Nacho Monreal
Nacho Monreal returns to the National Team following an impressive start to the season at Arsenal. Getty


  • Barcelona defender suffered a muscle injury during the 1-1 draw against Italy.
  • Gunners star has been selected ahead of Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta

Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal has been called up by Spain ahead of the World Cup 2018 qualifier against Albania on Sunday 9 October following the injury to Barcelona star Jordi Alba. The Gunners defender has been rewarded for his recent good form at the Emirates Stadium, being selected ahead of the likes of Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta and Bayern Munich's Juan Bernat.

Monreal, 30, played for Spain during his stint at Malaga but fell out of favour under former manager Vicente Del Bosque following his move to Arsenal in January 2013. The Spaniard endured a difficult start to the life in the Premier League, with Kieran Gibbs often being preferred.

Del Bosque thus turned to the likes of Alba, Azpilicueta, Bernat and Liverpool's Alberto Moreno plans for the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016, with his last appearance for the national team coming in a 1-0 victory over South Africa in November 2013.

But new manager Julen Lopetegui has decided to give him another chance following an impressive start to the season at Arsenal.

"Arsenal defender, Ignacio Monreal has been called up by Julen Lopetegui and will join the squad in Shkoder tonight in order to train with the team ahead of the Albania-Spain," the Spanish Football Federarion confirmed, only minutes after they revealed Alba had withdrawn due to a muscle injury sustained during the 1-1 draw against Italy.

The former Porto boss named Azpilicueta and the Barcelona left-back in his first squad last month, but this time round included just one specialist for the position in Alba. Real Madrid centre-back Nacho covered the role against Italy following Alba's injury, but Lopetegui has now decided to bring up Monreal ahead of the coming game with Albania.

Earlier in the week Lopetegui was also forced to call on Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera due to the fitness concerns over Saul Niguez and Thiago Alcantara. Meanwhile, Real Sociedad centre-back Inigo Martinez replaced Javier Martinez thanks to another injury.