New Spanish manager Julen Lopetegui has included Diego Costa and Juan Mata in his first 24-man squad for the internationals against Belgium and Liechtenstein after the Chelsea striker and the Manchester United playmaker were overlooked by Vicente Del Bosque in his Euro 2016 selection. Meanwhile, the new boss has decided to leave out Cesc Fabregas, Pedro Rodriguez and legend Iker Casillas, with West Ham number one Adrian San Miguel being selected between the sticks alongside David De Gea and Pepe Reina. Furthermore, Paco Alcacer also returns to the squad amid reports claiming he is set to move to Barcelona.
Spain will kick off a new era under Lopetegui with a friendly against Belgium on 1 September before hosting Liechtenstein in a World Cup qualifying tie four days later.
Del Bosque overlooked the Chelsea striker for Euro 2016 due to concerns over his fitness, opting instead for two number nines in Alvaro Morata and veteran Aritz Aduriz while also excluding the likes of Paco Alcacer. The decision seemed to have backfired as the Euro 2008 and 2012 champions were knocked out by Italy in the last 16 of the competition.
The former Real Madrid boss thus resigned from his position after the tournament, with former Spanish Under-21 manager Lopetegui replacing him. Many in Spain have urged the former Porto boss to overhaul the squad following the two consecutive disappointments in the World Cup 2014 and the Euro 2016. Lopetegui has thus decided to make a number of changes to the team that failed in France.
Costa, Mata Saul Niguez, Vitolo and Barcelona-bound Alcacer return to a 24-man squad without key Del Bosque players; Fabregas, Pedro and Juanfran. He has also named Pepe Reina and West Ham keeper Adrian as back-up for Manchester United's De Gea instead of Casillas and Sergio Rico.
Barcelona star Sergi Roberto is also preferred to Arsenal's Hector Bellerin in the right-back role while Dani Carvajal also returns after missing Euro 2016 through injury.
Andres Iniesta and Isco have also been left out of Lopetegui's first squad due to injuries but has rewarded Marco Asensio with his first call-up to the senior team after the Real Madrid starlet has proved to be one of the sensations of Spanish football in the first games of the new La liga campaign.