Spain call my greatest honour - says Swansea City striker Michu
MICHU hailed Spain selection as the greatest achievement of his career — then credited Michael Laudrup for the call-up.
The Swansea City forward has been training with the World and European champions for the first time since his surprise inclusion in Vicente del Bosque’s squad.
As he was travelling back from Swansea’s defeat at Southampton on Sunday, Michu learned he had been summoned to replace Atletico Madrid’s David Villa.
It is the former Rayo Vallecano man’s first taste of the national set-up and he admitted he was still acclimatising to his new surroundings.
“It is very easy to play with all these players. The players who are in the squad are the best in the world and they’re at the maximum level,” said Michu.
“There is a lot to learn from them and obviously they make you play better at a higher level.
“For all footballers, to play for your country is the best. It is the biggest achievement in my career. I came here to enjoy and to try to qualify for the World Cup.
“I was quite nervous but now I am enjoying every training session. If I have the chance to play, it will be good. I will be very happy if it happens.
“It’s because of Michael Laudrup that I am here.
“He is one of the best managers I have ever worked with in my life.”
Michu was thought to be close to a call-up last season, which finished with him netting 22 goals in all competitions.
Coach del Bosque came to watch him at Everton and suggested he would get a chance.
But it only now that the 27-year-old has received international recognition.
“I don’t feel that it’s been unfair for me not to have been with La Roja before. It’s very difficult to get here. There are a lot of top-quality players in Spain who aren’t here,” added Michu.
“I don't know him that well, but the coach seems to me a fair person.
“For any player, being in the national team is the best.
“To wear the shirt of the Spain team is to wear the shirt of the best team in the world. It’s a dream, every kid dreams of this and I feel privileged.”
Michu, who has not played for his country at any level before, admitted he was anxious about linking up with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos.
But Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata helped settle those nerves, as did a training ground goal against Real Madrid stopper Iker Casillas.
Next he hopes to get a taste of match action when Spain play World Cup qualifiers against Belarus tomorrow and Georgia four days later.
They need four points to book their place in Brazil next summer.
“You’re always nervous, but when you go out on to the pitch and you start to play with players of such a level, it makes everything easier," added Michu.
“I've come here to take advantage of the opportunity, to learn, to enjoy the moment and to help my team-mates seal qualification for the World Cup,” he added.
“It is very difficult, it is a high level. In my first training Juan Mata told me ‘the ball flies’ here.
“I feel like I am annoying Juan Mata as I am always asking him about the training and the new experience.
“Mata is helping me a lot, I know him very well. I can’t describe the feeling when I went into the pitch wearing the shirt of the best team of the world.”
Meanwhile, Spanish teenager Pau Morer has joined Kristian O’Leary’s under-21 side after signing his first professional deal.
The midfielder has been training with Swansea's development squad since July but had to wait until his 18th birthday before putting pen to paper.
He has previously spent time in the youth ranks of Espanyol, Barcelona and Catalan side CF Damm, a former club of ex-Swan Andrea Orlandi.