Morata, Fabregas, Alonso dropped from Spain’s World Cup squad

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Madrid, May 21 (IANS) Spain coach Julen Lopetegui on Monday dropped Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata, Cesc Fabregas and Marcos Alonso from the 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia.

Arsenal’s left-back Nacho Monreal was included.

“Monreal has come with us many times,” Lopetegui was quoted as saying by ESPNFC at a news conference on Monday.

“We know him well and we are convinced he will help us.”

Morata was dropped from Spain squad in March. Prior to that, he scored five goals in qualifying and was a regular feature in Lopetegui’s squads.

Alonso was also tipped to make the squad after doing well this season in the Premier League for Chelsea. Lopetegui though preferred Monreal, who plays the same position.

Real Madrid had six players in the World Cup squad, including Spain captain Sergio Ramos and midfielder Isco.

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“I want to remember those players that were crucial in qualifying and helped us, including Alvaro Morata, Marc Bartra (and) Vitolo, but have not made the squad,” Lopetegui said.

“I spoke to those that I thought that I had to speak to.

“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.”

Ex-Chelsea striker Diego Costa, who made 20 appearances in all competitions after returning to play for Atletico Madrid in January, is also in the squad.

La Liga’s top scoring Spanish players, Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno, are also in.

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, who kept 18 clean sheets in the league to win his first Premier League Golden Glove, joins Monreal, Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Manchester City’s David Silva as the Premier League players in the squad.

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Barcelona have Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba in the squad.

“A World Cup is the most beautiful and challenging competition there is,” Lopetegui said. “We only have three games guaranteed. The rest we have to earn it there.”

Spain begin their World Cup campaign against Portugal on June 15 in Sochi and also take on Iran and Morocco in Group B.

Spain’s 23-player squad:

Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga (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)

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Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid).

–IANS

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