Manchester United star gets nod over Manchester City rival

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Football News

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has been included in Spain's final 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil, which also sees Manchester City winger Jesus Navas dropped.

There were doubts over whether Mata would get the nod from manager Vicente del Bosque after a disappointing season that saw him used sparingly at Chelsea up until a £37million January transfer window switch to Old Trafford. After being dispensed with by Jose Mourinho he was unable to halt Manchester United's slide to a seventh place finish in the Premier League.

Manchester City may have prevailed at the end of the season to lift the title, but that was not enough for Del Bosque to include two of their most prominent Spanish stars in the final selection. Both Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo have been dropped, with Mata and Fernando Torres preferred in their respective positions.

Spain had a decision to make over Navas because he was struggling with injury and there was a doubt over whether he would be fit in time for the start of the competition. It looks as though they did not want to take any risks with the Etihad Stadium winger, which made space for his Manchester rival.

Negredo started his debut season in England on fire but he faded in the second half of the campaign and it seems as though this has cost him - though the sight of Fernando Torres in the squad may not be too comforting. The Manchester City striker found the net nine times in 32 Premier League appearances, while his compatriot at Chelsea could only score five in 28 games.

Diego Costa is a fitness concern as he would be the first choice up front, but the doubts were evidently not enough for Del Bosque to leave him out in favour of Negredo or Juventus striker Fernando Llorente, both of whom were in previous squads. The Atletico Madrid man was born and raised in Brazil, but qualified for a Spanish passport while in the country and last year chose to represent the World Champions.

Full Spain squad (see image here):

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli/Liverpool), David De Gea (Manchester United)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid)

Midfielders: Koke (Atletico Madrid), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Pedro (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Juan Mata (Manchester United)

Forwards: Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), David Villa (Atletico Madrid)

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