Both Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool and Sergio Ramos of Paris Saint-Germain were left off of Spain manager Luis Enrique’s 26-man World Cup roster.
Ramos, a 36-year-old former Real Madrid defender who was a member of the Spain team that won the 2010 World Cup, was hoping to play in his fifth tournament but was not chosen to travel to Qatar despite pleading with Enrique to do so.
“Everyone knows what playing for Spain means to me,” Ramos said last week.
“I feel good, I’m available, but it’s a decision that doesn’t depend on me, it depends on the coach.
“I respect him a lot. I can only continue playing and waiting. I hope to have the opportunity to participate in a new World Cup.”
Enrique rejected those pleas though, and has named a largely young group for the tournament.
Speaking after revealing his squad, Enrique said: “I’m not going to change to get to the World Cup. This is Luis Enrique’s team. We’re not going to die of fear. There’s no doubt about what you’re going to see in Spain.
“These are our qualities. Then the result, it is impossible to predict. It is the vision that we will see in Qatar and it is practically impossible to predict if that will be enough for us.”
Due to fitness issues this season, Liverpool star Thiago and Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga are both ineligible.
David de Gea, the goalkeeper for Manchester United, wasn’t even named to Spain’s preliminary squad, but Robert Sanchez of Brighton and David Raya of Brentford will travel to Qatar.
Aymeric Laporte and Rodri of Manchester City, Chelsea veteran Cesar Azpilicueta, and forwards Ferran Torres and Alvaro Morata, who were formerly of City and Chelsea, respectively, are also included in the squad.
Enrique has added young Barcelona forward Ansu Fati, along with 20-year-old Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao.
On Fati, who has suffered injuries this season, Enrique said: “It has been one of the doubts until the last minute. We bet on him before others.
“Ansu’s level is unquestionable. He has gone through a difficult process. I had doubts until the last second. The illusion that I have has influenced in recovering the best Ansu.
“Is he close? Yes? No? We’ll see about this. He has played more at his club but it’s not fixed. I think it can be a great stimulus to return to a place like this, but they are doubts. clear. We will see it during the World Cup”
The full squad is:
GOALKEEPERS: Unai Simón, Robert Sánchez, David Raya
DEFENDERS: Dani Carvajal, César Azpilicueta, Eric García, Hugo Guillamón, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba, Jose Gayá
MIDFIELDERS: Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Gavi, Carlos Soler, Marcos Llorente, Pedri, Koke
FORWARDS: Ferran Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Yeremy Pino, Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Nico Williams, Ansu Fati, Dani Olmo