Ansu Fati has been named in Spain’s 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – but Luis Enrique did not have a place for Liverpool’s Thiago or Paris Saint-Germain’s Sergio Ramos.
20-year-old Barcelona forward Fati has been given the opportunity to add to his four international caps in Qatar.
He is already a regular for Barcelona, scoring three goals in 20 games in all competitions this season.
Fati will be joined by Nico Williams, Jeremi Pinot and Hugo Guillemon in the line-up, with Enrique opting for a young-looking squad.
But a number of familiar faces stayed home. Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno, Thiago, Ramos and Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabala were sent off.
The in-form Borja Iglesias will be disappointed to be left out, as will Real Sociedad striker Bryce Mendes, who returned to international duty last year.
David de Gea was another notable absentee, with Manchester United’s number one leaving Enrique unsatisfied.
Spain is aiming to reach the final of the World Cup for the first time since 2010.
But Enrique’s team is in one of the toughest groups of the tournament. They will face 2014 champions Germany as well as Japan and Costa Rica.
Spain will start the World Cup on November 23 against Costa Rica. Their mouth-watering clash with Germany takes place on November 27 and they will conclude their group stage campaign against Japan on December 1.
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), Robert Sanchez (Brighton and Hove Albion), David Raya (Brentford).
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Hugo Guillamón (Valencia), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia).
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Gavi (Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcos Llorente (Atletico), Pedri (Barcelona), Koke (Atlético).
Forwards: Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Jeremi Pino (Villarreal), Alvaro Morata (Atletico), Marco Asensio (Real), Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain) ), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Ansu Fati (Barcelona).
Analysis of the composition of the World Cup
When naming the team, Luis Enrique said that he thought about the most strikers and made the final decision only at night.
Ansu Fati was left out of the squad for the September games but is back as Luis Enrique says he is fully recovered from injury but not yet at his best.
“We’re still waiting for Ansu to return to his previous level, that’s what we’re all looking for,” the coach said.
Luis Enrique said: “I choose the players who best interpret the idea of football.”
Young wide forwards Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao) and Jeremi Pino (Villarreal) have also benefited from the long-term injury problems of Euro 2020 squad members Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) and Gerard Moreno (Villarreal).
When announcing the squad, the national coach reiterated that he always selects players who are consistent with his ideas: “This will be the national team you have seen in the last three years. I will not change now.”
That meant the possibility of recalling players who had fallen out of favor, including PSG’s Sergio Ramos, Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara, Manchester United’s David de Gea, Chelsea’s Kepa or Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz.
THERE IS DEEP
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(Photo: Getty Images)