Chelsea star Diego Costa has officially pulled out from the Spain squad due to a groin injury. National team manager Julen Lopetegui has consequently named former Liverpool forward Iago Aspas as a replacement for the upcoming international fixtures.
Spain, who are level at the top of their World Cup qualification group with Italy, face Macedonia on Saturday, three days before a friendly with England at Wembley.
Costa played the full 90 minutes in an impressive 5-0 win over Everton at the weekend, adding another goal to his tally to further cement his spot as the Premier League's top scorer. However, it later emerged he had picked up a knock during the game, joining the national team with groin niggles and a medical report from Chelsea warning his country about his tiredness.
The 28-year-old striker was consequently unable to train with the rest of his Spanish teammates on Tuesday and Wednesday.
But Lopetegui, speaking on Wednesday night with Radio Station Onda Cero, revealed that the Chelsea striker still had the chance to play on Saturday, especially if he was able to train with teammates on Thursday.
"He is not ruled out [of the game against Macedonia]. We are going to wait a little bit for the evolution of the injury," Lopetegui said." It's true that the rehabilitation hasn't been as positive as we expected, but we hope that tomorrow morning [Thursday] he will have a different feelings in the training session to give the step up ahead of Saturday's game. We're going to wait."
The Chelsea striker returned to training on Thursday morning. However, minutes later Spain announced that he had been forced to leave the camp. Former Liverpool forward Aspas will take his place ahead of the coming games with Macedonia and England, following his excellent start to the season at Celta Vigo.
Costa's withdraw from the national team is also a concern for Antonio Conte ahead of the Premier League visit to Middlesbrough on 20 November. The striker has been a key weapon for the Italian ever since his arrival at Stamford Bridge.