MADRID: Spain’s all-time leading scorer David Villa was recalled to the squad by coach Vicente del Bosque on Friday for the start of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Villa, who has scored 51 goals in 82 games for Spain, broke his left leg while playing with Barcelona at the Club World Cup last December and missed eight months of action including the national team’s Euro 2012 triumph.
He scored in his first official game back for Barca when he came on as a substitute to net in a 5-1 La Liga hammering of Real Sociedad two weeks ago.
“I’m very happy to be back with the Spanish National Team!” Villa said on his Twitter account.
“I’m excited to be back with my colleagues again and to be able to enjoy this unique side!”
Speaking from Monaco where he is to attend the European Super Cup between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, Del Bosque told a news conference: “It is unusual that Villa is coming. He has hardly played but we thought it would give him a lift.
“All the information we have is that he is well. He is our leading goal scorer, and more than that, we felt it right he came whether he plays or not.”
Playmaker Xavi returns after having been rested from the friendly win in Puerto Rico earlier in the month, but there was no place for his Barca team mate Carles Puyol, who is recovering from a fractured cheekbone.
There were three other notable absentees, who had been in the Euro 2012 squad: Chelsea forward Juan Mata, Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente and his former club team mate and new Bayern Munich signing, Javi Martinez.
“The two have gone through an uncomfortable period,” Del Bosque said of Llorente and Martinez who have not played at Bilbao with the transfer rumours swirling around them.
Of Mata, who also featured in the Olympics, he added: “He is a lad who Chelsea thought has had very little rest and we thought it right to listen to their petition.”
The world and European champions play a friendly against Saudi Arabia in Pontevedra, north-west Spain, on Sept. 7 and four days later travel to Tbilisi, Georgia to play their opening group game on the road to Brazil.
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Ignacio Monreal (Malaga), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona).
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona) Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Benat Etxebarria (Real Betis), Xavi (Barcelona).
Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Pedro (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Roberto Soldado (Valencia), David Villa (Barcelona).