Luis Enrique leaves out Jordi Alba amid sweeping changes in first squad as new Spain coach

Barca full-back Alba notably clashed with Luis Enrique during his time at the Nou Camp

Ed Malyon
Friday 31 August 2018 10:57
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Jordi Alba has been outstanding but his relationship with Luis Enrique isn't the best
Jordi Alba has been outstanding but his relationship with Luis Enrique isn't the best

Luis Enrique has made some big calls in his first squad as Spain's head coach, leaving out some of La Liga's best players from last season including Jordi Alba, Koke and Iago Aspas.

Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez was also omitted, but Alba's absence is the most high-profile with the Barcelona defender widely considered as one of the best left-backs on the planet.

Alba was frequently dropped in Luis Enrique's final season as Barca coach and struggled to adapt when they switched to a back three. Marcos Alonso of Chelsea and Valencia's Jose Luis Gaya profit from Alba's omission to make the squad while Koke is replaced by clubmate Rodri. Iago Aspas, one of La Liga's best strikers last season, has been left out in favour of in-form Valencia man Rodrigo and former Liverpool youngster Suso, who plays for Milan.

Raul Albiol is among the surprise inclusions at the start of a new era in Spanish football. The 32-year-old defender plays for Napoli in Serie A and hasn't featured for Spain since 2015. Diego Llorente and Inigo Martinez are also included as part of a new-look central defensive core in the wake of Gerard Pique's retirement from international football.

Spain will play Wales and Bosnia in the international break.

Spain squad in full

Goalkeepers: De Gea, Kepa, Pau.

Defenders: Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Azpilicueta, Albiol, Diego Llorente, Iñigo Martínez, Marcos Alonso, Gayá.

Midfielders: Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Saúl, Rodrigo, Thiago, Ceballos, Isco.

Forwards: Asensio, Diego Costa, Morata, Suso, Rodrigo.

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