Luis Enrique has called up Barcelona striker Ansu Fati for the 2022 tournament Globalism The Cup also announced its squad on Friday.
The 20-year-old Barcelona striker did not participate in the September Nations League matches and was not at his best with his club this season.
Fati has four caps for his country and one goal, and has spent the better part of the past two seasons on the sidelines due to recurring knee injuries.
Luis Enrique included him in a list of 26 players for the tournament in Qatar, which did not include veteran PSG defender Sergio Ramos, despite speculation that he could return.
“He (Ansu) was one of the doubts until the last moment, we bet on him before the others,” Luis Enrique said in a press conference.
“Ansu’s level of football is unquestionable (but) he has gone through a difficult process. I had my doubts until the last minute.
The hope of getting him back to his best influenced the decision. Is he close? Yes No… We’ll see.
“He’s played for his club but he’s not a regular in the team. I think that could be a huge motivator to get him back where he was, but there are still doubts that need to be cleared. We’ll see during the World Cup.”
Ramos, 36, Spain’s record appearance maker in 180 appearances for the national team, has found fitness and form with his club this season.
Instead, versatile Valencia defender Hugo Guillamon, who has made three caps for Spain, has been selected, along with Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte, who was granted Spanish citizenship in 2021.
Luis Enrique, who only brought 24 players to Euro 2020 out of 26 players, opted for his full squad this time.
In addition to veteran players such as Barcelona duo Sergio Busquets, who was in Spain’s World Cup-winning squad in 2010, and Jordi Alba, the coach has selected younger, relatively untested options.
Athletic Bilbao striker Neco Williams and Villarreal winger Jeremi Pino were named alongside Fati and Guillamon.
No club bias
Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has been criticized in the past for not calling up Real Madrid players, but Los Blancos duo Dani Carvajal and Marco Asensio have included.
Other major absentees include Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara, Real Betis’s Borja Iglesias, and Barcelona’s Marcos Alonso.
There were seven players from the Catalan giants on the list, including young midfielders Pedri Gonzalez and Javi.
“As I always tell you, I don’t look at the clubs the players are from,” said Luis Enrique.
“I don’t base the national team around a (club) team, I think it’s quite the opposite.
“I don’t care about the number of players from any club, nor their age. I focus on the values we want, to be competitive in our team.”
Spain opened their World Cup campaign in Group E against Costa Rica on November 23, before facing 2014 champions Germany on November 27 and Japan on December 1.
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), Robert Sanchez (Brighton/England), David Raya (Brentford/England)
Defenders: Jose Gaia (Valencia), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Emeric Laporte (Manchester City/England), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea/England), Dani Carvajal ( Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Rodri (Manchester City/England), Cook (Atletico Madrid), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Javi (Barcelona), Pedri Gonzalez (Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Paris Saint-Germain/France)
Attackers:Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig/GER), Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain/France), Alvaro Morata (Juventus/Italy), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Neco Williams (Real Madrid) Madrid (Athletic Bilbao), Jeremy Pino (Villarreal)
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