He said: “During the winter I had a thigh injury and some media said I was ‘pretending to be injured’ because I was supposedly ‘disappointed’ or ‘regretting’ not moving to Barcelona. The real fact is that at that time I was already close to breaking down!
“I made huge physical efforts to play with that problem and finally my body has just said: ‘No!’. Now the relief is that finally my body will have time to get myself ready for the new season. That will be something new for me.
“I know this injury isn’t down to my age because I was out for six months in 1998 as well. It’s just about the number of games you have to play between club and country. “But I won’t be resting. I’ll perhaps take this week off and then very quickly I will drum it into my head that I need to start getting myself ready.”