Spain dominated the world stage for four years with a star-studded midfield consisting of Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta. But with the former duo nearing the twilight of their careers and the latter about to turn 30, La Roja are seeking the next generation of playmakers.
Step up Koke.
The Atletico Madrid star has been a vital cog in the Rojiblanco machine this season, which has swept all aside to win the first eight games of the campaign - including a first derby victory over Real Madrid since the 1990s.
Already an experienced campaigner at the age of just 21, Koke has notched up 118 appearances for his hometown club, netting nine goals along the way.
As a versatile midfielder, Koke has been deployed on the right of Atletico's midfield this season, balancing out the flamboyant Arda Turan on the left and tucking inside to form a midfield trio when necessary.
But Koke's future lies in central midfield as his industrious nature and range of passing has been likened by many to Barcelona star Xavi - and our colleagues at Squawka.com have taken an in-depth look at the attributes that could make him a superstar.
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Travelling with La Roja for their final two World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Georgia, Koke is faced with the prospect of potentially replacing Xavi one day alongside fellow youngsters Isco and Thiago Alcantara.
Koke has demonstrated exactly the kind of passing range that Xavi has made his trademark for so long for Barcelona and Spain, and his current pass completion rate of 82% doesn't do it justice as playing on the right forces him to make more riskier passes on a regular basis.
However, playing out on the right has done his creative prowess no harm at all, as Koke set up 17 chances for team-mates over eight games, with plenty of them falling for in-form striker Diego Costa.
Koke also possesses excellent defensive capabilities. He stands 5'10" tall, not huge by most standards, but big enough to give him more of a physical presence than many of his more diminutive La Roja peers.
This is emphasised by Koke's excellent tackle success rate of 93 per cent. His relative lack of height is probably at the heart of his relatively poor aerial prowess - he has just a 21 per cent success rate for headed duels - but it's something that could be worked on.
At the moment, Koke is slowly being integrated into the Atletico midfield under Diego Simeone, with a long term view to playing centrally.
But as his passing graph in Atletico's 1-0 win against rivals Real Madrid shows, Koke is given license to drift inside and orchestrate play from his natural position, aided by the midfield duo of Gabi and Mario Suarez.
Koke is still a long way off from matching Xavi's achievements and ability with a football, but he has the raw materials required to become one of Spain's leading stars in the near future.
As for present day, the man himself refused to commit when asked if he thought he would travel with La Roja to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“I see before me now two important matches to qualify,” Koke told Football Espana. “At the same time there remains a lot of time and I will have to have done very well if I am to have a chance of going.
“It is a huge compliment to have the coach tell you that you are doing good things, it is something that keeps you working with enthusiasm and excitement.”
Only time will tell if Koke will match the likes of Xavi, Alonso or Iniesta.
But the Atleti star is maturing nicely under the guidance of Simeone this season - and that is not a good sign for the international sides across the world hoping to dislodge Spain from their position on top of the world of football.
Callum Fox, Squawka.com