Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, who was recently assured he will lead the Blues' attack next season after Ivorian star Didier Drogba left the club, has one more reason to rejoice after a poor season. The former Liverpool striker has been named in the 23-man squad heading to Ukraine and Poland for the summer's 2012 European Championships.
The 28 year old, who was left out of the Spain squad for an earlier game against Venezuela, said he had been afraid of being omitted from the Spanish national team for this tournament and admitted he was relieved when national team manager Vicente del Bosque included him in the team.
"Yes, I saw myself out of the list. I never received a call with such enthusiasm. Spain have won the right to be called favourites and we have to accept this tag, but it is worthless because you have to prove it on the field. Three titles in a row is something no one has done before. If we can achieve it we will be a world reference because people will be talking about this generation for many years," Goal.com quoted the former Atletico Madrid striker as saying.
Torres will be joined by Chelsea team mate Juan Mata, as well as Liverpool's Pepe Reina and Manchester City's David Silva, on the list of Premier League players included in the squad. Meanwhile, Barcelona's Pedro, who scored a brace in the team's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final has also been called up, as has Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo. Former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas has also made it to the final 23 despite the fact he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
However, Valencia's Roberto Soldado and Atlético Madrid's Adrian Lopez have both been dropped, despite the latter registering his name on the score sheet in Saturday's friendly against Serbia. a goal against Serbia on Saturday.
"All those that have been with us can feel a little hurt. We have taken them and left them, but in August there are new squads. They need to be aware that they are very close to the national team. The seven that have been left out are a little upset, but they are good sportsmen. It was unthinkable that someone would debut and then come with us," said Del Bosque, according to the Daily Mail.
Del Bosque, who feels the Spanish have evolved a lot since they won the 2012 World Cup in South Africa, says he as well as the players will miss Barcelona stars David Villa and Carles Puyol, who have been both ruled out due to injuries.
"Villa is irreplaceable, for his characteristics and effectiveness no one can do better than him. We feel the same with Puyol, who is also a fundamental miss for us," Sky Sports quoted the former Real Madrid boss as saying.
Here is the Spanish squad for the 2012 European Championships:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool)
Defenders: Jordi Alba (Valencia), Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos (all Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)
Midfielders: Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Malaga), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Juan Mata (Chelsea)
Strikers: Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Pedro (Barcelona).