Manchester United star Juan Mata left out of Spain squad but Chelsea ace Pedro returns

Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal
International Business Times
Pedro evades a tackle
Pedro evades a tackle

Spain manager Julen Lopetegui has recalled Chelsea star Pedro Rodriguez for the forthcoming games with Israel (24 March) and France (28 March). Barcelona trio Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba and Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos also return after missing the November's call-up due to injuries but Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata failed to make the cut.

Pedro is yet to play a game for Spain since the disappointing 2016 European Championship, having been overlooked by Vicente Del Bosque's replacement in his first three squads [called up in September, October and November].

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However, the former Barcelona winger will be back to face Israel and France alongside his Chelsea teammates Diego Costa and Cesar Azpilicueta. Marcos Alonso, however, will have to wait to make his international debut as Lopetegui has opted to include Jordi Alba and Arsenal's Nacho Monreal for the left-back.

Alba and his Barcelona teammates Iniesta and Pique missed the last two games against Macedonia and England in November due to injury but are now back in Lopetegui's 25-man squad alongside Sergio Busquets.

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However, Sergi Roberto has been overlooked despite having been regular for Lopetegui in recent squads, and recently scoring the crucial goal which saw Barcelona qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals with a 6-1 victory over Paris Saint Germain.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, are once again the club with the most representatives in the squad, with five players in Nacho, Dani Carvajal, Isco, Alvaro Morata and Ramos. The captain also returned after missing the November games but Lucas Vazquez is one of the most notable absentees – as Lopetegui has opted to name another winger Gerard Deulofeu, following his impressive start to the life at AC Milan.

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Meanwhile, Manchester United duo David De Gea and Ander Herrera have also made the squad but Mata misses out, only a day after scoring a decisive goal to help Jose Mourinho's side to qualify for the Europa League quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over FC Rostov.

Former Real Madrid flop Asier Illarramendi is the other big surprise of the squad, after he managed to resurrect his career at Real Sociedad.

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