£32m Chelsea target replaces Torres in Spain squad

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has been called up for Spain’s friendly match with Italy next week, whereas Chelsea's Fernando Torres has been left out.

Since moving to Chelsea in January 2011, Torres has been disappointing. After becoming then the most expensive British transfer of all time - for a fee reported to be around £50m - the Spanish international’s career has gone mostly downhill.

There have been some highlights for Torres at Chelsea, though - he became a Champions League winner in 2012 and ended that summer winning the European Championship with Spain – taking the Golden Boot in the process. In both competitions, however, Torres started the majority of his games from the bench – taking the shine off each award.

This season under Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho many expected a fresh start for El Niño, yet the Portuguese manager has favoured summer signing Samuel Eto’o, and Torres has started just 11 Premier League games. And with Chelsea linked with a possible big money move for Costa during the January transfer window, Torres’ future looked (and surely remains) in doubt.

Despite a rare Chelsea start - and goal - in the Champions League this week, Torres has had to endure yet more bad news. Ahead of Spain’s friendly match with Italy next Wednesday, national team manager Vicente Del Bosque has opted to drop Torres in favour of Brazilian-born Costa.

The Atletico Madrid man's phenomenal club form - 21 La Liga goals in 24 starts  - clearly warrants an international call-up ahead of the Chelsea player, and Torres is in danger of missing this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. His lack of game time - plus the form of Llorente, Costa and Negredo - mean it is difficult to make a case for Torres to be selected.

image: © wshjackson

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch