Julen Lopetegui explains absence of key Spanish players

Spain manager Julen Lopetegui has stressed that the team need to evolve after recent tournament setbacks and this encouraged the decision to leave out several key players including Cesc Fabregas. A number of players from the successful 2010 World Cup were left out for the global tournament but Lopetegui has not ruled out their chances of making a comeback following the summer.

He told Reuters: “When you come from a painful moment after being knocked out of a tournament the first feeling is one of sadness, but when I arrived that sense was already passing and there was excitement to keep going, to forget that tournament and prepare for the next one. These are players that have been so important to us and are still top but at a certain point they aren’t selected. “That doesn’t mean they can’t come back, the doors are always open to everyone, but at the time you have to make some tough decisions.”

Fabregas was not the only experienced Spaniard left of the World Cup with the likes of Juan Mata and Pedro also ignored. Meanwhile, there were also no places for a couple of other Chelsea teammates in Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso and the latter could consider himself unfortunate, given the strong season he had with the Blues.

The current Spain squad has been in exceptional form of late with a couple of top-notch victories including a 6-1 thumping of Argentina but Lopetegui has refused to compare them with the dominating squad between 2008 and 2012. La Roja enter the summer World Cup with a means to making amends for their shock group stage exit in the previous edition and the bookies currently regard them as the third favourites to lift the title in Russia. Spain begin their World Cup campaign with a star-studded opener against Portugal on June 15.