Fernando Torres has been dropped from the Spain squad for next week’s friendly against Venezuela.
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The Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup-winning striker has been struggling for form at Chelsea, netting just four times in all competitions this season.
With Barcelona forward David Villa still absent with a broken leg, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has opted to include Valencia hitman Roberto Soldado and highly-rated Athletic Bilbao youngster Iker Muniain in his 24-man squad for Wednesday’s match in Malaga.
Del Bosque said of Torres, who struck the winning goal in Spain’s Euro 2008 final win over Germany, in quotes reported by Marca: "Torres isn’t doing well, and we’ve decided that in this case he won’t come. It hurts me to leave out Fernando Torres, but I cannot be unfair and hold back those who have been pushing to get in."
The Spain coach insisted there was still time for players not included in today’s selection to force their way into his Euro 2012 squad though, adding: "This list is a base for the European Championships, but it isn’t definitive."
Barcelona winger Pedro Rodriguez was also left out, along with Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol.
Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Jose Manuel Reina (Liverpool), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid); Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Andoni Iraola (Athletic Bilbao), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Valencia); Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Malaga), Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Jesus Navas (Sevilla); Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Roberto Soldado (Valencia).