x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Spain's Xavi could miss World Cup

Xavi, the Barcelona midfielder, is playing with a muscle injury that could keep him out of the World Cup.

Xavi, the Barcelona midfielder, is playing with a muscle injury that could keep him out of the World Cup. The Spain midfielder revealed after Saturday's 4-1 win at Villarreal that he has a 3cm tear just above his calf. "The truth is I'm carrying a number of aches but the team has a lot on the line and I want to be here," said Xavi after scoring one goal, an excellent free-kick, and setting up two others.

"There's only three games left so I have to push and if I'm pushing it's because I think I'm OK. Also, my game is not an explosive one." Xavi said he would be fit to play in the tournament in South Africa, which starts on June 11, but Pep Guardiola, his club coach, was not so sure. "Xavi's playing with an injury that could see him miss out on the World Cup," Guardiola said. "He's an example to all of us. He's made this extra effort because he knows he can't leave us on our own now. Fortunately [the injury] hasn't relapsed."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner three minutes from time as Real Madrid, Barca's title rivals, beat Osasuna 3-2 last night to stay a point behind the Catalans in the Primera Liga standings, with three games left. In Holland, Steve McClaren's FC Twente claimed the first Eredivisie title in the club's 45-year history yesterday with a 2-0 win at 10-man NAC Breda. Bryan Ruiz and Miroslav Stoch, the on-loan Chelsea midfielder, were the men on target in either half as NAC had midfielder Csaba Feher sent off.

The result ensured McClaren's side finished a point clear of Martin Jol's Ajax, who were 4-1 winners at NEC Nijmegen. Jol's side finished the campaign with a goal difference 46 better than Twente's, but had to settle for second place and a Champions League qualifying berth. McClaren is the first English coach to win a major league title in Europe since Bobby Robson with FC Porto in 1996. * Agencies