Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been left out of Spain’s provisional 25-man squad for Euro 2016.
Costa, who has scored 16 goals for the Blues this season, has been dogged by hamstring injuries and has not been named in Vicente del Bosque’s group.
“We have weighed everything up,” Del Bosque was quoted per ESPN. “We do not want to call up too many people with doubts over their fitness. The Cazorla situation is very like Diego’s – he has been out five months, made a great effort to be ready, but we can’t have many doubts.”
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, who has 41 caps, is also omitted from the squad, which will be cut down to 23, after also missing Spain’s friendly double-header against Italy and Romania in March and being unable to convince Del Bosque with his late season form for United. Mata has paid the price for a recent dip in form for Manchester United, who have effectively missed out on a place in the top four of the Barclays Premier League.
Torres, top scorer at Euro 2012 and resurgent under Diego Simeone, misses out despite helping Atletico to the Champions League final, while fitness issues did for Martinez and Cazorla, both of whom missed large chunks of the season through injury. Torres’ omission makes Spain look light in attack.
Del Bosque has made a few rather surprising calls as he looks to improve on the terrible showing in Brazil two years ago. Valencia striker Paco Alcacer misses out despite being Spain’s top scorer in qualifying. Not the biggest name absence, but Alcacer’s omission from the Spain squad is interesting: rare to leave out your top scorer from qualifying.
The uncapped Saul Niguez and Lucas Vazquez of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid respectively have made the 25.
Meanwhile, Villarreal captain Bruno Soriano was surprisingly included amongst 10 midfielders.
Del Bosque also named 11 promising younger players to bulk up his squad for the friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina and South Korea on 29 May and 1 June respectively with Real and Atletico players set to take part in the Champions League final on 28 May.
Del Bosque has previous when it comes to playing without a striker – winning the last Euro with Fabregas playing as a ‘false nine’.
Back-up players (final squad to be announced by May 31):
Sergio Asenjo, Denis Suarez (Villarreal), Pau Lopez (Espanyol), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal/ENG), Diego Llorente (Rayo Vallecano), Jorge Mere (Sporting Gijon), Jonathan Castro (Celta Vigo), Pablo Fornals (Malaga), Marco Asensio (Espanyol), Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad).
Notable Spain squad absences…
DF: Mario, Nacho, Javi Martinez
MF: Mata, Sergi Roberto, Cazorla
FW: Costa, Alcacer, Torres
Spain’s provisional squad: I Casillas, D de Gea, S Rico, S Ramos, G Pique, D Carvajal, J Alba, M Bartra, C Azpilicueta, M San Jose, Juanfran, Bruno, S Busquets, Koke, Thiago, A Iniesta, Isco, D Silva, Pedro, C Fabregas, S Niguez, A Aduriz, Nolito, A Morata, L Vazquez.