Spain manager Vicente del Bosque has left Diego Costa out of the national team squad for the Euro 2016 qualifying game against Luxembourg on 9 October and Ukraine three days later because the Chelsea striker is suspended for the first game. The manager has claimed his recent ban in the Premier League has not influenced his decision to drop him but admits he is not happy with his behaviour in the game against Arsenal.
Having picked up a yellow card during the 1-0 victory over Macedonia in September, the Chelsea forward would have been available for the Ukraine game but the manager has decided to include Alvaro Morata instead as the Juventus star can play both matches.
"[Costa] can't play the first game and we have opted to [not] include him in the squad. He is not playing bad and we count on him for the future," Del Bosque said in a press conference.
The striker is serving a three-game domestic ban at Chelsea after the FA retrospectively punished him with violent conduct for shoving his hand in the face of Laurent Koscielny during the controversial derby against Arsenal on 19 September.
Asked whether this ban had influenced his decision, Del Bosque said: "We have made the decision we considered right. But we already thought [to leave him out of the squad] before [because he couldn't play the first game]. But his ban is not something uplifting. It was not nice. I certainly do not like what he did."
Spain are close to securing qualification for the 2016 European Championship, being currently top of the group with 21 points, two above Slovakia and five ahead of Ukraine.
Morata, who is fighting with Costa for the number nine role ahead of the Euros, missed September's games through injury but will have another chance to prove his worth during the Chelsea star's absence against Luxembourg and Ukraine. Villarreal midfielder Bruno and Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcántara also return to the squad following Andres Iniesta's injury.