Xavi fit to face Bayern Munich
Barcelona playmaker Xavi Hernandez says his recent injury woes are behind him, and he is now back at 100% ahead of the upcoming Champions League semi-finals.
Xavi has been troubled by a long-running hamstring problem in recent months. He forced the issue to play in both the second leg of the Champions League last-16 clash with AC Milan and Spain's 1-0 World Cup 2014 qualifier against France in Paris, and then missed subsequent games after aggravating the injury.
He told Mundo Deportivo that the such issues had now passed and he was back taking a full part in training with his team-mates in preparation for next Tuesday's semi-first leg at Bayern Munich.
"The injury is already forgotten," Xavi said. "I had two or three setbacks in those months. I had to play with some problems, moments where things were forced too much, but I am good now. I am training with the group at 100%. I feel perfectly well now."
The tie against Bayern is finely balanced given how well the newly crowned Bundesliga champions are playing at the moment, Xavi said.
"It is true that Bayern are arriving in stratospheric form. They are already league champions and in an extraordinary moment," he said. "But we are two great teams. In the Champions League, games are decided by little details."
Madrid are favourites to get past Borussia Dortmund in the other semi, and Xavi said the prospect of a Clasico final at Wembley on May 25 did not scare him in the slightest.
"I do not understand why many barcelonistas do not want a Barca-Madrid final," he said. "You must be optimistic. This is football and you must enjoy it. We can get to the final and win it. We must be convinced of that."
The only cloud on the blaugrana horizon is the looming exit of goalkeeper Victor Valdes, whom the midfielder suggested had decided to leave due to unfair media criticism received over the years.
"Knowing Victor, who is an extraordinary guy, it leaves a bad taste that he is leaving," Xavi said. "A friend is going, a key member of this house. He has maybe had the worst media treatment I have seen in my career. He has always overcome the criticism himself. The more pressure is put on him, the more criticism he faces, the better he plays."