Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque has explained why Gerard Pique has been left out of his squad for next week’s World Cup qualifiers.
Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez has been called into the 23-man party for the games with Belarus and France as cover for Pique, who has been struggling for full fitness all season.
“Pique has not been selected because he has not trained a single day and I do not know if he will play [in El Clasico] on Sunday. I’m not psychic,” Del Bosque told a Press conference.
“Because Pique hasn’t trained we don’t think it’s convenient that he comes with us. I have not spoken to Tito Vilanova, the doctors or the player.
“We’ve brought those players we think are the best at this particular time but of course there are other centre-backs we could have picked, but I choose who I believe can fulfil these games.”
Carles Puyol is also ruled out after dislocating an elbow in the Champions League clash with Benfica this week, with Del Bosque revealing he had not spoken to the Barcelona player.
“I’ve not spoken to him but I’ve sent him a message wishing him a speedy recovery. It’s a shame because we rely on him a lot.
“He’s a good guy who gets across what he wants and his presence is very important. However, he has been very unlucky so we hope he recovers and comes back to play his 100th match for his country.”
Del Bosque also commented on the decision to leave Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata out of the squad.
“We have a problem of quantity not quality. It pains me with all my heart to leave players out and there are others that could have come with us. Mata was not in the last squad because we had agreed with Chelsea he could have the holiday he did not get in the summer.”
The 61-year-old was asked if he thought there could be a hangover for some players after this weekend’s El Clasico at the Camp Nou.
“There won’t be any problem on this occasion because we have two vital matches. The excitement of La Liga is important but so are Belarus and France. We are playing to qualify.
“The worse thing we can believe is that there is a long competition ahead of us, because it is a very short competition and any other thing would be a step backwards. I don’t think El Clasico will alter the mentality.”