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By ESPN Staff

Zubizarreta slams Spain over Barcelona players

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has expressed his disappointment at Spain's decision to call up seven of the club's players for next Wednesday's friendly against Mexico.

Barca's World Cup winners are still on holiday following their triumph in South Africa last month and Zubizarreta says they will be short of fitness, particularly after such a long journey and in the heat and altitude of Mexico City.

''Anybody that knows a little about these things, knows they won't be able to play more than 15 minutes,'' the former Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper said. ''What worries me the most is that they won't have trained. It's a long trip, it's hot, there is humidity and it's at altitude.''

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque has called up goalkeeper Victor Valdes, defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, midfielders Sergio Busquets and Xavi, as well as forwards Pedro and David Villa for the friendly.

That means seven of the eight Barca players that triumphed in South Africa will be present in Mexico, with Andres Iniesta staying behind because of the fitness problems he suffered at the World Cup.

Barca full-back Dani Alves also believes the decision is incorrect.

''It's unfair because they are on holiday and they are not in condition to play football,'' the Brazilian told reporters in China, where Barca are on tour in pre-season. ''The decision has been taken and they will have their reasons for it - I think it's the price they pay for being world champions.''

Alves is set to be in action for Brazil that same day, while Lionel Messi is likely to be called up by Argentina and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play for Sweden after returning to the national side recently.

Midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos has been called up by Mexico, while youngsters Bojan Krkic and Jeffren Suarez will be in action for Spain's Under-21 side, meaning Barca coach Pep Guardiola is set to be left with a threadbare squad as he prepares for the first leg of the Spanish Supercup against Sevilla, to be played just three days later.

With the Spain internationals unlikely to be able to play much of a part in that match, Guardiola will hope the rest of his internationals return safely from their respective friendlies and may be forced to field several youngsters against Sevilla.

If, as expected, the Barca coach decides to leave out his World Cup winners in that match, he will have just 11 first-team players available - Jose Pinto, Alves, Adriano Correia, Gabriel Milito, Eric Abidal, Maxwell, Seydou Keita, Messi, Ibrahimovic, Bojan and Jeffren.


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