Alonso out of Spain friendly against Uruguay in Doha

February 04, 2013 - 1:08:28 am

Nasser Al Khater (left), Communications and Marketing Director of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee speaking during a press conference yesterday. Also seen are Khalid Al Kuwari (centre), Marketing Director of Qatar Football Association (QFA) and Saleh Al Mana, Vice-President and Director of Public and Government Affairs at ExxonMobil.

DOHA:  Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has pulled out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad to play Uruguay next week in Doha because of a groin injury, the Spanish football federation (RFEF) said yesterday.

He will be replaced by Atletico Madrid’s defensive midfielder Mario Suarez, a 25-year-old former youth international who earns his first call up.

“Alonso finished (Saturday’s) Granada-Real Madrid game with a problem,” the RFEF statement said. 

“This morning, the player has been in contact with the federation medical services by telephone and he has described his physical condition and how it has evolved from last night.

“Alonso will be checked over by the national team’s medical services as is always the case after a player is ruled out after being called up.” 

The world and European champions play Uruguay in a friendly in Doha on February 6.

Meanwhile match organisers said yesterday that around 3,500 tickets are still remaining for the high-profile international friendly.

The match to be held at Khalifa International Stadium has already seen between 85 and 90 per cent of the tickets sold. 

Nasser Al Khater, Communications and Marketing Director of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said at a press conference: “The tickets for the match have been on sale now for three or four weeks. We have been doing very well with the ticket sales. Between 85 and 90 per cent of the tickets have been sold, and roughly 3,500 tickets still remaining.”

Al Khater urged the public not to wait until the last minute to purchase tickets. 

He said: “We urge people not the buy their ticket last minute as they may be waiting for a long time at the ticket box offices.” Al Khater added that there have been a ‘significant’ number of ticket sales from the Gulf countries including Qatar, as well as Europe and the United States of America.

Tickets for the match that begins at 9.00pm, can be purchased from City Center, Landmark and Lagoona Mall.

Khalid Al Kuwari, Marketing Director of Qatar Football Association (QFA) said some of the biggest names in world football will be showcasing their skills on Wednesday.

Al Kuwari said: “Spain will be coming here with their full squad. All their big stars will be here except (Iker) Casillas, who has been injured. Other than that, all the other teams have their big stars with (Andreas) Iniesta, (Carlos) Puyol, (Diego) Forlan and (Luis) Suraez will all be here.”

He added: “This match will have a special flavor as there will the Confederations Cup in Brazil in July, where both these teams will also meet.”

Eleven kids from local schools, aged between eight and nine, who won a competition, organised by the QFA and Qatar 2022, will be leading a team of players onto the pitch before kick-off. Eleven kids have also been chosen from Aspire Academy to escort a team onto the pitch at the 43,000 capacity stadium.

Before the match begins, spectators will be able to enjoy the Spanish and Uruguayan cultures by visiting the Fan Zone that will be set up near the stadium from 4.00pm.

Al Kuwari also thanked ExxonMobil, who is the official sponsor for the match. 

He said: “I would like to thanks ExonMobil for supporting this match. ExonMobil has been involved in supporting many sporting activities and would like to thank for their continous support.”

Reuters/The Peninsula