Xavi Hernandez out of Spain squad with hamstring problem

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 04, 2013 13:30 hrs

Madrid, Feb 4 (IANS) FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has become the second player to withdraw from Vicente del Bosque's Spain squad for Wednesday's friendly against Uruguay.

Xavi was substituted in the closing moments of his Barca's 1-1 draw away to Valencia complaining of a hamstring problem. He was replaced by Thiago Alcantara, reports Xinhua.

As a result the club opted to withdraw him from the Spain squad which flies to Qatar, where the game will be played.

He is the second player to pull out of the squad, following the news that Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso had been forced out of the squad with a groin problem Sunday.

In the case of Alonso, Del Bosque opted to call Atletico Madrid's Mario Suarez into the squad as cover, but given that Xavi's injury was not until late Sunday and Spain fly Monday, Del Bosque had no time to name another midfielder and Spain will travel with a squad of 20 players.

The fact that one player from Barcelona and another from Real Madrid have pulled out of the squad has raised some eyebrows in Spain with some questioning whether or not Spain's two biggest clubs have tried to ensure key players are able to enjoy a rest, rather than a tiring trip to play a friendly, game, but the fact both pulled out after two tough games in just four days is not exactly surprising given the physical demands placed on them.

Meanwhile, Madrid's young defender Rafael Varene has pulled out of the France squad due to a slight foot injury.

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