Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata is the most notable omission from Spain’s World Cup squad.
Morata is one of a quartet of Chelsea players who did not make the cut for Russia, alongside Marcos Alonso, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro. Cesar Azpilicueta is the Blues’ sole representative in the 23-man squad.
Morata has been a regular in coach Julen Lopetgeui’s setup over the last two years and led the line for La Roja at Euro 2016.
However, his struggles for Chelsea, with whom he has scored only three goals since the start of 2018, have cost him a spot on the plane to Russia.
Lopetegui said: “Taking important decisions is our job, we know that some will be tough but we will try as always to be correct and honest.”
In response, Morata wished his team-mates “lots of luck in the World Cup! I will be supporting and encouraging [you] to the end as always!”
Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin was among those to miss out, but his Arsenal team-mate Nacho Monreal earns his first call-up since October.
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and David Silva of Manchester City round off the Premier League contingent.
Eden Hazard hints at Chelsea stay with Premier League title warning for Manchester City
Eden Hazard has dropped another hint that he will stay at Chelsea by insisting he is focused on helping them beat Manchester City to the title next year.
Hazard ensured Chelsea’s season ended on a high by scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup Final against Manchester United on Saturday.
There is a lot of speculation over the 27-year-old’s future because his contract has only two years to run and talks over an extension have been postponed.
Hazard intimated before the match that he wants to see what players the club buy before committing his future.
But when asked by Standard Sport if Chelsea already has the nucleus of a squad that can take on City, who finished 30 points above them, in 2018-19, he replied:
“Yes. We have a lot of top players, players who are used to winning trophies. We will be ready next season.
“I think all of the players and the club want one thing and that’s to win the title. Of course, we will see if we can bring in some new players. But we will be focused on winning the title, that’s it.
“If City keeps playing like this, it is going to be hard, but you never know in football. It is always hard to win the League one season and then win it again next year.
Can win the FA Cup in the last game be taken at the start of next season? Yes, of course.
“Some of us are playing in the World Cup but we need the mentality we showed against Manchester United for next season. Okay, we don’t play in the Champions League but last year we didn’t play in it and won the League.”
Chelsea remains confident that an offer of around £300,000 a week, a huge increase on his £200,000-a-week salary, will convince him to stay.
Real Madrid is monitoring the situation and pressed on when the next meeting with Chelsea will take place, Hazard added:
“I am at Chelsea and have two years left on my contract. It is what I have been saying every week. Yes, I am focused on the World Cup now and then we will see.”
Chelsea was beaten home and away by City in this term. Defeats to teams lower down in the table, including Burnley, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Watford, Bournemouth and Newcastle, were costly as they ended up fifth.
But Hazard feels the cup win over United, who finished runners-up in the League, was an example of what they can produce. “When we play together and defend together, this [beating United] is what happens,” he said.
“It is what we did against Liverpool [1-0 win this month] and even in the first half against Tottenham — we lost at the end [3-1] but the first half was perfect.
“The first half against United [in the 2-1 League defeat in February] was perfect. But at the end we made some mistakes and lost the game. We know we have good enough players and that when we want to play altogether, we can win a lot of games.”
Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille for £32m in 2012 and has finally won the FA Cup for the first time.
“It’s a good feeling, especially as we lost the final to Arsenal last year,” he admitted. “You saw the celebrations, this trophy means a lot to them and to us.”