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Borja Iglesias: The new number “9” of the Spanish National Team

This week, Borja Iglesias earned his first ever call up to the Spanish National team. The ‘Panda’ has started this season in sensational form, scoring 6 goals and registering 1 assist so far in the first 6 Gameweeks of the campaign.

For this reason, on top of the good form from the end of last season, Luis Enrique has decided to select him for the final set of fixtures before this winter’s Qatar 2022 World Cup.

This week, at the MBP School of Coaches, we are going to describe Borja Iglesias’s player profile, predicting what the player will bring to the national side.

What profile does Borja Iglesias have?

At MBP, we would classify the Betis player as a ‘finisher’. This is due to the fact that within the different structures that make up the footballer, three stand out above the rest.

The first of these is his coordination. Even though he is a bigger than most others, Borja excels in the different actions that the game demands of him, especially those close to the edge of the box when he has to protect the ball with his back to goal.

Thanks to this, the ‘Panda’ is a very useful resource in situations where the opposition defensive block is positioned very deep, as he can hold the ball and lay it off to second line players.

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The second structure that stands out in the Galician is the emotional-evolutionary one. His mental strength allows him to be resilient in the face of any possible missed chances. For example, Borja did not have an easy start to his career, but with hard work, the player has turned the situation around to the point where he is currently the leading striker in the Verdiblanco team.

Finally, the last structure that distinguishes the Spanish international is the cognitive one. In addition to his strong mental and coordination skills, the player has the ability to understand the ‘why’ of the game and the type of movements that must be carried out to score goals, both individually and collectively.

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What can Borja Iglesias contribute to the National Team?

Firstly, we should mention that the Spanish team built by Luis Enrique has a very well-defined game model. This means that the Asturian coach’s selection of players is always dependent on how well they fit in with his game idea.

However, each player has their own essence, and although in principle they will fit in optimally with the team, each one has their own identity depending on their profile and tactical behaviour on the pitch.

Looking at what the Betis star will bring to the team, the first thing we should highlight is the variability in the way he attacks against different types of scenarios.

As we have mentioned before, the ‘Panda’ is excellent at playing with his back to goal, allowing the team to use him as a bounce player to find the 3rd man or to build wall passes with players from the 2nd line.

Borja Iglesias also dominates spatial situations. When there is a spatial advantage and/or a defensive imbalance in the last line, the player is quick to apply the individual fundamental of ‘dismarking in direction to goal through taking the back of the centre backs’.

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Another of the striker’s great strengths is his ability to attack and threaten the area on crosses. The Betis forward is excellent at different fundamentals, such as positioning himself behind the centre back in crosses or attacking the most effective spaces to finish the cross.

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Although the national side does not consider crossing as a main or alternative principle of play, the use of this attacking option can be useful against teams that tend to drop deep and take away any space inside the box. For this reason, the presence of Borja Iglesias could be a great resource for Luis Enrique.

Finally, another of the reasons that the national coach has surely considered the call up of ‘Panda’ is the ease with which he can set up a shot on goal. Borja has an amazing ability to apply the fundamental of ‘finishing the ball quickly yet executing it slowly’, as he demonstrated in his goal against Osasuna.

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This strong point can be crucial against teams that accumulate a lot of players in the area, as the time and space to perform actions is really short.


Borja Iglesias’ call-up is a reward for the player’s perseverance and improvement in all areas of his play. In addition, the Galician has shown to have values as a person that fit perfectly in the group of players that Luis Enrique wishes to have.

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