Eyebrows were raised when Vicente Del Bosque named his 25-man preliminary Spain squad for Euro 2016 on Tuesday and Chelsea striker Diego Costa wasn’t included on the list.
Del Bosque has always backed Costa in both good and difficult times but he chose not to select the Chelsea striker ahead of a major tournament keeping the player’s recent injury problems in mind.
Since moving to England, Costa’s Chelsea career has often been blighted by injuries, and his hamstring injury has been a major cause for concern for the London club.
Costa picked up yet another hamstring injury during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool earlier this month. Guss Hiddink, the Blues manager, claimed that the serious is far more serious than what previously thought and admitted that he was unsure whether the Spain striker would recover in time for next month’s Euro Championships in France. Del Bosque wasn’t prepared to take the gamble, as a result, Costa will miss out on Euro 2016 due to injury.
“We’ve evaluated the situation and we didn’t want to have an overload of players who were in an uncertain situation (physical condition); we preferred not to bring them,” said Del Bosque.
Costa has had a below-par season with the Blues but he did manage to score 16 goals for his club. This is indeed a frustrating experience for the Brazilian-born striker as he has managed to stay healthy for almost throughout the season as compared to his previous years at Chelsea.
Chelsea’s other three Spanish players – Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta – have got their call, but Del Bosque has left out Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal and midfielder Santi Cazorla.
Cazorla returned to Arsenal starting line up on the final day of the season after a five months spell on the sidelines and although he did well it wasn’t enough to book a place in the Spain squad.
“The case of Cazorla is very similar to Diego Costa,” Del Bosque explained.
“Cazorla’s been injured for 5 months, he’s made an extraordinary effort to be ready – we’re aware of that and we appreciate it. The other day he played a match for 88 minutes but we decided not to call many players without being sure they’re completely fit.”
It’s a huge blow to Cazorla won’t be appearing at a third consecutive European Championships and at 31 he might not get another opportunity to represent his country in major tournaments again.
Monreal has been ever-present for the Gunners this season having made 36 Premier League starts, but surprisingly he was overlooked by the Spain boss. Del Bosque has also left both Juan Mata and Fernando Torres from his 25-man preliminary squad at home. All baffling decisions, those.