MADRID (AP) — Sergio Ramos was left off Spain's squad for the European Championship on Monday following a season plagued by injuries.
Spain coach Luis Enrique said Ramos' lack of play recently made it difficult for the Real Madrid defender to be included in the Euro 2020 squad.
The 35-year-old Ramos missed most of the second half of the season after a series of muscle injures and a knee problem that required surgery.
“He will not be with us because he couldn’t compete during large parts of the season, he couldn’t even practice with his club,” Luis Enrique said. “It was tough. It was a complicated decision but it had to be made in benefit of the entire group. I felt bad because he has always been a player who gave everything he had, he has always been very professional.”
Luis Enrique said he told Ramos about his decision in a phone call on Sunday.
“I normally don’t make these calls but I decided to do it in Ramos’ case because of what he means to the national team," Luis Enrique said, adding that he told the player to be “more selfish” and make sure he fully recovers so he can come back fully fit to help his club and eventually return to the national team.
Ramos would have had a chance to break the record for most appearances for a national team at Euro 2020. The veteran Spain captain already holds the European record with 180 appearances. The world record of 184 is held by Egypt player Ahmed Hassan.
Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte, who played for France's youth squads but was also eligible to play for Spain, was among those included in Luis Enrique's squad.
“His call-up has nothing to do with Ramos not being able to play,” Luis Enrique said about Laporte. “We considered him since it became possible for him to be with us. He is a top player who can help us, with a lot of international experience with his club.”
Also in the squad are forwards Adama Traoré and Álvaro Morata, youngsters Ferran Torres, Pedri González and Eric García, and veterans Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and César Azpilicueta.
Among those missing out were Jesús Navas, Nacho Fernández, Sergio Canales, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Inigo Martínez, who announced on Monday he didn't feel ready to be with the national team during Euro 2020.
There were no Real Madrid players on the list. The club finished the season without a title for the first time in more than a decade.
Luis Enrique said he didn’t pick a full complement of 26 players because he felt the 24 that he included would meet all of the team's needs.
Spain will play in Group E along with Sweden, Poland and Slovakia. All of its games will be in the Spanish city of Seville, beginning on June 14 against Sweden. Its two warm-up matches will be against Portugal on June 4 and against Lithuania on June 8.
The Spanish players will report to training on May 31.
Goalkeepers: Unai Simón (Athletic Bilbao), David De Gea (Manchester United), Robert Sánchez (Brigthon)
Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), José Gaya (Valencia), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Eric García (Manchester City), Diego Llorente (Leeds United), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Llorente (Atlético Madrid)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri Hernández (Manchester City), Pedri González (Barcelona), Fabián Ruiz (Napoli), Thiago Alcántara (Bayern Munich), Koke Resurrección (Atlético Madrid)
Fowards: Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton), Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain)
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