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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Salgado loss major blow to Spain, says Xavi

Salgado loss major blow to Spain, says Xavi

June 04, 2004 16:01 IST

Spain midfielder Xavi says the loss of right back Michel Salgado, who was forced to withdraw from Euro 2004 on Wednesday because of a torn thigh muscle, is a major blow to the squad.

"We're going to miss Michel a lot, that's for sure," the Barcelona playmaker told a news conference on Thursday. "He's a great player and has been very unlucky.

"We're going to notice his absence because he was a key player in the team. He's a very happy lad and he did a lot to create a good atmosphere in the squad."

Spain coach Inaki Saez decided to replace Salgado after medical advice said he would need 10 to 15 days to recover from the injury he sustained in training on Tuesday.

Salgado, who was one of the few Real Madrid players to emerge with any credit from the team's underachieving season, was almost certain to be in Saez's first choice line-up.

But Saez decided not to wait for Salgado to recover and instead called up Deportivo Coruna left back Joan Capdevila in preference to his right-sided club colleague Pablo Manuel.

"I don't like the fact that I've come into the squad to fill the place of an injured team mate, but that's the way it has happened and now it's up to me to take advantage of the opportunity," said Capdevila, who admitted he had been taken by surprise.

"I was on holiday and they rang me up after lunch.

"I didn't know how to react but I'm delighted to be here now. Playing for the national team is the ultimate challenge."

Capdevila, who has won three caps for Spain, said he was not concerned that he had been inactive since the season ended.

"My team mates may have been training more than me but in a couple of days I'm sure I'll adjust to the rhythm even though it has been a bit of a shock to the system."

Spain play their opening match in Group A against Russia on June 12, meet Greece four days later and then face hosts Portugal on June 20.

Simon Baskett
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