Injuries & form cost EPL stars

United's under-par season has seen Juan Mata (left) of Spain join France's Morgan Schneiderlin and England's Michael Carrick (England) as Euro 2016 absentees. But goalkeeper David de Gea (right) will be in France with the defending champions after an
United's under-par season has seen Juan Mata (left) of Spain join France's Morgan Schneiderlin and England's Michael Carrick (England) as Euro 2016 absentees. But goalkeeper David de Gea (right) will be in France with the defending champions after another excellent season.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Costa, Mata and Cazorla omitted from Spain's Euro 2016 squad; Torres also out

MADRID • Diego Costa and Juan Mata have both been left out of Spain's provisional squad for their Euro 2016 campaign by Vicente del Bosque, while there is also no place in the two-time defending champions' squad for Fernando Torres.

Costa has endured a below-par season with Chelsea despite finding the net 16 times. And after injuring his hamstring in Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Liverpool earlier this month, Blues interim manager Guus Hiddink admitted he was unsure if the Brazil-born forward would recover in time for next month's tournament in France.

Costa was also left out of the Spain squad in March for friendlies with Italy and Romania after scoring just one goal in the Euro qualifiers. Del Bosque, speaking at the announcement of his squad yesterday, confirmed he was not prepared to risk Costa or midfielder Santi Cazorla, who made his return from a long-term knee injury for Arsenal on Sunday.

"We have weighed everything up," del Bosque was quoted as saying by ESPN. "We do not want to call up too many people with doubts over their fitness. The Cazorla situation is very much like Diego's - he has been out five months, made a great effort to be ready, but we can't have many doubts."

His decision to also omit in-form Torres, who has scored seven goals in his last 10 starts for Atletico Madrid, means he has only two central strikers to choose from in Aritz Aduriz and Alvaro Morata.

Mata, meanwhile, has paid the price for a recent dip in form for Manchester United, who have missed out on a top-four finish in the Premier League.

FITTING PROCESS

We have weighed everything up. We do not want to call up too many people with doubts over their fitness.

VICENTE DEL BOSQUE, Spain national coach, on his decision to leave out Diego Costa and Santi Cazorla in his provisional Euro 2016 squad.

Club-mate David de Gea has been included in the Spain squad after another excellent season that saw him being voted into the Professional Footballers' Association's team of the year. But he is unhappy at the prospect of another season without Champions League football.

Although he signed a new four-year contract with United in September, he is giving new thought to his future because of his deteriorating relationship with the manager Louis van Gaal. It is understood that de Gea is waiting to see whether United make a managerial change in the summer before committing his future.

If van Gaal does stay on to complete the final year of the contract he signed when he succeeded David Moyes in May 2014, it is believed that de Gea will press behind the scenes for a transfer.

The 25-year-old goalkeeper saw his proposed move to Real Madrid collapse last summer after the paperwork was not signed off in time. He had been due to sign a contract worth £9.2 million (S$18.25 million) a year which ran until 2021, with Real's Keylor Navas going to Old Trafford in return.

  • Provisional Spain squad

  • Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)

    Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid).

    Midfielders: Bruno Soriano (Villarreal), Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Saul Niguez, Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City), Isco (Real Madrid), Pedro Rodriguez, Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea).

    Forwards: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Nolito (Celta Vigo), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid).

United have been reported to have a pre-contract agreement with Jose Mourinho, who, like de Gea, is represented by agent Jorge Mendes. It is believed that their prospects of retaining the goalkeeper may rest on appointing the Portuguese.

Reports in France on Monday night also suggested that Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been offered a year-long contract by United with the option of another year. The claim was dismissed as "not factual" by his agent, Mino Raiola.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Injuries & form cost EPL stars'. Print Edition | Subscribe