SAN FRANCISCO -- Spanish league champion Atletico Madrid has left three stars off its depleted roster for a game Sunday against the Earthquakes in the final sporting event at Candlestick Park.
Manager Diego Simeone did not include Diego Godin, Tiago Mendes and Croatian newcomer Mario Mandzukic on the 22-man roster that was announced Thursday. Mandzukic, who scored 18 goals for Bayern Munich last season, just arrived at camp Thursday.
Only five players who appeared in the UEFA Champions League final in May are coming for games against the Quakes and Club America on Wednesday in Mexico City.
But the roster is filled with more than enough talent to challenge the Earthquakes and America in a tour sponsored by the Spanish government to promote the country. Simeone is bringing 16 first-team players and six homegrown players. Because Atletico is straddled with millions of dollars of debt, the team had to jettison its biggest names from last season.
Chelsea of the English Premier League benefited the most by acquiring Spanish striker Diego Costa and Brazilian defender Filipe Luis. The London club also recalled Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was on loan in Madrid.
Atletico also lost Spanish striker David Villa to New York City FC, a 2015 Major League Soccer expansion team owned by EPL's Manchester City.
Atletico winger Adrian Lopez moved to Portugal's Porto, too, but the team reportedly is trying to sign Manchester United striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Arsenal's Santi Cazorla.
Three other offseason acquisitions are on the traveling roster: goalkeepers Miguel Angel Moya and Jan Oblak and Brazilian defender Guilherme Siqueira.
The team also includes stalwart defenders Javier Manquillo, Juanfran Torres and Miranda, and midfielders Mario Suarez, Koke and Raúl García. The strikers are promising youngsters: Brazilian Leo Baptistao, 21, and Hector Hernandez, 18.
They have a big void to fill as Costa and Villa scored a combined 52 of Atlei's 116 goals goals last year.
Atletico Madrid and the rest of La Liga clubs are used to major roster changes when doing well. Atletico has lost star strikers Fernando Torres of Spain, Diego Forlan of Uruguay, Sergio Aguero of Argentina and Radamel Falcao of Colombia in previous years.
For ticket information: www.sjearthquakes.com.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.