Sports

Spain’s national team has once again left out the 15 rebel players for their last two warm-up games ahead of the Women’s World Cup this summer.

Spain take on Norway and China in April and coach Jorge Vilda on Friday continued to omit the players that declared themselves unavailable for selection in September alleging that the situation in the national team was having a negative impact on their “health” and “emotional state.”

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“I’m only going to talk about the players that can be called up not the ones that one day decided to self-exclude themselves from the national team,” Vilda said in Friday’s news conference.

Barcelona centre-back Irene Paredes returns to the squad after being left out since September after expressing support for the 15 rebel players.

“We all know Irene, she brings experience to the national team,” Vilda added. “She will add to the group, she is committed to the national team. We have called up Irene now because it is the right time.”

With less than four months to go before the World Cup, Vilda hinted that two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas may not be part of Spain’s squad for the tournament.

Putellas has been out of action since undergoing ACL surgery last summer but the Barcelona star is in the final stage of her recovery.

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“We are waiting for her to recover and from then on, we will talk,” Vilda said. “Football is present and future. She is in the last stage of recovery. We desire that she recovers. We are waiting for her to recover soon.”

Vilda named two uncapped players on the roster, with Valencia striker Asun Martinez and Barcelona defender Jana Fernandez both selected.

Fernandez, who played in Barcelona’s 5-1 win over Roma in the Champions League Women’s quarterfinal return leg on Wednesday, is one of four Barca players in the Spain squad.

Despite the ongoing issues with players, Vilda praised the mood within the dressing room and said Spain will have a competitive side.

“The atmosphere is extraordinary in the national team,” he said. “We are working on improving. There’s a competitive but healthy atmosphere. We are taking the right steps and we want to build the best team.”

Spain take on Norway on April 6 before facing China five days later, with both games played in Ibiza.

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