Madrid - Stand-in Spain captain Sergio Ramos has expressed
his surprise as Iker Casillas's exclusion from Julien Lopetegui's first squad
as Spain boss.
Ramos is expected to lead the 2010 world champions in their
first 2018 World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein on September 5 after the
35-year-old Casillas was dropped in favour of David de Gea, Pepe Reina and West
"It surprises everyone when such an emblematic and
historic player for world and Spanish football (is left out)," said Ramos
as the Spanish squad met in Madrid on Monday ahead of Thursday's friendly away
"It is always an important absence, more so because he
is our first captain."
Casillas earned status as a national hero as Spain won three
back-to-back major tournaments at Euro 2008 and 2012 either side of their World
Cup triumph in South Africa.
Also read: Spain's Euro hopes pinned on silent saviour Iniesta
However, as his form faded he left Real Madrid after nearly
two decades with the Spanish giants to join Porto in July 2015, then managed by
Casillas was benched by Vicente del Bosque for Spain's four
matches at Euro 2016 with De Gea in goal as the holders bowed out with a
disappointing 2-0 defeat to Italy in the last 16.
"Obviously it is strange that there is a squad and you
don't see Iker Casillas, but everything is respected," added Ramos.
"A new era is starting with a radical change and in
that sense there is great desire to return to doing things well."
Lopetegui has selected 11 players that missed out on the
Euros just two months ago with Cesc Fabregas another veteran overlooked.
A series of promising young players such as Barcelona's
Sergi Roberto, Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio and Saul Niguez of Atletico
Madrid could be handed their competitive international debuts against
Liechtenstein in Leon.For
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