MADRID – Spain national La Roja team coach Luis Enrique called up on Thursday Jordi Alba for a crucial UEFA Nations League clash against Croatia, as the Barcelona left back returned to the squad for the first time in four months.
Alba did not make the previous two rosters Luis Enrique had announced since taking the helm following the team’s early 2018 FIFA World Cup exit by host Russia on a penalty shootout in the round of 16.
The former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique and left back Alba reportedly had a public falling out which some pundits had attributed to Alba’s absence from the squad, but it seemed something of the past as Alba is to return to the squad for the Nov. 15 Croatia showdown.
Luis Enrique, as usual, made many other changes to the squad, calling up Mario Hermoso, Diego Llorente, Pablo Fornals and Brais Mendez.
Dani Carvajal and Thiago Alcantara were excluded from the squad with injury, while Luis Enrique ruled out Nacho Fernandez, Raul Albiol, Marc Bartra, Marcos Alonso, Koke Resurreccion and Paco Alcacer from the roster.
Having lost its last Nations League match to England, the Spaniards hope to return to their winning ways when they take on Croatia, the 2018 World Cup runner-up, for a place in the finals of the first edition of the continental tourney.
Spain leads the Nations League’s League 1 Group 4 with six points, two points ahead of England after three matches for both, while Croatia holds the third and last spot with one point, having played two matches.
Following the Croatia clash, Spain is scheduled to play a friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Nov. 18 in the Canary Islands; a honorary send off of sorts for Spanish soccer great David Silva.
The Spanish roster is as follows:
Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea) and Pau Lopez (Real Betis).
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jonny Otto (Wolverhampton), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mario Hermoso (Espanyol), Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad), Iñigo Martinez (Athletic Club), Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba (Barcelona) and Jose Luis Gaya (Valencia).
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri Hernandez, Saul Ñiguez (Atletico Madrid), Pablo Fornals (Villarreal), Dani Ceballos, Isco Alarcon (Real Madrid) and Brais Mendez (Celta Vigo).
Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Alvaro Morata (Chelsea), Suso Fernandez (Milan), Iago Aspas (Celta) and Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia).