Madrid (AFP) – Diego Costa and Pedro Rodriguez were rewarded for Chelsea’s march towards the Premier League title on Friday with a recall to Julien Lopetegui’s Spain squad for a World Cup qualifier against Israel and a friendly against France.
However, there is no place for their Chelsea teammate Cesc Fabregas, whilst Juan Mata also misses out despite securing Manchester United’s place in the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday.
Pedro returns for the first time in Lopetegui’s reign as national team boss after controversial comments during Euro 2016 that he would consider retiring from international football as he didn’t want to “make up the numbers.”
“It is the first time Pedro is with us, but he is well-known in the national team,” said Lopetegui.
“He is performing at a high level, playing a lot and being a very important part of the team and we think he can contribute.”
Gerard Deulofeu is handed a shock call-up on the back of his form since joining AC Milan on loan from Everton in January.
“He wasn’t playing regularly at his old team, but with the move to Milan he is starting every game,” added Lopetegui. “He has developed the parts of his game he needed to.”
Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illarramendi also received his first call-up to the senior squad having won the under-21 European Championships under Lopetegui in 2013.
Spain host Israel in Gijon on March 24 before travelling to face France in Paris four days later.
Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Pepe Reina (Napoli/ITA), David De Gea (Manchester United/ENG), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)
Defenders: Nacho, Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea/ENG), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal/ENG), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich/GER)
Midfielders: Ander Herrera (Manchester United/ENG), Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich/GER), David Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad)
Forwards: Vitolo (Sevilla), Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid), Diego Costa, Pedro (Chelsea/ENG), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Gerard Deulofeu (AC Milan/ITA)