(Reuters) - Spain’s all-time top scorer David Villa has come out of international retirement after being named in the squad for World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein, national team coach Julen Lopetegui said on Friday.
New York City FC striker Villa, who hit a record 59 goals with Spain, announced his retirement from the national team after the 2014 World Cup, having scored in his final game against Australia as the then world champions were knocked out in the group stages in Brazil.
He joined the newly formed MLS outfit New York City in their inaugural season in 2015 and has scored 19 goals in 23 starts this season.
Villa takes the place of Diego Costa, who has not linked up with Chelsea for the new season due to a dispute with coach Antonio Conte, while AC Milan midfielder Suso has earned a first call up.
Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso was left out of the squad despite Lopetegui going to watch him in action against Tottenham Hotspur last week.
“We believe that calling up Villa is necessary and appropriate,” Lopetegui told a news conference. “He’ll give us extra mobility up front and above all he’ll contribute his enthusiasm. We hope and believe he will help us.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by David Holmes