Xavi wary of ‘decisive’ Suarez

The playmaker believes Uruguay are a “great team”, led by the match-winning talents of the Liverpool ace, while revealing that Spain are motivated by their past Confeds failings

Xavi has urged Spain to keep a close eye on Luis Suarez in their Confederations Cup curtain-raiser with Uruguay on Sunday, claiming the forward is a “decisive player”.

The Liverpool man will reportedly use the World Cup rehearsal as a shop window, as links with Real Madrid continue to gather pace, and the 33-year-old is wary of the threat posed by his rival attacker.

“Luis Suarez is a decisive player and one that can prove the difference. He is a nuisance to the defence, just as Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani are. They have a great team,” he said at a press conference.

“But whoever we play, the philosophy remains the same. We want to be protagonists, keep the ball and play on the attack.

“Against Uruguay and any other team, we must be very dynamic, move the ball quickly and open up the pitch.

“We are also concerned about the condition of the pitch. We hope that it is watered, because that will favour us. We will look out on this.”

Spain were surprisingly knocked out of the 2009 Confederations Cup at the semi-final stage, having lost 2-0 to USA, and Xavi is adamant that his international team-mates will use the disappointment as a source of motivation this time around.

“We are very excited and have the thorn of not having won in 2009. Maybe at my age this is my last Confederations Cup,” he added.

“For fans of football, Brazil have a place in the history in world football. They are fancied coming into this tournament.

“Playing here is an added bonus. We are going to try and win it.”

Xabi Alonso will miss the competition in Brazil due to ankle surgery, while the lack of appearances accumulated by captain Iker Casillas since January is seen as a cause for concern, yet the Barcelona veteran refused to dwell on the duo’s hardships.

“[Iker] is still the captain and he is happy and training hard at the moment. His importance to the team is great,” he noted.

“The system does not change [without Alonso], but only the players starting in the XI. Xabi gives great balance and is a significant absence.”

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