Call me Fabián: midfielder steps out of shadows to be a face of the new Spain

PSG player has tended to be overlooked during six years in the national team, but he is moving on to a higher plane

His name is Fabián but you can call him, erm, Fabián. On the night before Spain faced Italy, the first thing the midfielder was asked in the pre-match press conference was how he should be addressed. Which might sound like a stupid question – sitting before them was a man who has commanded €90m in transfer fees and has been in the national team for six years, not some unknown – but it wasn’t, and if anyone was to blame it was Luis de la Fuente. As for not some unknown, that was the point. “If he wasn’t called Fabián,” the coach had insisted, “you would talk about him much more.”

So, what then? Fabinho? Fabiano? Fabianski? Or maybe like César Azpilicueta you could just call him Dave. “Fabián,” Fabián said. “That’s my name. I’m proud of my name, and being Spanish.”

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