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Kit controversy blights build-up to Spain friendly in Malaga

The new kit, with the blue trim
The new kit, with the blue trim / Adidas
  • Spain face Costa Rica in a friendly at La Rosaleda tomorrow, a game which will be a homecoming for two 'Malagueños'

The Spanish national team returns to play at La Rosaleda for the first time in more than five years this weekend, but much of the build-up has surrounded the new kit the side will be wearing, rather than the players wearing it.

The new strip, designed by Adidas, is supposed to mimic the kit worn by the national side at the 1994 World Cup. However, given the delicate political situation in the country at present, it has caused controversy. The culprit has been the blue trim; some have said that it looks purple and therefore resembles the republican flag which is still used by anti-monarchists today. As a result, the official unveiling of the strip has been postponed.

This has all distracted from the main event, for which head coach Julen Lopetegui sprung a few surprises in his squad. Liverpool's Alberto Moreno received a call-up in place of Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta, while Luis Alberto and Suso (both formerly of the Reds) see their revivals in Italy rewarded.

A special homecoming

The match at La Rosoleda will be a special homecoming for two men, Isco and Óscar Caro. Isco's story is a familiar one - he was the wonder kid in Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga side that reached the quarter finals in the Champions League in 2013, before moving on to stardom with Real Madrid.

Caro, however, is also making an emotional return to his city, his stadium. His rise has also been phenomenal. This coach represented several teams before coming in to work with Malaga's reserves. However, since then, he received the call from Lopetegui to work with La Roja and is now the head fitness coach at just 32 years of age.

Anticipation

There were queues around the block at La Rosaleda, unpurturbed by the rain during the week, as fans rushed to snap up remaining tickets. It was confirmed on Thursday that Saturday's match is a sell-out.

The Costa Rica squad, which has been in the city since Monday, has been spotted around the city, with players posing for photos with fans.

However, the main excitement surrounded Plaza de la Constitución and the fan zone created there. Large queues formed through the city on Thursday in preparation for its opening and the opportunity to get tickets for the game and the training session.

The fan zone, at which Spain's trophies can be seen, can be visited until Saturday, 7pm.