In news that’s likely to please Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, Costa has been left out by international coach Vicente del Bosque. ESPN reporter Dermot Corrigan broke the news, as well as detailing some of Del Bosque’s other selections.
It’s the inclusion of Alvaro Morata that makes the most sense in light of Costa’s absence. The former Real Madrid prodigy and current Juventus ace offers the pace and power to act as the focal point of Spain’s attack, in the same way Costa does.
It’s a big step up for the 22-year-old, but one Morata can handle. He’ll be part of a more youthful-looking squad chosen by Del Bosque.
The full squad has been revealed by the national team’s official Twitter feed:
Picking Morata alongside fellow youthful talents such as Isco, Juan Bernat and Paco Alcacer gives Spain a much-needed new look. The national team warrants a refresh after a disastrous campaign at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Costa isn’t the only notable omission. Fellow Premier League duo Jesus Navas and Juan Mata have also been left in the cold, per 101 Great Goals writer Paul Morrissey:
Mata’s exclusion is likely the result of his dire form for Manchester United, where he has largely remained on the fringes of a struggling team. As for Manchester City winger Navas, he has suffered due to his own team’s recent lacklustre showings.
None of that will matter to Mourinho though. He’ll just be happy that his prolific, yet brittle star striker won’t be at risk of further injury. That’s something noted by ESPN reporter Miguel Delaney:
The Portuguese boss went as far as blaming Del Bosque and the Spanish national team for Costa’s latest injury, following the recent round of internationals, per Paul Hirst of The Independent:
He (Costa) had to go to the hospital and obviously it doesn’t help him to recover from his injury. But he didn’t play on Sunday because of the injury, not because of the virus.
Diego has the hamstring (problem) because he played two matches in three days when he was not with us.
Continued injury issues appear to be behind Del Bosque’s decision to leave Costa out. Although that may not have much credibility as a reason if, as expected, Costa starts Chelsea’s next league game against Liverpool, per Ed Aarons of The Guardian:
Mourinho has since confirmed Costa will lead the line on Merseyside, per Chelsea’s official Twitter feed:
Del Bosque has even confirmed his decision has been made in conjunction with advice from Chelsea, per ESPN FC:
We are not calling him up for fitness reasons. We have reached a decision with Chelsea’s medical staff that we will take a break due to his groin issues. It has nothing to do with whether he later plays for his club. He always wants to come with us, but we have spoken and this is the best for his health.
Despite Del Bosque’s words, Mourinho has been quick to downplay his role in the decision, per Chelsea’s official account:
However, that denial was more than slightly softened by Mourinho’s haste and enthusiasm in thanking Spain for leaving his star man at home, per Delaney:
Costa’s omission certainly means Mourinho and his Premier League leaders now get the chance to keep their attacking talisman fresh. Many other club managers may wish their grievances were consented to as quickly as Mourinho’s.
As for Spain, Del Bosque will hope his reshuffled squad can find the right dynamic in attack to rediscover the nation’s once trademark intricate flair and efficiency in forward areas.