Del Bosque calls up Monreal for Italy friendly

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called up Malaga defender Ignacio Monreal to replace the injured Sergio Ramos for his squad to face Italy in a friendly on Wednesday. Monreal, who has four caps, will join the squad today, Malaga announced on its website.

"I'm very happy," the 25-year-old said. "It's a call-up that I didn't expect. I'm going because of an injury to a colleague, and I hope that he recovers as soon as possible."

Ramos returned from a trip to China with the Real Madrid squad with a reoccurrence of back pain he first experienced during the club's US tour, Real said. Spanish press reports said the FIFA World Cup™ star could also miss the first leg of the Spanish SuperCup against Barcelona in Madrid on Sunday.

The FIFA World Cup and European champions are already without several regulars for the encounter in Bari, including Barcelona captain Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevila, Cesc Fabregas and Carlos Marchena. It was also announced that a leg injury will force Xavi to also miss the friendly.

Del Bosque could hand Thiago Alcantara a first full cap after including the Barcelona midfielder for the first time. Thiago, who was born in Italy and is the son of former Brazil World Cup winner Mazinho, was part of the Spain under-21 side that won the European championship in June and recently extended his contract with Barcelona by two years to 2015.