Man Utd keeper David de Gea involved in awkward text exchange

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Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was left bemused by a strange text message he received from the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation after being overlooked for a place in his country’s World Cup squad earlier this month. De Gea was omitted from the final 26-man group to travel to Qatar by Luis Enrique after struggling to impress on a consistent basis at Old Trafford over the last few months.

Enrique chose to name David Raya, Robert Sanchez and Unai Simon as his three goalkeeping options for the tournament, meaning that De Gea will be forced to watch the action from home after missing out on what could have been his last World Cup at 32 years of age. He was left confused and frustrated in equal measure shortly after the Spain squad was announced last week, with the United stopper receiving a bizarre message from Spanish football president Luis Rubiales in the aftermath of his omission.

Rubiales got in touch with De Gea to congratulate him on his international retirement despite no such decision having been made by the player himself, according to Spanish reporter Jose Alvarez, who told El Chiringuito: “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 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’.

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“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. 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 has been a regular member of the Spain squad since making his international debut back in 2014, racking up a total of 45 caps for the one-time World Cup winners over the course of his professional career. He has fallen out of favour since Enrique took control in 2019, though, and it remains to be seen whether there will be a way back for him as long as the former Barcelona manager remains in charge.

It seems as though Simon will be Spain’s first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar this winter after taking the No 1 shirt at Euro 2020 last summer and impressing at club level with Athletic Bilbao in recent years. He will be supported between the sticks at the World Cup by Premier League duo Sanchez and Raya, who have turned plenty of heads with their performances at Brighton and Brentford respectively since the start of last season.

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