain’s World Cup squad. Don’t book any holidays just yet.

A quite lovely kit

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A quite lovely kit

Striker: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao)

It took Aduriz six years to net his first La Liga goal.

Now, at the ripe old age of 36, he can’t stop scoring.

Had life worked out differently we may have been watching Aduriz represent Spain in cross-country skiing. We’re glad he chose football.

Doing his best Titanic impression

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Doing his best Titanic impression

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