Diego Costa snubbed from Spain squad in place of David Villa

New York striker takes place of Chelsea man despite not winning a cap in three years

Spain have recalled veteran striker David Villa to their squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein while exiled Chelsea forward Diego Costa misses out.

The 35-year-old Villa, who plays for MLS side New York City FC, retired from international football three years ago following Spain’s elimination in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup.

However, Spain’s all-time top scorer, with 59 goals in 97 appearances for La Roja, has been named in Julen Lopetegui’s squad at the expense of Costa.

The Chelsea forward has yet to play this season due to an ongoing transfer dispute with his Premier League club regarding a move to LaLiga side Atletico Madrid.


Lopetegui told a press conference: “We believe he (Villa) can help us. He gives us mobility and is especially eager. We hope and trust he will help us.”

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso is also not included in the 26-man panel but Blues team-mate Alvaro Morata is selected along with Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and Manchester City midfielder David Silva are picked, as is Marc Bartra, who was injured in an attack on Borussia Dortmund's team bus ahead of their Champions League quarter-final first leg with Monaco in April.