Fans of RCD Espanyol have been celebrating the goals of Joselu all season long, and now the whole of Spain has been able to cheer him on too.
The striker – who turned 33 years of age this Monday, March 27 – has been having such a good campaign at club level that he was called up to the Spanish national team's senior squad for the first time ever for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland and he made an instant impact when given his debut by Luis de la Fuente.
Spain were leading Norway 1-0 at Málaga CF's La Rosaleda Stadium on Saturday night when Joselu entered the pitch with 80:31 on the clock. Just moments later, 82:59 into the match, he produced a glancing header into the corner to make it 2-0 to La Roja, before he pounced to fire in another at 84:46 to cap off a dream debut.
By scoring a brace just four minutes and 15 seconds into his Spain career, Joselu set a new record for La Roja. Nobody had ever netted two goals that quickly for the team, as the RCD Espanyol man overtook the previous record of five minutes and 40 seconds that had been set by Fernando Morientes back in 1998. What's more, Joselu became the first player ever to score a brace as a substitute on their Spain debut, given that Morientes had achieved his double as a starter.
Speaking after the full-time whistle, the forward was clearly shocked by what he had just achieved. He said: "I still can't believe it, this is the best feeling. The work I've put in has been rewarded. I feel like an 18-year-old kid. I'm going to enjoy this moment and also make sure to recover well."
The hard work has paid off for Joselu
Joselu's journey to this point is an inspiring one. He had played and scored wearing the red of Spain before, but hadn't pulled on that famous jersey since March of 2010 when he represented the U21s in a match against Liechtenstein.
In the years since then, Joselu wasn't considered by the various coaches who have been in charge of the senior side, but he continued working hard and scoring goals for different clubs in different leagues. He has made appearances in Spain, Germany and England for 10 different teams, representing RC Celta, Real Madrid, Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hannover 96, Stoke City, Deportivo de la Coruña, Newcastle United, Deportivo Alavés and, since last summer, RCD Espanyol.
Looking at his scoring stats, Joselu has been getting better with age, as the only four seasons of his career in which he has reached double figures for top-flight goals have been the past four. He hit 11 goals, 11 goals and 14 goals in his three seasons with Deportivo Alavés, while he already has 12 this term for RCD Espanyol, putting him joint-third in the standings for the Pichichi trophy. That means he is on course to record his best ever scoring season at the age of 33. His finishing is as clinical as ever, while he is dominating the air like never before and is the player to have won the most aerial duels in all of LaLiga Santander, with 128.
If he keeps this up, Joselu could become a key player for Spain in the Luis de la Fuente era. Given that he was born in Stuttgart, before moving to Spain at a very young age, it would be extra special for the forward if he can help Spain qualify for Euro 2024, which will take place in Germany. Joselu would be 34 by the time of that tournament, but he has shown that age is just a number and that he has what it takes to lead the line for his country.
Fans of RCD Espanyol have been celebrating the goals of Joselu all season long, and now the whole of Spain has been able to cheer him on too. The striker – who turned 33 years of age this Monday, March 27 – has been having such a good campaign at club level that he was called up to the Spanish national team's senior squad for the first time ever for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland and he made an instant impact when given his debut by Luis de la Fuente.