Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has seemingly reopened the club vs country row with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
With the Diego Costa row from the last international break still fresh in the memory, Del Bosque has seemingly taken Cesc Fabregas’ hamstring problem, which saw him leave the Spain squad on Tuesday, with a pinch of salt – though he only hints at it.
Speaking ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifier with Belarus on Saturday, Del Bosque said he "had to believe" that Fabregas, sho was ruled out with a hamstring problem after undergoing a check-up in Madrid earlier this week, was telling the truth about the injury.
"We had to wait a few days to evaluate Cesc's injury and we opted for him not to continue with us," Del Bosque said to Spanish radio station Onda Cero. "At times we have been flexible but not in this case.
"His muscle seems all right but he complains and he is the best doctor.
"I prefer to be deceived but I cannot be distrustful.
"When a player of his calibre tells you that he is injured, you have to believe him."
Del Bosque infuriated Mourinho when he played striker Diego Costa twice during the previous international break; Costa ended up missing three matches for the Blues, including the crucial game against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Costa has been left out of this squad in order to rest – Spain also play Germany in a friendly three days after the Belarus match.
"In our previous training camp, he (Costa) complained about pain in his pelvic bone," Del Bosque said. "I thought it was best for him to take a break.
"It's not a sign of weakness, I don't want to confront anyone.
"When I gave my 23-man squad, I knew that he (Costa) was going to play with his club at the weekend.
"But we cannot push someone when they don't feel completely well.
"He is the first one that has asked us to please not forget him when I make my next squad selection in February."
Costa, who has scored 10 goals in nine Premier League appearances for Chelsea so far, is eager to shine for Spain.
The former Atletico Madrid star became a naturalised player earlier this year and has found the back of the net just once in seven appearances for La Roja since.
However, Del Bosque is confident Costa will have a starring role for the national team despite his slow start.
"For whatever reason, he (Costa) has not been 100 per cent with us," he said. "However, we cannot say that he has not given all of his enthusiasm, he has always had a desire to play.
"We haven't been lucky, he has been a slave of our lack of play.
"Had we not opted to select him (naturalise him), now we would have thrown our hands in the air.
"Seeing how Costa moves, the spaces he finds, this cannot be bad for any team.
"Perhaps he is not as technical but not all forwards need to be in order to score goals."
Additional reporting from PA
- More about:
- Chelsea F.c.