Atletico Madrid midfielder Raul Garcia named in Spain squad
Atletico Madrid midfielder Raul Garcia was included in the Spain squad on Friday as the former world champions begin the defence of the European Championship following a dismal World Cup in Brazil.
Madrid: Atletico Madrid midfielder Raul Garcia was included in the Spain squad on Friday as the former world champions begin the defence of the European Championship following a dismal World Cup in Brazil.
Coach Vicente del Bosque named his squad to play France in a friendly next month and the first Euro 2016 qualifying match against Macedonia.
Garcia, who played an important role in helping Atletico win the La Liga title last season, was called up for the first time along with Espanyol goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, Athletic Bilbao`s Mikel San Jose and Paco Alcacer of Valencia.
"We have put him (Garcia) in because we believe in him. He is different to what we have and he is doing very well for his team,” Del Bosque told a news conference in Madrid.
“Our aim is to pick up the first points now against Macedonia and progress from there. This is a squad for the present but obviously we have an eye on the future. “The list is not closed by any means and for all those that are playing well we will try and give them a chance.”
Real Madrid`s Dani Carvajal was also included after being named in the provisional World Cup squad but failing to make the final cut for the tournament in which Spain were knocked out in the first round.
Midfielders Xavi and Xabi Alonso, key players in Spain`s 2010 World Cup triumph and Euro 2008 and 2014 victories, announced their international retirements after the World Cup.
Spain are in Euro 2016 qualifying Group C along with Macedonia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus and Luxembourg.
Goalkeepers - Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), David De Gea (Manchester United), Kiko Casilla (Espanyol)
Defenders - Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Midfielders - Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao), Isco (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Raul Garcia (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards - Diego Costa (Chelsea), Paco Alcacer (Valencia), Pedro (Barcelona)