Spain and Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was reportedly astonished after he received a message from the Spanish FA congratulating him on his retirement from international duty despite not having retired from the national team.
De Gea was left out of La Roja’s 26-man World Cup squad by boss Luis Enrique, with Unai Simon, Robert Sanchez and David Raya taken instead.
The 32-year-old Spain international has made 45 appearances for his country over six years. But he has been left in the periphery by Enrique. Things took a new twist in his national team career when he received a message of congratulations from Luis Rubiales, the head of the Spanish FA, over text.
According to Spanish journalist Jose Alvarez, the goalkeeper was congratulated by the FA chief, who mistakingly assumed he had hung up his gloves at the National team following the snub by Enrique.
Speaking to Spanish outlet El Chiringuito via Sportsmail, Alvarez said: “De Gea has been a bit of a strange subject.
“Suddenly, he disappeared from the call-ups a few months ago, and Luis Enrique did call David to tell him he was not going to count on him. He told him that it was a technical decision. Obviously, David asked him what the reason was, but he was not given any further explanation.
“A few days later, David receives a message from (Luis) Rubiales, president of the Federation, who says “, David, I am glad that you have finally made the decision you have been thinking about. I have already been told that you are leaving the national team”.
“To this, David replies, “Sorry? There is no renunciation of anything; who has told you that I renounce anything? The coach has told me that he is not going to count on me, but I have never renounced the national team, nor do I intend to do so, that is if I am called up”.
“He was a bit surprised by the communication between Luis Enrique and Rubiales and the message that arrived from Rubiales afterwards.
“The last year and a half, De Gea has been very good, being a protagonist for Manchester United in almost every game, and he was seen as being a part of the three in the national team.
“I do not say he should be a starter, but he believed he could contribute apart from experience. He was a bit surprised that Rubiales sent him the message saying that he was going to resign from the national team or that he had made the decision after thinking about it; never mind, congratulations for taking the decision.”
De Gea was a vital member of the Spain national team under previous managers. But he has since slipped out of favour under Enrique, with his last appearance for his country coming in October 2020 against Ukraine.
This month’s World Cup is the first tournament the goalie will miss out on since making his senior Spain debut in 2014 under World Cup-winning manager Vicente del Bosque, having been the No one at the previous World Cups and Euro tournaments.