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Barca's Thiago Wins Spain Call-Up

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called up Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara into his 22-man squad for next Wednesday’s friendly against Italy in Bari. Thiago has been impressing fans on two continents with his play this summer and he has some Barcelona fans asking Cesc Who?

Thiago helped Spain’s Under-21 team win the European championship last month, and has been eligible to play for Brazil, with his father Mazinho being a member of the 1994 World Cup winning team.

“He (Thiago) is included for sporting reasons,” Del Bosque told reporters in Madrid on Friday. “He is a player who has been raised in Spain and who could choose to play for Brazil. But he has roots in Spanish football and this is just the next step.”

Carles Puyol is injured while Joan Capdevila and Cesc Fabregas miss out for lack of match fitness with their clubs.

Spain Squad
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool).
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Andoni Iraola (Athletic Bilbao).

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Malaga), Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao).

Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City), David Villa (Barcelona), Pedro (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Juan Mata (Valencia).