Chelsea striker Fernando Torres axed from Spain squad

Vicente Del Bosque: ‘[Fernando Torres] is a player we appreciate a great deal and it pains me to leave him out’

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Fernando Torres has been dropped from the Spain squad for next week’s friendly against Venezuela.

The Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010-winning striker has been struggling for form at Chelsea, netting just four times in all competitions this season.

With Barcelona forward David Villa still absent with a broken leg, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has opted to include Valencia hitman Roberto Soldado and highly-rated Athletic Bilbao youngster Iker Muniain in his 24-man squad for Wednesday’s match in Malaga.

Del Bosque stressed there could still be changes to the squad before this summer’s European Championship in Ukraine and Poland but said he wanted to reward players who had been performing well.

“He [Torres] is a player we appreciate a great deal and it pains me to leave him out but I wanted to be fair,” Del Bosque said.

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