Casillas out but Costa back for new-look Spain

Madrid, Aug. 26, (GNA/dpa) – Veteran
goalkeeper Iker Casillas is not in the Spain squad announced Friday by new
coach Julen Lopetegui, though Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been brought back
after missing Euro 2016.

Lopetegui’s first squad is for the September 1
friendly against Belgium and the September 5 World Cup qualifier against
Liechtenstein.

Lopetegui – who took over from Vicente del
Bosque in July – had lunch earlier this week with Casillas and reportedly told
the Porto veteran that his 16-year highly successful international career was
over.

However, Lopetegui said Friday that the Spain
door might still be open for Casillas, 35, who was reserve to David de Gea at
Euro 2016.

“Iker is a reference point and an icon,
but on this occasion we have decided that de Gea should be the first-choice
keeper. But the national team door is certainly not closed for him
(Casillas).”

Lopetegui has called up veteran Pepe Reina of
Napoli and the uncapped Adrian San Miguel of West Ham as his other keepers.

Radio Marca commented that: “This really
looks like the end of the road for Casillas, which is not really surprising at
the age of 35…Now de Gea has to prove himself a worthy successor.”

Casillas is Spain’s most capped player, with
167 appearances. He captained La Roja to triumph at the 2010 World Cup as well
as Euro 2008 and 2012.

Two other regulars omitted are Cesc Fabregas
of Chelsea and Juanfran of Atletico Madrid.

In contrast, Costa has been given another
chance by Lopetegui, despite only having scored once in 10 outings for Spain.

Also recalled in attack are Paco Alcacer, who
is reportedly poised to leave Valencia for Barcelona, and Juan Mata of
Manchester United.

Real Madrid youngster Marco Asensio – who
scored a memorable goal Sunday at Real Sociedad – has been called up for the
first time.

Spain’s injury victims are Andres Iniesta of
Barcelona and Isco of Real Madrid.

Spain have been draw into World Cup qualifying
Group G along with Italy – who eliminated them at Euro 2016 – Albania, Israel,
Liechtenstain and Macedonia.

Squad: Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester
United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Adrian San Miguel (West Ham)

Defenders: Marc Bartra (Borussia
Moenchegladbach), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Cesar
Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid),
Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona),
David Silva (Manchester City), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Saul (Atletico Madrid),
Koke (Atletico Madrid), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Marco Asensio (Real
Madrid)

Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid), Lucas
Vazquez (Real Madrid), Nolito (Manchester City), Paco Alcacer (Valencia), Diego
Costa (Chelsea), Vitolo (Sevilla).

GNA

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