Xavi Hernandez is a doubt for Barcelona’s La Liga clash with Granada on Saturday, after tests on Tuesday revealed a hamstring strain.
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Xavi did not travel with Spain for this week’s international friendlies in Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, although he said himself this was just a matter of needing a rest rather than a serious fitness issue.
However the Catalan midfielder now appears to have picked up a muscle problem while training with his club this week, according to a club statement released on Tuesday.
“The club’s medical services have stated that this Tuesday it has been confirmed that Xavi Hernandez has a hamstring strain in his left leg,” the statement said. “The player will keep doing specific recovery work, and the evolution of this will determine his availability for the next game.
“Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas has returned to training at the same pace as his teammates, while Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique are continuing to work to the side.”
Pique also missed the international trip as a precaution as he continues to deal with the groin issues that have hampered him recently, while Fabregas pulled out of the Spain games with a knee problem picked up in Barcelona’s last outing before the international break -- the 4-1 win at Real Betis.
Alba, who is pencilled in to return in early December, spoke on Monday evening about his frustration at having had the first four months of the season ruined by two separate injuries.
“I have gone through a bad time -- a really bad time,” he said. “I have never been injured before and then I pick up one that rules me out for three weeks and now this one for six. Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am feeling better every day and I am eager to train and start playing with the rest of the team.”
Blaugrana talisman Lionel Messi -- who is also struggling with injuries this season, and will not play again until January -- should be left to get back to full fitness in peace, Alba added.
“We should leave him be -- he will come back when he's ready,” the left-back said. “He is the best player in the world by a long way and everyone knows that.”