Spain manager Luis Enrique made a bold call as he decided to leave out Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar Sergio Ramos and Liverpool star Thiago Alcantara from the 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Ramos was Spain's captain for the 2018 edition of the tournament. He has previously represented La Roja four times in the competition from 2006 to 2018. He won the World Cup in 2010 and the Euro Cup twice in 2008 and 2012.
However, the PSG defender will have to watch his country from home despite being a regular for his club side this season. The 36-year-old has played 19 games for the Parisians, starting 18 of those matches.
Thiago Alcantara, meanwhile, was part of the Spanish national team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He has made 13 appearances for the Reds this season, starting 11 of those games.
Enrique justified his decision to leave the two star players out of the side as he said (via Liverpool Echo):
"The message is of thanks. I know it’s a disappointment. They deserved to be here, but only 26 can be in the squad. If it were a normal World Cup, we would integrate the physical needs into the training, but halfway through the season we are not going to work on the physical level of a player.
"I’m not going to go into the players that aren’t on the list. I thank everyone who has helped us get here, but now the important ones are the 26 called up. We have a lot of young people, but also veterans. There is a good mix."
Apart from Thiago Alcantara and Sergio Ramos, Manchester United superstar David de Gea has also been left out of the Spain squad. The goalkeeper was also left out of the team's provisional 55-man squad.
Who have made Spain's final squad as PSG's Sergio Ramos and Liverpool's Thiago are left out?
Spain have named a 26-man squad with notable absentees like PSG's Sergio Ramos and Liverpool's Thiago. Here's the full list of players Enrique has named on his side:
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon, Robert Sanchez, David Raya.
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Hugo Guillamón, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba, Jose Gayà.
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Gavi, Carlos Soler, Marcos Llorente, Pedri, Koke.
Attackers: Ferran Torres, Nico Williams, Yeremy Pino, Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo, Ansu Fati.
Spain will start their campaign in Group E against Costa Rica on 23 November. They will next face Germany on 28 November and Japan on 2 December.