Valencia striker Rodrigo into Spain squad

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-29 20:03:12|Editor: Liangyu
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MADRID, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Spain coach Julen Lopetegui on Friday named Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno in his 25-man squad for the final World Cup qualifying games against Albania and Israel.

Rodrigo is rewarded for a good start to the season under coach Marcelino Garcia at Valencia and has a chance to add to the single cap he won for his country in 2014, but there is no place for veteran striker David Villa, who was a surprise inclusion in Lopetegui's last squad.

Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illaramendi is also included in the squad along with Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspes, while Lopetegui also keeps faith with FC Barcelona' s Gerard Pique, despite a campaign against him on twitter for voicing his support for the October 1st independence referendum in Catalonia, which has been classified as illegal.

Lopetegui defended the decision, saying that "Pique gives everything in every game" he played for his country.

Spain are clear favorites to qualify from their group and a win against Albania in Alicante on Oct. 6 would assure their place in Russia next summer.

Following is the squad:

Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga, David De Gea, Pepe Reina.

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Dani Carvajal, Nacho Fernandez, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Marc Bartra, Nacho Monreal, Jordi Alba.

Midfielders: Saul Niguez, Sergio Busquets, Asier Illaramendi, Koke, Andres Iniesta, Thiago Alcantara, Isco, Marco Asensio.

Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez, Javier Callejon, David Silva, Alvaro Morata, Iago Aspas, Rodrigo Moreno.