Given the scarcity of genuine contenders for Spain's left-back berth in recent years, Joan Capdevila's blossoming into the role could not have come at a better time. Currently playing his club football for Villarreal, Capdevila has extensive experience wearing his country's red jersey, going all the way back to the silver-medal winning squad at the Olympic Football Tournament Sydney 2000.
An Espanyol youth product, in 1999/00 he joined capital heavyweights Atletico de Madrid only to endure the ignominy of relegation to Spain's second tier. Following the Sydney Olympics, however, he was on the move again, this time to Deportivo La Coruna, where he helped his new side to consecutive La Liga runners-up finishes and picked up winners' medals in the 2002 Copa del Rey and two Spanish Supercopas.
His full international debut came in October 2002 and Capdevila travelled to UEFA EURO 2004 in Portugal, though he missed out on a starting berth. He subsequently failed to make the squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, though his excellent performances since joining Villarreal in 2007 brought him back into the picture.
Often deployed as a left-midfielder earlier in his career, Capdevila has not lost the ability to attack effectively, particularly his pinpoint crossing and long-distance shooting. And by combining this forward-thinking approach with a solid defensive game, he made the Spain left-back slot his own in time to triumph at EURO 2008.