NEWS
Friday February 28 2014
Costa named in Spain squad

Diego Costa has been named by Vicente Del Bosque in the Spain squad to play Italy next week.

Costa is joined by Cesar Azpilicueta, Juanfran, Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez and Alvaro Negredo.

There is no place for Fernando Torres, Alvaro Arbeloa, Jese, Juan Mata, David Villa, Fernando Llorente or Carles Puyol.

Despite the fixture coming just a few months before the World Cup, Del Bosque told the Press conference to announce the squad that it would be wrong to read too much into the players named or excluded.

“This is just a squad to play Italy, not for the World Cup,” he said.

“Costa is there on merit for his form with Atletico Madrid. It doesn’t commit either party.”

Brazil-born Costa has represented the World Cup hosts in friendlies but revealed he wanted to play for Spain last year.

Even if he appears in a friendly for La Roja he will not be bound to Spain as only competitive fixtures count.

“Some players not on this list have a lot of merit. [Regarding Arbeloa's absence] We will be watching Azpilicueta closely,” Del Bosque continued.

"Puyol is not discarded. If he plays often and is good physically, we have no doubts. He’s a reference.

“I appreciate Llorente a lot, as I do so many that aren’t here. There’s a lot of competition.

“Italy is one of the toughest teams in the world. They have great players.”

Del Bosque also spoke to the two Bayern Munich players involved, Thiago and Martinez.

“Thiago is playing very well at Bayern. He has a lot of competition but has kept his place.

“Martinez can play two positions, either as a midfielder or a central defender.”

Spain squad to face Italy: Casillas, Reina, Valdes; Juanfran, J. Martínez, Ramos, Alba, Azpilicueta, Albiol; X. Alonso, Busquets, Xavi, Koke, Thiago, Iniesta, Navas, Cazorla, Cesc, Diego Costa; Negredo, Pedro, Silva

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