Outstanding Cucurella a revelation in Spain’s pursuit of Euro 2024 glory | Sid Lowe

All action full-back may not have been expected to feature prominently but is playing key role in team’s challenge

Marc Cucurella drinks Estrella, eats paella and his hair is massive – or so they sing, and at least one of those things is true. There is a photo from Spain’s last game that you may have seen and he certainly has. He has laughed at it too, which he does with most things. In it, he runs alongside Florian Wirtz, the effort and intensity that defines him, the curly locks that define him too, making it look as if there is a dog riding on his shoulders barking at the Germany winger. Well, if it works. And one thing’s for sure, it’s working.

Cucurella is a funny bloke who once claimed he would like to be a fireman and told El Mundo he reckoned he would do all right as a stand-up comedian, taking on the hecklers. He is also a footballer. That, in fact, was the way that his former Eibar coach José Luis Mendilibar, the ultimate in old-school managers, defined him, offering the simplest and most significant of eulogies: not easily measured by machines, not marked out as a star and maybe more cult hero than superhero, but someone who knows how to play. And at Euro 2024, he has been a revelation.

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