Xavi Hernandez Injury: Updates on Barcelona Star's Calf and Return

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2014

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JANUARY 19:  Xavi Hernandez of Barcelona reacts during the la Liga match between Levante UD and FC Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on January 19, 2014 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Updates from Monday, Aug. 18

Xavi has been officially cleared to play for Barcelona in Monday's Gamper Trophy clash with Leon.

Barca's official Twitter confirmed:


Updates from Thursday, Aug. 14

Xavi continues to work on his fitness away from the rest of the Barcelona squad as he recovers from a calf problem.

Barca's official website provides the following update:

Xavi Hernández and Marc-André ter Stegen once again trained apart as they worked on their recoveries, whilst Thomas Vermaelen was treated by the physios and Adriano Correia joined in with the rest of the squad for part of the session.


Original Text

Xavi's hopes of maintaining his place in Barcelona's first team have been cropped with news of the Spanish midfielder suffering a calf injury during preseason training, reported by the club's website:

"Xavi Hernandez suffered a slight calf strain in his left leg during training this morning," reads the article. "Club doctors will decide when he can return to training over the next few days."

Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC also noted the news:

The 34-year-old, who recently confirmed he is staying at the Camp Nou amid rumours of a potential move to the MLS, per Sky Sports, looks set to face a battle against fitness as the new term approaches.

BBC Sport writer Andy West suggests Barcelona fans shouldn't be shocked by the news, and that Xavi might have been wiser to call time on his Blaugrana career at the conclusion of last season:

Xavi made 26 starts and four substitute appearances during a difficult 2013-14 domestic campaign, per WhoScored.com. He registered three goals and a duo of assists toward the club's second-place finish, but was largely unable to significantly impact the most important matches. 

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 01:  Ivan Rakitic poses as a new player for FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium on July 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

The veteran midfielder has suffered multiple muscle strains in recent times, including spells of discomfort during November and December. He also missed vital World Cup matches with Spain after featuring in the nation's 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands. As such, Xavi appears to be in a constant battle against fitness problems perhaps brought on by his age.

New Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has signed Ivan Rakitic to play in central midfield, where he can offer stern defensive cover and a creative attacking outlet alongside Sergio Busquets. The Croatian's arrival was always going to limit Xavi's time in the first team, but may be given greater emphasis if the Barca icon doesn't sustain a consistent run of fitness.

Alex Song's return to training may also signal a larger role for the Cameroonian, per FCB's tweet:

Supporters can take heart from Xavi's style of play, which has never been defined by how nimble or quick he is. The midfielder played a major role in Barcelona's recent era of success through his intelligence and reading of the game. He is more likely to play the ball beyond a defender than beat him head-to-head, meaning his career could be sustained if the fitness problems stop.

Xavi remains a key leader at the club. He is likely to become even more influential off the pitch after Carles Puyol's decision to move on, but it would be disappointing to see the midfielder limited purely to an off-the-field impact. Xavi still possesses the quality to maintain and distribute possession masterfully, but one has to question how much longer he can battle through repetitive injury problems.

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Xavi of Barcelona looks on during the Barcelona Training Session at St George's Park on July 28, 2014 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Enrique and Barcelona will be hoping to get at least one more season out of the player. There's a sense that Xavi wants to leave on a high and couldn't face exiting after last season's trophyless conclusion. That may well happen, but whether he plays a key role is debatable.