May 31, 2014, 7:56 AM EDT
On Saturday, Vicente del Bosque announced the 23-man squad that will represent Spain in the 2014 World Cup. The biggest news is that, despite his injury woes, Atlético Madrid star Diego Costa is included in the squad.
Of course, with Spain, the story’s often more about who’s staying home than who’s headed to the World Cup. Some of the choices made by del Bosque seem curious.
After scoring against Bolivia in Spain’s friendly on Friday evening, Fernando Torres is included in the final list – despite having just five goals for Chelsea this season. However, that means Fernando Llorente, who netted sixteen for Juventus in Serie A, stays home. Considering Llorente offers a much different option and could fill in for Costa should the Atléti man’s fitness fail once more, this seems rather short-sighted from del Bosque.
The coach has also eliminated Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal, who played 31 games for his side this season, while bringing the aging Juanfran, who’s struggling with fitness. Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno also didn’t make the cut.
Despite speculation that Juan Mata wouldn’t make the trip, the Manchester United man is included in the final 23. That’s at the expense of others such as Ander Iturraspe of Athletic Bilbao and Jesus Navas of Manchester City. Bayern’s Thiago Alcantara withdrew with injury.
Navas’s City teammate, Alvaro Negredo, also didn’t make the cut, with Barcelona’s Pedro and Atlético Madrid’s David Villa round out del Bosque’s forwards.
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Raul Albiol (Napoli)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Juan Mata (Manchester United)
Forwards: Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Chelsea)
- Lineups out for USMNT vs. Switzerland: Williams, Morales, Shea come in; diamond in midfield 2
- VIDEO: Watch Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale dominate NBA’s half court challenge 0
- Study says Lionel Messi top striker in 2015, Cristiano Ronaldo 29th best 3
- USMNT vs Switzerland preview: Last time they met, Michael Bradley scored the winner with a full head of hair 0
- MLS Player of the Week — Week 4 0
- NWSL mega deal sends Sydney Leroux Dwyer to WNY for rights to Abby Wambach 1