Juan Mata and Fernando Torres Dropped from Latest Spain Squad

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2014

CURITIBA, BRAZIL - JUNE 23: Juan Mata of Spain (L) celebrates scoring his team's third goal with Fernando Torres during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Australia and Spain at Arena da Baixada on June 23, 2014 in Curitiba, Brazil.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Juan Mata and Fernando Torres are the latest victims of the backlash to Spain's dreadful group-stage exit at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The pair have been dropped from the latest national squad, for a friendly against France and a Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia, as manager Vicente del Bosque freshens up his ranks:

The news will be a painful blow for both players. However, it's hardly a surprising development when considering the disappointing recent turns both of their careers have taken.

Since moving away from clubs where they were thriving, each player has floundered. Torres left Liverpool for Chelsea in 2011, after being the focal point of several squads at the Anfield club.

The move came at a cost of £50 million, but Torres' form has plummeted ever since. He's now nothing more than a benchwarmer with Jose Mourinho back running things at Stamford Bridge. New Chelsea recruit Diego Costa has usurped Torres at both club and international level.

While Torres saw his on-pitch fortunes take a turn for the worse once he moved to Chelsea, Mata's career arc has dipped the other way. The ultra-talented playmaker was shipped out by Mourinho back in January, signing for Manchester United.

Like many of the United squad, Mata chaffed under the unsuccessful guidance of David Moyes. But even the arrival of celebrated Dutch strategist Louis van Gaal has done little to get Mata back to his best. Now Mata has found himself pushed aside for fellow Premier League pass masters David Silva and Santi Cazorla.

It's interesting to consider some of the players included in Del Bosque's squad, potentially those brought in at the expense of Mata and Torres:

The squad's official Twitter feed shows some intriguing selections. Chief among them is Atletico Madrid forward Raul Garcia.

An extremely versatile attacker, Garcia can play up front, on the wing or behind a striker. He offers tactical flexibility to a manager who could be keen to shake up what had become a predictable way of playing.

Raul Garcia has more than earned his call-up.
Raul Garcia has more than earned his call-up.Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Another interesting selection is the inclusion of Ander Iturraspe. The Athletic Bilbao defensive midfielder is smart, resourceful and technically assured in front of a defence.

Del Bosque knows his back four needs more protection after being ripped apart by both the Netherlands and Chile at the World Cup.

Del Bosque has also included Isco, a player who was used only sparingly by Real Madrid last season. The pint-sized attacking midfielder offers creativity and a goal threat, the very things Mata will believe he brings to the side.

It's clear Del Bosque is determined to mold a new-look national side. The time is certainly right for such a change.

It has to mean there's no room for Torres, who has certainly seen his best days at international level. However, 26-year-old Mata still has a lot to offer and must take this snub as a signal to quickly to revitalise his form.