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Spain's Marc Cucurella on Nico Williams, facing Kylian Mbappé and Carles Puyol comparisons

The Chelsea full-back, a shining light down Spain's left with Nico Williams, spoke to EURO2024.com about his team-mate and their looming semi-final against France.

Marc Cucurella has impressed down Spain's left at EURO 2024
Marc Cucurella has impressed down Spain's left at EURO 2024 UEFA via Getty Images

Marc Cucurella has been Spain’s 'revelation' player of UEFA EURO 2024 in the eyes of many.

Not Lamine Yamal, the stunningly gifted and mature 16-year-old whose international debut, and first goal, last year came at a younger age than Pelé, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – not to mention five years younger than Alfredo Di Stéfano and six years younger than Zinédine Zidane.

By comparison, the 25-year-old Catalan left-back with the Carles Puyol hairstyle and robust footballing attitude had not played in a senior competitive match for La Roja prior to the Group B opener against Croatia.

Latest: Spain vs France

Indeed, had Valencia's José Gayà not succumbed to injury in late May, it is arguable that Cucurella would have been watching this tournament at home on his television. Instead he's Luis de la Fuente's first-choice left-back and two wins away from helping Spain add to their three previous EURO victories.

Next up, the Chelsea defender will be part of La Roja's effort in Munich on Tuesday to cope with France's lightning-quick attacking surges down the flanks – whether those come from Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé or Bradley Barcola.

When he spoke to EURO2024.com, Cucurella was still sorting out the emotions of Spain's last-gasp victory against Germany in the quarter-finals and beginning to feel the buzz of the impending challenge.

Merino's winner against Germany

How long did it take to recover from the extra-time win against Germany?

We were tired! But there was pure joy at reaching the semi-finals and being two matches away from winning the trophy.

Your partnership with Nico Williams down Spain's left has proved a big positive. How does such a new pairing work so well?

We had an immediate connection. We practically don't talk about football off the pitch at all. Nico's a happy-go-lucky guy and so am I, so our personalities clicked – it's happened without us trying. During matches, I tell him to do as he pleases because, with these top players who have bags of talent, it's important that they feel at ease.

You've faced Kylian Mbappé once before, beating his France Under-19 side with Spain in 2016. Tell us about him.

It's a real coincidence that we've not faced each other for eight years, but now we have to. He's one of those players who might not seem involved in a move but ends up making the difference. It will be difficult, but we are a strong, solid team. If we work together, we can defeat France.

Do you mind the Carles Puyol comparisons? Not just because of the hairstyle but the playing style too...

Carles is a legend and something we have in common is always giving everything for the team. He knew his strengths and weaknesses very well, and the team was always most important for him. That's one of my characteristics too. I'm glad this comparison is made – he was a great player who made history. Hopefully, I end up having had a similar career.

When will your summer holidays start? Wednesday 10 July or Monday 15 July?

On the 15th! It's been a difficult season as this tournament has been a long time far away from our families. But if we end it by winning the EURO, it would be beautiful and would make many people happy.

Olmo pride after Spain's win against Germany

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