Cazorla launches fierce defence of Xavi

Santi Cazorla launched a fierce defence of team-mate Xavi as Spain prepare to face Australia in their Group B dead rubber on Monday.

Spain's FIFA World Cup title defence failed to progress beyond the group stage after Wednesday's loss to Chile left the country winless from their opening two games.

Xavi has been one of several veterans of the Spain squad to be criticised, with many believing his time on the international stage is up after 133 appearances.

But Cazorla believes the 34-year-old, who is reportedly set to leave Barcelona, is the greatest to have played the game.

"In my opinion, there will be no player like Xavi Hernandez ever again," Cazorla told reporters.

"He has been a fundamental part of this national team. And he still is right now. A crucial part of the success of this team has always been Xavi Hernandez.

"I think he is a spectacular player, and we were lucky to enjoy a long time with him, and hopefully we can continue in this way."

Cazorla added: "I think it is a great team, we have shown when we have won.

"We continue to demonstrate it in the bad moments. Nobody should have any doubts about Xabi Alonso or other team player.

"So there is no controversy inside the group. There are players that come from a very important generation too.

"For this reason, I say that the future is exciting for Spain to achieve more great things. We will see to it that that happens."

The 29-year-old Arsenal midfielder also offered his support to embattled coach Vicente del Bosque, who is facing an uncertain future despite guiding the team to success at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

"Well, it's difficult. Vicente (Del Bosque) has been with us for a long time," he said.

"Thanks to him, we also have achieved great things.

"We have to wait for him to make a decision. He knows that he has total support from this group."


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