Torres set to join Spain's 100 club
PONTEVEDRA, Spain (AP)
Fernando Torres looks set to become the latest Spain player to make 100 international appearances when the European champions warm up for World Cup qualifying with a friendly against Saudi Arabia on Friday.
Torres has scored 31 goals in 99 appearances for Spain and looks set to start as David Villa has only just returned from injury.
''For Torres, it's a proud moment to reach 100. Many players from this generation could reach the number,'' said coach Vicente del Bosque, who said of Villa and the possibility of giving him his first international playing time since November: ''Calling him in to the squad is a reflection of the confidence we have in him.''
Xabi Alonso reached the 100 club during Spain's Euro 2012 triumph, joining teammates Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez among five players from that country to surpass the century mark.
Carles Puyol is also on 99 appearances but has been sidelined by injury since earlier this year.
Sergio Ramos is only seven games away from becoming the youngest Spanish player, at 26, to reach the century mark.
''It's an important number, especially for all the players here,'' the Real Madrid defender said. ''I just want to keep making history with my country.''
Villa has made 82 appearances for Spain, among a handful of current players nearing the 100 mark. Andres Iniesta has played 72 matches and Cesc Fabregas 70 for the world champions.
Spain plays at Georgia on Tuesday to open 2014 World Cup qualifying.