Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez has told ESPN FC that Spain national team coach Julen Lopetegui has not told him why he was not selected for the friendlies against Germany and Argentina later this month.
Martinez, 29, won the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2012 with Spain and was also in the 2014 World Cup squad, but he missed Euro 2016 with knee and ankle injuries.
And while he has won 18 caps, he has not featured for the national team since the last World Cup and has not spoken to Lopetegui about his snub since the squad for the friendlies was named last week.
When asked by ESPN FC’s Raphael Honigstein if he has been contacted by Lopetegui, Martinez said: “No, no, no. He never called me or said nothing about it.”
Lopetegui selected a number of players in the squad for the first time, including Chelsea wing-back Marcos Alonso, and Martinez said he hopes to prove to the coach that he is still worthy of being included when the World Cup begins in Russia in June.
“I know it’s very difficult to get in the national team,” Martinez said. “There are such good players there. It’s very difficult.
“Of course, I worked very hard to try to go there. I want to keep working hard. It’s true that here, a lot of people asked me — are surprised about why I’m not going on, but I think I have to work. I don’t give up and I keep working to try to reach the goal.”
And while returning to the World Cup remains Martinez’s goal, he said that he must use it as motivation if he does not go to Russia.
“I will keep working and will try 100 percent,” he said. “Of course, it’s one of my biggest goals to be in the World Cup and I will fight very hard, but I told you, it’s very difficult to get in, but if I’m not going, if nothing happens, I have to keep working and it’s not the end of my career.”
The Bayern midfielder also said that he was humbled to read a recent interview in Sport Bild in which Xavi Hernandez, the former Barcelona and Spain star, said Martinez needed to be part of Spain’s World Cup squad.
“Yeah, Xavi, for me, is the greatest midfield player in the last 20 years,” Martinez said. “It’s amazing that he’s still playing in Qatar, and a player like Xavi saying that [about] me is amazing.
“I am very grateful for that, but the problem is that he’s not the national coach. Maybe in the future, he will be the coach, but right now, he’s not, so I tell you, I will try to do it.”