Vicente del Bosque announced his Spain squad on Friday, ahead of the upcoming EURO 2016 qualifiers against Slovakia and Macedonia, with the list of 23 players featuring many familiar faces, plus a few who return to the fold.
Barcelona with five players included and Chelsea with four, are the teams with the greatest amount of representation in 'La Selección' this time around, whilst overall, the Premier League provides a strong contingent of eight players.
One of the most interesting choices is that of Manchester United playmaker, Juan Mata, who hasn't featured for 'La Roja' since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when he scored the third goal in a 3-0 victory against Australia.
Speaking about the inclusion of Juan Mata and the difficulty choosing from so many quality midfielders, Del Bosque explained: "There are always doubts because we have so many who could join us. Now though, he's playing very well and that's why we've considered bringing him back."
He also pointed out: "Mata has always been in our minds. If we've not included him in the past, it's simply because of the competition we have in the squad."
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta also returns, offering options not only at full-back, but also as a centre-back. Del Bosque enthusing: "He's an aggressive lad and really convincing for us, both attacking and defending. He's playing well for his club."
Regarding the inclusion of Diego Costa, given the injury problems preventing his participation in the past, Del Bosque assured: "He's over his injuries and now he's playing well. We have a lot of confidence in him and that's why he's in the squad."
As for Chelsea providing so many players this time, Del Bosque simply suggested: "It doesn't matter whether they're playing in Spain or abroad. We don't differentiate. It's true that Chelsea seem like they're providing the base of players for the national team, but we have no fixation about where they're playing."
Here's the full 23-man Spain squad:
- Iker Casillas (FC Porto)
- David De Gea (Manchester United)
- Sergio Rico (Sevilla FC)
- Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid)
- Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid)
- Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
- Gerard Pique (FC Barcelona)
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
- Marc Bartra (FC Barcelona)
- Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona)
- Juan Bernat (FC Bayern Munich)
- Koke (Atletico Madrid)
- Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona)
- Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
- Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)
- Andres Iniesta (FC Barcelona)
- Isco (Real Madrid)
- David Silva (Manchester City)
- Juan Mata (Manchester United)
- Paco Alcacer (Valencia CF)
- Diego Costa (Chelsea)
- Vitolo (Sevilla FC)
- Pedro Rodriguez (Chelsea FC)
All the players are will report to Ciudad del Fútbol at Las Rozas in Madrid, on Tuesday 1st September, at around 9pm. The team will then train on Wednesday 2nd September and Thursday 3rd September, before heading to Oviedo on Friday 4th September.
On Saturday 5th September, kick-off at 8:45pm, Spain take on Slovakia in an important match at the Carlos Tartiere stadium in Oviedo. A victory could put them top of Group C in the EURO 2016 qualification standings.
After recovery training on Sunday 6th September, the squad travels to Skopje ahead of the match against Macedonia. On Monday 7th September, the team will train during the evening at the National Arena Filip II.
Tuesday 8th September, kick-off at 9:45pm CET, La Roja will hope to claim all three points away in Macedonia, which would put them another step closer to competing in the EURO 2016 finals in France next summer.