Villa makes surprise return to Spain squad

Aug 25, 2017 - 11:17 AM Spain's all-time top scorer David Villa has come out of international retirement after being named in the squad for World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein.

New York City FC striker Villa, who hit a record 59 goals with Spain, announced his retirement from the national team after the 2014 World Cup.

He scored in his final game against Australia as the then world champions were knocked out in the group stage in Brazil.

Villa joined the newly formed MLS outfit New York City in their inaugural season in 2015 and has scored 19 goals in 23 starts this season.

However, he returns in coach Julen Lopetegui's squad in place of Diego Costa, who has not linked up with Chelsea for the new season due to a dispute with coach Antonio Conte.

"We believe that calling up Villa is necessary and appropriate," Lopetegui told a news conference.

"He'll give us extra mobility up front and above all he'll contribute his enthusiasm. We hope and believe he will help us."

AC Milan midfielder Suso has earned a first call up.

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso was left out of the squad despite Lopetegui going to watch him in action against Tottenham in the Premier League last week.

Spain squad:

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao)

Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marc Bartra (Borussia Dortmund), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Nacho (Real Madrid) Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Suso (AC Milan), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid)

Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona), Vitolo (Las Palmas), Alvaro Morata (Chelsea), Pedro (Chelsea), David Villa (New York City).

Source: AAP

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