Despite playing a large role in qualifying, Santo Cazorla has not made the Spain squad for Euro 2016.
Vicente Del Bosque faced the press on Tuesday and named a provisional squad for this summer’s tournament in France and Cazorla didn’t make the cut despite returning for Arsenal this weekend.
The midfielder played for the first time in five months at the weekend, and performed well, but it wasn’t enough to win a place.
“The case of Cazorla is very similar to Diego Costa,” Del Bosque explained.
“Cazorla’s been injured for 5 months, he’s made an extraordinary effort to be ready – we’re aware of that and we appreciate it.
“The other day he played a match for 88 minutes but we decided not to call many players without being sure they’re completely fit.”
It’s a huge blow for Cazorla who, at 31, who may not have another chance to represent his country in a tournament. He’s worked incredibly hard to return but won’t be appearing at a third consecutive European Championships.
Called up for Spain’s successful campaigns in 2008 and 2012, maybe he was a good luck charm.
He wasn’t the only Arsenal player ignored. With 36 Premier League starts this season, fitness was no reason to ignore Nacho Monreal.
Uncapped Héctor Bellerín won’t go to the tournament but could at least win his first Spain cap as he has been included for pre-tournament friendlies.