Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola warned the Spanish Football Federation not to risk midfielder Andres Iniesta's health at next month's Confederations Cup.
Iniesta returned from a right thigh injury to star in Barcelona's 2-0 Champions League final win over Manchester United on Wednesday. Guardiola is worried the Spain international may be rushed back too soon for the tournament at South Africa. Barcelona said its medical staff was already in contact with the national team to oversee a training plan for the coming weeks.
Spain opens against New Zealand at Rustenburg on June 14. "Be careful with Andres' injury. It's a dangerous situation with him having just recovered for the final," Guardiola said on Friday. "We have to take great care of his professional future ... because neither the national team nor Barca can afford to lose him." Iniesta was a key player as Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win the treble following Spanish league and Copa del Rey triumphs. The 25-year-old Iniesta was also a regular starter during Spain's European Championship-winning run last summer. Iniesta and captain Carles Puyol (ankle) will miss Saturday's meaningless league finale against Deportivo La Coruna, a fact that left Guardiola clued in on what needed to be done in the offseason _ bring in more players.
"The team will have to be deeper. Next year will be much more complicated for us," the 38-year-old rookie coach said after completing Barcelona's most successful year in club history. Barcelona will also play for the Club World Cup and Spanish Supercup next season.
Guardiola said the club would be speaking with Samuel Eto'o in the coming days since the Cameroon striker is out of contract after next season.
"He's a very important player and the entire coaching staff and myself are overjoyed with his work, his effort and his goals," Guardiola said.
Eto'o, who has scored 35 times in all competitions this season, became only the second player to score in two Champions League finals after opening the scoring at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Guardiola said the club would also be looking at whether to retain 35-year-old Sylvinho, who is out of contract after this season.
Guardiola told his team to enjoy the upcoming vacations since next season was likely to be even more difficult. "Everybody _ and it's normal _ will want to beat us," Guardiola said.