Barcelona orchestrator Xavi Hernández may be forced to choose between club and country, according to reports out of Spain. Persistent tendon problems have forced Barça coach Pep Guardiola to monitor his star midfielder's use, but with the tendinitis proving chronic, the overworked creator may be forced to start taking his summers off.
That's something Xavi has not been able to do for three years. This summer, Xavi was instrumental in Spain's first World Cup triumph. In the summer of 2009, Xavi was with La Roja in South Africa as the team competed in the Confederations Cup. In 2008, Xavi led Spain to victory at Euro 2008. With the national team having shifted style in the six months before that tournament - with then-coach Luis Aragones instilling an approach built around Hernández - the Barca stalwart has not been afforded rest during Spain's qualifying cycles.
The result has been unprecedented success for Spain while piling on to Xavi's club workload. In each of the last three seasons, Barcelona has made the semifinals of UEFA Champions League, with the increased number of European fixtures compounding the stress of consecutive league title pushes. Combined with a Copa del Rey title in 2008-09 and the extra matches that followed Barcelona's 2008-09 Champions League triumph, Xavi's success and (to this point) health have made him the busiest footballer in the world.
As a result, Pep Guardiola has had to limited Xavi's workload. Xavi's made only six of nine league starts while starting on the bench for one of Barça's three Champions League games. Of those starts, Xavi's been substituted out of five, meaning the 30-year-old playmaker's gone 90 minutes only three times in 12 matches.
Despite that moderation, Hernández's injury problems have persisted, with Barcelona now a prolonged rest. Whereas Xavi's tendon problems are now being managed day-to-day, there's now talk of having Xavi sitting for a number of weeks with the hopes that the rest will reset the problem.
Today, however, comes news of another solution. Xavi missed Spain's last set of Euro 2012 qualifiers, and if word from Don Balon magazine is correct, he's considering a much longer spell out of the Spain team. While Hernández, three caps short of 100, may not call an immediate end to his international career, Barcelona may become the midfielder's priority once the centennial milestone's met.