Moreno says Fati was in 'preliminary Spain squad' before injury

Spain coach Robert Moreno said that Barcelona starlet Ansu Fati was in contention for an international call-up before suffering a knee injury, after naming his squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers on Friday.

The 16-year-old Fati, born in Guinea-Bissau, was granted Spanish citizenship last month after scoring two La Liga goals for Barca.

"He was in the 'preliminary squad'," said Moreno, ahead of Spain's games against Norway and Sweden.

"Everything that he's doing is exceptional... He was injured, which is the most important reason (why he was not selected)."

Moreno did hand call-ups to the uncapped trio of Pau Torres, Gerard Moreno and Sergio Reguilon.

Former Real Madrid and Napoli defender Raul Albiol was also selected for the first time since October 2018 after joining Villarreal in the close season.

His new club teammates Torres and Gerard Moreno have both impressed early this term.

Striker Moreno has scored a division-leading six goals in seven La Liga appearances, while centre-back Torres has played every minute in the league so far this campaign after impressing last term on loan at Malaga.

"He did very well at Malaga," said Moreno, who took over from Luis Enrique after the former Barca coach stepped down as Spain boss before his nine-year-old daughter died of cancer.

"He has qualities that we like, he's a typical centre-half. It seems like he has a great future and that's why he's here."

Left-back Reguilon has found form on loan at Sevilla -- who have made a strong start to the season under former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui -- from Real Madrid.

Spain, who top Euro qualifying Group F by seven points after six straight wins, take on Norway in Oslo on October 12 before facing second-placed Sweden at Solna's Friends Arena three days later.

The three-time European champions would seal qualification for next year's finals with two victories.

- Record-breaking Ramos -

Captain Sergio Ramos is set to break Spain's appearances record after drawing level on 167 caps with Iker Casillas in September.

"He has a very high level, but even so, he has to keep improving because the moment you stop and think you're doing everything right, you slip down, and that spirit (of striving to be the best), I see in him," said Moreno of Ramos.

Santi Cazorla also returns to the squad after his excellent start to the season with Villarreal, having played his first international game since 2015 in June.

The 34-year-old former Arsenal star was sidelined for 21 months with an Achilles tendon injury before signing for a third spell with Villarreal in August 2018.

Spain squad

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United/ENG), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea/ENG), Pau Lopez (Roma/ITA)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jesus Navas, Sergio Reguilon (Sevilla), Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad), Raul Albiol, Pau Torres (Villarreal), Juan Bernat (Paris Saint-Germain/FRAN), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City/ENG), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Fabian Ruiz (Napoli/ITA), Dani Ceballos (Arsenal/ENG), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich/GER), Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Luis Alberto (Lazio/ITA), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal)

Forwards: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)

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