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Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Pedro Left Out Of Spain Squad To Face Ecuador

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Vicente del Bosque has surprisingly decided to rest Barcelona quartet, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Pedro Rodriguez for Spain's upcoming friendly against Ecuador, although there is space in his squad for five other Blaugrana stars

Laurence Griffiths

Somewhat surprisingly, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has opted to rest FC Barcelona quartet Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Pedro Rodriguez for Spain's upcoming friendly against Ecuador in Guayaquil. Admittedly, Pedro's absence may be down to the injury he sustained in Barcelona's 7-1 friendly win over Thailand on Wednesday, as the Blaugrana winger was forced off in the closing stages of the match with a contusion on his calf, but neither Xavi, Busquets or Pique are injured -- meaning that for the first-time in what seems like aeons, Barca are actually having some players rested by Spain!

Considering that Xavi has almost always been called up, even when injured, this is an unexpected move from Del Bosque, who is clearly taking this friendly as an opportunity to assess some of Spain's brightest talents. Four members of Spain's triumphant Under-21 squad have received a call-up, including Cristian Tello (who was recently cleared to make his return from injury) and former Barcelona midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, who of course left the club for Bayern Munich earlier this summer.

Victor Valdes, Jordi Alba, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta are the four remaining Blaugrana players in Del Bosque's star-studded squad, although Barca head coach Gerardo Martino is likely to be delighted with the news, especially given Barcelona's tough start to the season. Along with the two-legged Supercopa tie with Atletico Madrid, the Blaugrana also face early encounters with perennial European qualifiers Sevilla, and Valencia.

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