Spain rest Madrid stars for World Cup warm-up battle with Bolivia
Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu, who spent the 2013/14 club season on loan Everton, has been given a surprise call-up to the senior Spain squad, as Vicente del Bosque is resting players from Champions League winners Real Madrid and finalists Atletico Madrid.
There is now an outside chance that the 20-year-old could make the World Cup holders’ roster for the finals in Brazil. Spain are 13/2 shots to retain their global crown on South American soil.
Real quartet Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas, Dani Carvajal and Xabi Alonso will all sit out a May 30th friendly against Bolivia. Atletico foursome Diego Costa, Juanfran, Koke and David Villa have a watching brief too.
Spain boss Del Bosque has also left out Manchester City attacking pair Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas, as well as Juventus target man Fernando Llorente, which may be an indication that this trio will be omitted from his final squad. David Silva is the sole representative from the Etihad for this friendly.
Manchester United goalie David de Gea should finally be set to earn his first senior cap as La Roja host Bolivia in Seville. Old Trafford teammate Juan Mata, meanwhile, will be looking to impress Del Bosque.
Barcelona have a magnificent seven names ready to battle Bolivia and put the disappointment of a trophyless club campaign behind them. Defensive duo Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba join midfield quartet Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, alongside winger Pedro Rodriguez.
Pepe Reina and Raul Albiol, both Coppa Italia winners at Rafa Benitez’s Napoli this term, will hope to be involved. Sevilla left back Alberto Moreno and versatile Chelsea player Cesar Azpilicueta complete the defensive options.
Javi Martinez of Bayern Munich and uncapped Athletic Bilbao man Ander Iturraspe are other candidates for the holding role, while Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and Stamford Bridge flop Fernando Torres are the final names in this 19-man party.
Del Bosque must name his final roster of 23 for Brazil by June 2nd, and Spain kick their bid to retain the World Cup off by facing the nation they beat to win it in South Africa, the Netherlands. La Roja are odds-on at 5/6 for victory, and a repeat of their 1-0 victory from 2010 is priced at 24/5.