Spain manager Julen Lopetegui announced his 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia on Monday, and the big news is that the Chelsea quartet of Alvaro Morata, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Marcos Alonso have all been omitted after a disappointing season in the Premier League.
22-year-old Real Sociedad right back Alvaro Odriozola is the only notable inclusion amongst the backline, where Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal was included over Alonso, and the midfield essentially named itself (it’s just a frightening collection of world-beaters), but there has been a shakeup at the forward position.
Morata was joint-top scorer for Spain in qualifying with five goals, but a disastrous first season in London (he managed only 15 goals in 47 appearances) has seen Lopetegui turn to the in-form Iago Aspas (the leading Spanish scorer in LaLiga with 22 goals) and Valencia’s Rodrigo.
“It’s not easy to give 23 players and the doubt always exists. In the case of Morata, he’s had a complex season but he could have come. He hasn’t because another player has convinced us more,” said Lopetegui with regards to the decision.
Muchísima suerte en el Mundial!! Desde ya estaré apoyando y animando hasta el final como siempre!!— Álvaro Morata (@AlvaroMorata) May 21, 2018
New York City FC’s David Villa was always a long shot for the squad, and despite beginning the 2018 MLS season with seven goals in nine games, the 36-year-old will not be given a chance to increase his tally of nine World Cup goals.
OFICIAL | 46 millones de ilusiones en sus botas, en sus manos... ¡¡ESTOS SON #NUESTROS23!!¡RT PARA APOYARNOS! pic.twitter.com/XBx0e4uOcB
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) May 21, 2018
Spain will contest friendly matches against Switzerland (June 3) and Tunisia (June 9) before opening its World Cup against Portugal at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.
They then play Iran on June 20 and Morocco on June 25.
Spain World Cup Squad 2018
Goalkeepers: Kepa (Athletic Bilbao), David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli)
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho (Real Madrid), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)
Forwards: Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)