A product of the Sevilla youth system, Carlos Marchena has not disappointed those early coaches who predicted he would develop into one of Spain's finest central defenders. For financial reasons, the Andalusian outfit were forced to sell the promising youngster to Portuguese giants Benfica, with the powerful centre-back returning to La Liga in 2001 with Valencia. Since then he has played in a full part in Los Chés' two La Liga titles as well as victories in the Copa del Rey, UEFA Cup and European Super Cup.
Now 30, Marchena has picked up over 50 caps for Spain and was part of La Roja's first-choice centre-back pairing with Carles Puyol in the UEFA EURO 2008 triumph. Before making his senior international breakthrough, the player was a regular at youth level for his country and part of the Spain squad which won the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Nigeria alongside the likes of Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez.
Boasting impressive leadership skills, aerial prowess, strength in the tackle and the concentration to keep his opponent in check, Marchena also has the footballing ability to start attacking moves from the back. Question marks do remain about his temperament, however, with red mist occasionally clouding his judgment.