Spain leaves Diego Costa out for Italy, Romania friendlies

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MADRID (AP) — Diego Costa has been left off the Spain squad because of an injury, coach Vicente del Bosque said Friday.

Del Bosque announced his squad for upcoming friendlies against Italy and Romania.

“Diego came off from a match with an injury in his quadriceps muscle but four days later, because Chelsea had much at stake, he was made to play again and finished in some pain,” Del Bosque said. “Although the doctors said he was getting better, we have opted not to include him.”

On Saturday, Costa was sent off in Chelsea’s FA Cup loss to Everton for “improper conduct.” He was given a second yellow card after thrusting his head toward Gareth Barry before appearing to make a biting motion on the side of the midfielder’s neck. Both players later said there was no bite.

Del Bosque said Costa’s behavior was not a cause of concern.

“There are two months to go before I choose my final squad for the European Championship and absolutely no one, not even Diego Costa, is currently excluded,” Del Bosque said.

Costa’s place in attack was taken by Aritz Aduriz, who scored a hat trick in Athletic Bilbao’s 4-1 win over Deportivo La Coruna and then clinched his team’s Europa League win with an away goal against Valencia.

De Bosque said playmaker Andres Iniesta had also been left out because of a muscle problem.

“He had discomfort and we considered it appropriate not to include him,” Del Bosque said.

Spain travels to the Italian city of Udine for the match on March 24, then goes to Cluj in Romania three days later.


Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (FC Porto), David De Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)

Defenders: Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Nacho Fernandez (Real Sociedad), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mario Gaspar (Villarreal)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Isco Alarcon (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), Juan Mata (Manchester United)

Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Chelsea), Paco Alcacer (Valencia), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Manuel “Nolito” Agudo (Celta Vigo)