Jordi Alba is a high-profile omission from Luis Enrique’s first Spain squad as La Roja prepare to face England in the Nations League.
The Barcelona full-back has won 66 caps for his country and was a regular in the side that won Euro 2012 as well as featuring in Spain’s unsuccessful World Cup campaign this summer.
Alba was critical of Enrique’s spell in charge at the Nou Camp so it is perhaps no surprise that Jose Gaya of Valencia has been preferred in the 23-man squad that will take on England at Wembley and then Croatia.
Gerard Pique, David Silva and Andres Iniesta have all retired from international duty, while Koke and Iago Aspas are two other notable absentees.
Five Premier League players have been named, with the Chelsea quartet of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Alvaro Morata all included along with the returning Marcos Alonso, while David de Gea is expected to retain the number one shirt despite enduring an indifferent time in Russia.
Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Kepa, Pau Lopez
Defenders: Carvajal, Azpilicueta, Albiol, D. Llorente, Nacho, Ramos, I. Martinez, M. Alonso, Gaya
Midfielders: Busquets, S. Roberto, Rodri, Saul, Thiago, Ceballos
Attack: Isco, Asensio, Morata, Costa, Suso, Rodrigo
Blaugrana have been trying to move the Brazilian on this summer but talks with rumoured suitor Real Betis have broken down, according to Marca.
The 25-year-old, who signed for Barcelona in 2011 but struggled to nail down regular first-team football – spending part of last season on loan at Inter Milan, now looks to be staying put at the Camp Nou.
It had been suggested that Betis wanted to take Rafinha on a season-long loan arrangement, but Barca are keen to recoup some cash and offload him permanently.
Benfica were apparently also in the running to acquire the La Masia graduate’s signature, however, the Portuguese giants have stalled on their initial interest.
Hello Barcelona fans!
Stay up to date with all the news from the Camp Nou on Thursday, with the transfer deadline approaching and the team set to find out who they’ll face in the Champions League group stage – the draw is later in the day.
12:30pm – Champions League group stage draw is on Thursday
Barcelona will find out who they’ll play in the Champions League group stage later on Thursday (8pm UAE time), with the team that dumped them out of the quarter-finals last season, Roma, a potential opponent, along with beaten finalists Liverpool.
Check out the permutations in our preview of the draw.
12pm – Paco Alcacer says Dortmund loan was an ‘easy choice’
Paco Alcacer finalised a loan deal to Borussia Dortmund earlier this week and has revealed that the decision to move in search of more first-team football was an “easy choice”.
Watch what he had to say, here.