Madrid - Chelsea striker Fernando Torres was
dropped from the Spain squad for the world champions' friendly
international against Venezuela by coach Vicente Del Bosque on Friday.
Spain, who will defend their European crown later this year, face the
vastly-improved South Americans in Malaga next Wednesday and while Del
Bosque stressed there could still be changes to the squad before this
summer's European Championship in Ukraine and Poland, Torres looks a
long way from making his squad of 23.
Del Bosque said he wanted
to reward players who had been performing well. Torres has been doing
anything but that for more than a year.
"He is a lad we
appreciate a great deal and it pains me to leave him out but I wanted to
be fair," Del Bosque told a news conference.
Torres has endured
a woeful time since he joined Chelsea from Liverpool for a British
record fee of 50 million pounds ($78.51 million) just over a year ago.
He scored one goal for Chelsea in 18 appearances last season and this season he has been just as unimpressive.
In 29 appearances he has scored four times and has not found the net
since October 19 when he scored twice against Genk of Belgium in a Champions
He scored his last Premier League goal five
months ago in a 4-1 win over Swansea on September 24 - and was then sent off
Torres is unrecognisable from the player that was
beloved for his scoring exploits at Liverpool and before that at
His winning goal for Spain in the Euro 2008 final against Germany in Vienna seems like it was scored by a different player.
He last scored for Spain in a European Championship qualifier against
Liechtenstein in a 4-0 win in September 2010 when he scored twice but has
not found the net for his country in three appearances since then. ($1 =
0.6369 British pounds)