Alvaro Arbeloa to end Spain career
Real Madrid right-back Alvaro Arbeloa has indicated that his international career is over after being left out of Spain's 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup.
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Euro 2012 winner Arbeloa, 31, was the one surprise absentee when La Roja coach Vicente Del Bosque revealed his selection on Wednesday, with his Madrid teammate Dani Carvajal, 22, receiving a first senior call-up instead.
The former Liverpool defender, who won 56 caps, said on Twitter that a positive stage of his career had drawn to an end but expressed his support for those travelling to Brazil.
"Many thanks to everyone for your messages of support," Arbeloa wrote. "A very nice stage is ending for me, and I just want to wish all the luck in the world to the national team and my teammates. Come back with another star on your chest!"
¡Muchas gracias a todos por los mensajes de apoyo! Se cierra una etapa muy bonita para mi y ya sólo me queda desear toda la suerte..- Álvaro Arbeloa (@aarbeloa17) May 13, 2014
..del mundo a la selección y a mis compañeros. ¡Volved con otra estrella en el pecho!- Álvaro Arbeloa (@aarbeloa17) May 13, 2014
Arbeloa's long-time teammate Xabi Alonso took to Twitter to say that the absence of his friend -- nicknamed "Trufas" ("Truffles") -- would be felt in Brazil.
"Truffles, we will miss you," Alonso wrote. "If we win another star, I will give one of your strange Spartan roars."
@aarbeloa17 Trufas, te echaremos de menos. Si ganamos otra estrella, hago un grito raro espartano de los tuyos.- Xabi Alonso (@XabiAlonso) May 13, 2014
There has been speculation that the decision to leave Arbeloa out may have been down to personality clashes. There has long been talk that he has a poor relationship with Iker Casillas, and Del Bosque has also previously taken issue with the right-back's treatment of new Spain striker Diego Costa during a Madrid derby.
However, Spain assistant coach Toni Grande, speaking at a book launch on Wednesday, denied that any such issues had been taken into account when selecting the squad.
"Arbeloa has given a lot to the national team. It is painful that he is left out," Grande said in comments reported by Marca. "The injury he had and that period of inactivity hurt his chances, that is clear. It has been the injury. There is no need for other reasons."
Seven players are now to be cut from the preliminary list on May 25, the day after the Champions League final. Long-serving internationals such as David Villa, Fernando Torres, Santi Cazorla, Alvaro Negredo and Juan Mata are among those who could miss out.
"There are seven extra players, some forwards will be left out, logically," Grande said. "We have a fortnight, more or less, to decide the seven players who will not go. There are important games, so the list could change. Plus, an injury now is important because we do not have much time for recovery."