Arsenal star on Chelsea man and 'really close' friend as they battle for World Cup selection

Nacho Monreal has been speaking about his battle with good friend Cesar Azpilicueta for a place in the Spanish World Cup squad.

There are not many national teams in world football tougher to get into ahead of the World Cup this summer than current world’s best Spain.

Along with Brazil, Germany and Argentina they have a vast talent pool from which to choose a squad of just 23 players - and there is little doubt that some players are set to be left disappointed.

For Spain it could mean players with the quality of Juan Mata, Benat, David Villa, Isco and Fernando Torres will all miss out - whilst Vicente Del Bosque also has a tough decision to make in the full-back positions.

The likes of Jordi Alba, Alvaro Arbeloa, Juanfran and Alberto Moreno will all be hoping to get the nod - but two Premier League stars, who also happen to be old friends, might also be in direct opposition for a spot on the plane to Brazil.

Chelsea star Cesar Azpilicueta has been switched into a left-back by Jose Mourinho this season after winning the majority of his five caps for Spain as a right back.

Meanwhile injury-prone Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal will be hoping to add to his 16 caps this summer.

The pair are in fact former team-mates from a young age - coming through the ranks together at Osasuna.

Now they could be in direct competition for a place in the squad - although Moreno of Sevilla might have something to say about that.

Monreal has been speaking to this week - and they asked him about this rivalry with an old friend - to which he responded:

Yes, that’s right we’re [me and Azpilicueta] talking about who’s going to get the upper hand already! We know each other well, have done since we were very young and came through the ranks at Osasuna together. We’re really close, he’s a good lad and we get on really well but now we’re going to try to beat each other. But I’m glad that he’s having a good season. I know it’s not easy for him but he’s doing well and having a great year and I’m really pleased for him.”

Unfortunately for Nacho he seems the most likely to miss out.

His struggles with injury have been well documented this term - while Azpilicueta gives the option of playing at right-back, another feather in his cap.

The likelihood is that Del Bosque will go with Juanfran, Azpilicueta, Moreno and Alba as his full-back options this summer - and Monreal will stay at home.

But he can carry on trying to outdo his old friend for the rest of the season - if it inspires him to play better Arsenal fans won’t mind at all.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch