A bizarre story surrounding Manchester United and Spain star David de Gea has come to the fore late on Thursday evening.
The name of shot-stopper De Gea, of course, took its place front and centre in the headlines late last month.
Unfortunately for the 32-year-old, though, this came for all the wrong reasons.
Upon Spain’s provisional 55-man squad for the Qatar World Cup being unveiled, De Gea - despite having enjoyed a solid campaign to date - was nowhere to be seen.
Luis Enrique, for his part, has made clear in the past his preference for goalkeepers boasting strong technical abilities, with Manchester United’s no.1, in turn, overlooked for the trio of Unai Simon, David Raya and Robert Sanchez.
De Gea, it is understood, was hit hard by the news of his latest international snub.
But it nevertheless came as nothing short of a shock to the experienced shot-stopper upon a message of congratulations on his international retirement arriving by way of Luis Rubiales, head of the Spanish Football Association.
This came with De Gea having yet to actually hang up his gloves on the international front.
Speaking to Spanish outlet El Chiringuito on Thursday, journalist Jose Alvarez provided an insight into the bizarre situation:
‘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.’