Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has overlooked in-form Swansea City striker Michu for next week's international friendly with Uruguay in Qatar. Chelsea striker Fernando Torres was also left out of the Spain squad for the friendly with Panama at the end of last year but Michu had been tipped for a possible call-up after netting 16 goals in all competitions for the Swans this season.
Del Bosque admitted it was a tough decision not to give the uncapped 26-year-old a place in his 21-man squad. He said: "It's left a little bit of a bad taste in the mouth not to call up someone who deserves it. But those who have been named also deserve it.
"We recognise his worth and his goals in the Premier League, but we couldn't find a space for him at the moment. The same thing happened with Iago Aspas. I'm honest and don't hide anything. In the position which Michu plays there is great competition with five or six players."
Del Bosque's main striking options for the Uruguay match are Alvaro Negredo and Spain's record goalscorer David Villa, who has been named in the squad despite not being a regular in the Barcelona line-up since returning from his serious leg injury.
Regarding Torres, Del Bosque said: "Torres is one of our most experienced players at international level, but neither could we find a space for him now. Villa's case is not comparable with anybody.
"I'm not worried that Villa is only playing a little. Every time he's gone out he's done well. There's a lot of competition in his team. His case is unique; he had a very serious injury, but he's played a very important part in our recent successes."
Torres' Chelsea team-mate Cesar Azpilicueta has been included in the squad and the full-back could be in line to make his first Spain appearance against Uruguay. It is a similar story for uncapped midfielder Isco, was has been called up on the back of some impressive performances for Malaga.
Carles Puyol, who has not played for his country since last February due to injury, is also in the travelling party and would make his 100th appearance for the FIFA World Cup™ and European champions if he takes the field in Doha.
Captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas misses the match due to a broken hand, while recent call-ups Jesus Navas, Roberto Soldado, Raul Albiol, Benat Etxebarria, Martin Montoya, Markel Susaeta and Javi Martinez have all been omitted. Del Bosque said: "I know it's a friendly game and that we could have experimented more but we need to use this match as a preparation game, because in March we face two very difficult games.
"We have to treat it with the utmost seriousness, because we are also facing an opponent in Uruguay who are the South American champions, who reached the World Cup semi-finals and are fighting to qualify for Brazil 2014."
Spain are currently top of their 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifying group but only on goal difference from France, who they face away in March along with bottom-placed Finland.
Spain squad to play Uruguay:
Goalkeepers: Valdes (Barcelona), Reina (Liverpool);
Defenders: Ramos (Real Madrid), Pique (Barcelona), Puyol (Barcelona), Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Alba (Barcelona), Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Monreal (Arsenal);
Midfielders: Iniesta (Barcelona ), Fabregas (Barcelona), Busquets (Barcelona), Cazorla (Arsenal), Xavi (Barcelona), Isco (Malaga), Alonso (Real Madrid), Silva (Man City), Mata (Chelsea);
Forwards: Pedro (Barcelona) Negredo (Sevilla), Villa (Barcelona).