Spain coach Vicente del Bosque on Friday opted to rest Barcelona
veterans Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol for the friendly against
Puerto Rico on August 15.
The squad flies on Monday to the Caribbean island a month and a
half after winning the Euro 2012 championship and with clubs such
as Real Madrid and Barcelona -- home to most of the national
players -- in pre-season training.
"We all agree Xavi is very important for us, even more important
than the coach," Del Bosque told a news conference in Madrid,
announcing his squad.
"But you have to be understanding in these matters," he said,
explaining why he let Hernandez, 32, miss the friendly to rest.
In the case of Puyol, 34, "we thought it best not to include him
and that he carry on preparing with his club. He too is a special
case," like Xavi, the coach added.
"I think both of them are in a good position to continue coming
(into the national squad) if we consider it appropriate."
Also omitted from the squad for next Wednesday's friendly was
23-year-old winger Jordi Alba, a fresh Barcelona signing who was
one of the revelations of Spain's Euro 2012 campaign.
He played in Spain's Olympic football squad in its disappointing
elimination in the group stage in London late last month.
The 19-man squad for the August 15 match in Bayamon includes five
players from Real Madrid and six from Barcelona.
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Manuel Reina
(Liverpool/ENG) Victor Valdes (Barcelona)
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real
Madrid), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona),
Ignacio Monreal (Malaga), Juanfran Torres (Atletico de Madrid)
Midfielders: Xabier Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets
(Barcelona), Santiago Cazorla (Malaga), Cesc Fabregas
(Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
Forwards: David Jimenez Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Jeses Navas
(Sevilla), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente
(Athletic Bilbao), Fernando Torres (Chelsea/ENG)