x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Del Bosque risks Barca wrath with Iniesta call

The Spain coach calls on Barcelona duo Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique for the Confederations Cup despite the club's concerns over their injuries.

Andres Iniesta had a relapse on his thigh injury during Bareclona's Champions League victory.
Andres Iniesta had a relapse on his thigh injury during Bareclona's Champions League victory.

The Spain coach Vicente del Bosque called up Barcelona duo Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique for the Confederations Cup yesterday despite the club's concerns over their injuries Iniesta had a relapse on a thigh injury during the Champions League final while Pique will be out for 10-15 days with a muscle tear, according to the treble winners.

"We listen to everyone: the players, the coaches and the clubs," Del Bosque said after naming his 23-man squad. "Our medical team is capable of assessing any danger for the player, who is our primary concern. "We'll take a view on Thursday when the squad joins up. I am confident they will all be ready for the tournament." The squad is almost the same as that which triumphed at Euro 2008. Barcelona's Sergio Busquets comes in as a holding midfielder to replace the injured Marcos Senna, and another youngster, Valencia's Juan Mata, was included. The European champions play their first match against New Zealand on June 14, and go on to face Iraq and then South Africa in Group A.

"These three games concern me," Del Bosque said. "Our job is to make sure the players are fully focused for these games. Afterwards, with semi-finals in front us, the players would not need motivating." France coach Raymond Domenech says Florent Malouda demanded a recall for tonight's friendly against Nigeria because of his excellent recent form for Chelsea - which saw him score three goals in their last four league games.

Malouda, 28, has made all 44 of his international appearances under Domenech, but the pair fell out after France's calamitous Euro 2008 campaign. Malouda was criticised by Domenech for his poor form at Euro 2008, and Malouda returned the favour by blasting Domenech's tactics. Malouda had even speculated that his international career could not continue but his resurgence under then Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink left Domenech with almost no choice but to recall him.

"You have to be consistent, and I am," Domenech said after selecting Malouda for the first time since October. "I always said that if the players weren't picked, it was because their form was not good enough. That was Flo's problem." "When players perform, they are called up. We've been watching him." * With agencies