Julen Lopetegui has made a surprise inclusion to his Spain squad for World Cup qualifying matches with Italy and Liechtenstein, handing a call-up to all-time top-scorer David Villa.
The New York City forward last appeared for La Roja at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, scoring against Australia in a 3-0 win before announcing his retirement from international football.
His inclusion acknowledges his exceptional form in the MLS and addresses the absence of Diego Costa, who hasn’t played this season as he continues to push for a move away from Chelsea.
Lopetegui has named under-21 European Championship stars Saul Niguez, Gerard Deulofeu, Marco Asensio and Kepa Arrizabalaga, while there is no place for Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Javi Martinez, Lucas Vazquez, Paco Alcacer and Nolito.
World Cup Qualifying Squad vs. Italy and Liechtenstein
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa Arrizabalaga
Defenders: Jordi Alba, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marc Bartra, Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Nacho Monreal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos
Midfielders: Thiago Alcantara, Isco, Sergio Busquets, Suso, David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Saul Niguez, Koke
Forwards: Marco Asensio, Iago Aspas, Gerard Deulofeu, Vitolo, Alvaro Morata, Pedro, David Villa