Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin looks set to travel to Euro 2016 after Spain's Dani Carvajal sustained a hip muscle injury during the Champions League final victory over Atletico. The Real Madrid right-back lasted only 52 minutes of normal time at the San Siro in Milan on Saturday (28 May) and was unable to hold back tears of frustration as he limped off to be replaced by Danilo.
Real eventually won their 11th European Cup courtesy of a nervy penalty shootout triumph sealed by Cristiano Ronaldo after Sergio Ramos' early opener was cancelled out by skillful substitute Yannick Carrasco. Releasing an update on Carvajal on Monday, the club confirmed that a "grade 2 injury to the right iliopsoas" had been diagnosed after tests performed at the Sanitas La Moraleja University Hospital and that his recovery "will continue to be assessed".
Although obviously hugely disappointing for Carvajal, such an injury is likely to open the door for Bellerin to snatch a place in Vicente del Bosque's final 23-man tournament squad to be confirmed before the midnight deadline on 31 May. The 21-year-old Barcelona product was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year after an impressive season at the Emirates Stadium during which he started 36 top-flight matches and was subsequently named as one of 11 youngsters to train with La Roja's provisional group in the build-up to their latest title defence.
Despite his obvious potential and stellar form, however, Bellerin had never been capped at senior level before starting a warm-up defeat of Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday (29 May) at the AFG Arena in St. Gallen, Switzerland. He featured for the full 90 minutes as a brace from Celta Vigo forward Nolito and a late second-half effort from Chelsea's Pedro sealed a feisty 3-1 win. Hamburg defender Emir Spahic had initially reduced the deficit before being sent off for an altercation with Cesar Azpilicueta and Cesc Fabregas.
"The first thing I want to do is wish [Carvajal] a quick recovery," Bellerin, who, if selected, would be back up to shootout villain Juanfran, was quoted as saying by Sport after facing the media at a press conference. "He is a team-mate and that is the most important thing. With respect to me, I will be here until the coach tells me otherwise."
Spain won the European Championship for the first time in 44 years with victory over Germany in 2008 and successfully retained the trophy four years later by thrashing Italy in Kiev. They were later eliminated from the 2014 World Cup at the group stage but lost only once en route to qualification for Euro 2016. They will compete against the Czech Republic, Turkey and Croatia in Group D and are set to be based at Saint-Martin-de-Re. Del Bosque's preparations for the competition will conclude with friendlies against South Korea and Georgia.