Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has left Diego Costa, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, Paco Alcacer and Santi Cazorla out of his 25-man provisional squad for Euro 2016.
Del Bosque has offered call-ups to Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez and Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez, who are both yet to make a senior appearance for Spain, while also including Athletic Bilbao veteran Aritz Aduriz, Villarreal midfielder Bruno Soriano and Barcelona centre-back Marc Bartra.
Brazil-born Costa was persuaded to switch allegiance to Spain ahead of the 2014 World Cup, but he has yet to enjoy any real success with La Roja after suffering injuries and disciplinary issues at club level, as well as a record of just one goal in 10 games for the country.
Asked about Costa’s absence at the news conference announcing the squad, Del Bosque said he had decided that the Chelsea player’s ongoing fitness problems made him too much of a risk.
“We have weighed everything up,” Del Bosque said. “We do not want to call up too many people with doubts over their fitness. We have [David] Silva and Lucas Vazquez with doubts. I did not speak with anyone, as you never know where to put a limit on how many you should call.”
Torres has enjoyed a revival at Atletico in recent months and has scored 11 La Liga goals, but it was not enough to persuade Del Bosque to recall the 32-year-old.
Manchester United’s Mata and Arsenal’s Cazorla have been in and out of the squad through recent times due to form and injury issues and also miss out, along with Valencia centre-forward Alcacer, who was top scorer through qualifying with five goals.
Asked about the omissions, Del Bosque said: “Many people had chances, there were doubts over many of the calls, but we made the decisions we thought best.
“There is lot of competition — we can’t bring them all. We make decisions based on football merit. We just bring those we think will be most useful for us.”
Del Bosque said his decisions would have been questioned regardless of who he had selected.
“If we had called others up, you’d be asking about people who are now on the list,” he said. “You cannot bring everyone. Cazorla’s situation is very like that with Diego — he has been out five months, made a great effort to be ready, but we cannot have doubts over too many people.”
Spain have three warm-up friendlies before the tournament. They take on Bosnia in St Gallen, Switzerland, on Sunday May 29, South Korea in Salzburg, Austria, on Wednesday June 1 and Georgia in Getafe, Spain, on Tuesday June 7.
Although the players are due to meet up on Monday May 23, Del Bosque will be without many key players during the build-up as many members of the squad will be featuring in the finals of the Copa del Rey, FA Cup, Coppa Italia and DFB Pokal the previous weekend, as well as the Champions League final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid on May 28.
The final 23-man squad will be announced before the deadline on May 31, and Del Bosque said he could yet change his mind before making the final call.
— Selección Española (@SeFutbol) May 17, 2016
“To have two finalists in the Champions League is fantastic for Spanish football,” he said. “To have players in cup finals in other countries is something to be proud of [but] it affects our preparation for sure as they will not be with us until six days before the Euros start.
“We do not have to make decisions now. We have chosen these 25 players, and will keep making decisions as the games come along. We have no commitments or preconceived ideas.”
Eleven young players have been called up to train with the squad and play in the first two friendlies if required. These include Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin, Athletic Bilbao centre-forward Inaki Williams, Villarreal playmaker Denis Suarez and two Real Madrid players who spent last season on loan — playmaker Marco Asensio at Villarreal and centre-back Diego Llorente at Rayo Vallecano.
He added: “We are happy to have such young kids like [Pablo] Fornals, [Jorge] Mere and [Mikel] Oyarzabal. It makes me sadder to think of those who deserve to be here but cannot. We have a limit to the number we can call.”
Provisional 25-man Spain squad for Euro 2016
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto), David De Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: Bruno Soriano (Villarreal), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Isco (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Pedro Rodriguez (Chelsea), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Nolito (Celta Vigo), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)
Players to join training squad
Sergio Asenjo (Villarreal), Pau Lopez (Espanyol), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal), Diego Llorente (Rayo Vallecano), Jorge Mere (Sporting Gijon), Jonny Castro (Celta Vigo), Pablo Fornals (Malaga), Marco Asensio (Espanyol), Denis Suarez (Villarreal), Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)
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