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  • Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squ...

    Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has missed out on being named in Spain's squad for the 2018 World Cup. The former Real Madrid forward has struggled for form in the second half of his first campaign at Stamford Bridge, scoring 15 goals in 47 appearances for the Blues having joined ...

    Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

    Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has missed out on being named in Spain's squad for the 2018 World Cup. The former Real Madrid forward has struggled for form in the second half of his first campaign at Stamford Bridge, scoring 15 goals in 47 appearances for the Blues having joined for a club record £60 million ($80.5m) in the summer of 2017. Morata has previously scored 13 goals in 23 appearances for La Roja, but the likes of Diego Costa, Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno have been preferred by head coach Julen Lopetegui. The 2010 winners have followed England's lead in naming their 23-man squad well ahead of time rather than an extended provisional roster as they look to win their fourth major tournament in a decade. David de Gea is set to start in goal after another fine season for Manchester United, with Clasico rivals Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique the established centre-back pairing. Arsenal's Nacho Monreal is preferred to Chelsea's Marcos Alonso to provide competition for Jordi Alba at left-back while Real Madrid duo Dani Carvajal and Nacho will fight it out for a place on the opposite flank. Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and David Silva are likely to be Lopetegui's first-choice midfield trio, with Isco deployed slightly further forward. Atletico Madrid are represented by creative duo Koke and Saul Niguez while Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara and Madrid pair Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez provide options off the bench. The full squad: Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Club), David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli) Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpiliqueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Nacho Fernandez (Real Madrid), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) Midfielders: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Isco (Real Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City) Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid).

  • Nainggolan left out of star-studded Belg...

    Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has been omitted from Belgium's squad for this summer's World Cup. The 30-year-old has played a key role in the Red Devils' resurgence in recent years but has struggled to fully establish himself under new manager Roberto Martinez. He was left o...

    Nainggolan left out of star-studded Belgium World Cup squad

    Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has been omitted from Belgium's squad for this summer's World Cup. The 30-year-old has played a key role in the Red Devils' resurgence in recent years but has struggled to fully establish himself under new manager Roberto Martinez. He was left out of two squads at the start of the current season, with reports claiming his bad-boy image was to blame for his absence. Martinez was insistent the decision was merely tactical, and Nainggolan's hopes of representing his country in Russia were boosted when he was recalled for friendlies against Mexico and Japan in November as well as Saudi Arabia in March. But those have now been extinguished following the announcement of Martinez's final selection on Monday, with Nainggolan missing out despite playing a key role in the Giallorossi's run to the Champions League semi-finals. "First and foremost, we all know Radja is a top player, there is no question about that," the coach told a news conference. "It is a tactical reason. In the last two years, the team has worked in an offensive way, in a very specific manner. "In the case of Radja, we all know he has a very important role at club level and I don't think we can give him that in the national team. "I travelled to see him yesterday in Rome and we had a very good conversation. The decision is not an easy one, I understand how popular the player is, but we have to create the team to try to become a winning team. "It is purely a tactical decision." Martinez has named a 28-man provisional squad for the tournament, meaning there are places for the likes of Christian Benteke and Nacer Chadli, despite disappointing campaigns in the Premier League for Crystal Palace and West Brom respectively. Michy Batshuayi is also included, despite suffering a season-ending ankle injury while in action for Borussia Dortmund in April. Belgium head into the tournament as one of the favourites given the strength in depth which Martinez is able to call upon. Thibaut Courtois is likely to start in goal ahead of Simon Mignolet while the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen battling for places in defence. Mousa Dembele, Kevin De Bruyne and Marouane Fellaini are in contention for midfield places while Romelu Lukaku is likely to lead the line, supported by Eden Hazard and Yannick Carrasco. The full squad: Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Matz Sels (Newcastle); Defenders:  Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles FC), Christian Kabasele (Watford), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Jordan Lukaku (Lazio), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham); Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (West Brom), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian); Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli).

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