No complaints in Spain over Fernando Torres' international absence

Thanks to the magic of television and the odd newspaper report, it has come to the attention of most Spain fans that Fernando Torres hasn’t exactly been the most prolific of forwards of late.

Indeed, most Chelsea games are broadcast live on Spanish television, so they can see for themselves what a rotten time of it the former Atlético Madrid man is having in England. So rotten, in fact, that a return to the ups, downs and yet more downs of the Vicente Calderón on a salary of tuppence a week would currently be preferable to life at Stamford Bridge.

When Vicente del Bosque announced on Friday that Torres, the player who scored the winning goal in the Euro 2008 final - a strike that launched Spain into its golden age let’s not forget - it was no great surprise. Indeed, anything else might have been seen in Spain as madness, with the campaign to have Valencia’s Roberto Soldado back in the squad after a five year absence steadily building momentum. “I hope I don’t have to wait another five years for a call-up,” joked the chirpy forward, who has racked up 20 goals in all competitions this season.

Despite being a manager who tries to stick to his tried-and-trusted players whenever possible, Vicente Del Bosque admitted that he had no choice but to leave El Niño at home for Wednesday’s friendly in Málaga against Venezuela, a stance that he’s maintained despite Sevilla striker, Alvaro Negredo, pulling out of the squad with a muscle tear.

“It hurts to leave Fernando out, but I can't be unfair and block those who are are pushing through,” explained the Spain coach. Del Bosque received support from his predecessor, Luis Aragonés, who said that “it’s normal that a footballer who doesn’t play and isn’t it form doesn’t get picked.”

If anyone was still in doubt that it wasn’t the right move to make and felt sorry for the Chelsea man, AS helpfully named 18 Spaniards playing top flight football who had scored more goals than Fernando Torres this season before the weekend’s action - a list included Real Madrid fringe player José Callejón, and Sporting’s David Barral.

The absence of David Villa through injury, along with Torres and Negredo, leaves Soldado and Fernando Llorente as the only ‘proper’ strikers in Spain’s squad for the friendly, a situation that might see Del Bosque playing the ‘false nine’ system used to great effect in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Scotland, with David Silva taking up the forward role. However, Llorente has been in such stupendous form of late that the Athletic Bilbao striker might well be given a chance to lead the line in la Rosaleda.

But Torres and the options for the front three weren’t the only topic of conversation at Del Bosque’s pre-match press conference on Tuesday. The other was the complete codpiece of a calamity the Spanish FA have made of setting the date the of Copa del Rey final.

If Barcelona reach the final of the Champions League, then the match is likely to be played on May 25th, a day before a Spain warm-up game when ideally Del Bosque would prefer it if his Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao squad members were focussed on Euro 2012 and not booting lumps out of each other.

“Of course, we’d like more time, but it’s impossible,” said the Spain coach. With Fernando Torres set for a fairly quiet end to the season, perhaps there’s a chance for the misfiring forward to make it to the European Championships after all?

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