Vicente del Bosque has revealed that Xavi Hernández wanted to retire from the Spanish national team after Euro 2012, but the Spain coach managed to convince him to stay on.
"Xavi hinted that he wanted to quit the national side, but I think that the success of the European Championship cheered him up," Del Bosque said in an interview with 'Onda Cero'.
"He felt comfortable in the tournament, he felt like he was just 28 years old, he felt strong. His football owes a lot to his physical condition, because he is very fit, but his football is also based on good technical ability and vision of play."
The Spain coach reaffirmed his belief that the Barcelona midfielder is "a key man" in the national side, and the told the player so himself.
"He is one of those players that had a good footballing education, who can analyse the game and has an opinion. Before the final he told me he was thinking about leaving, and I told him it was a good time to continue, that he was still a key man for us. We had to tell him truthfully how important he has been and still is to the team."
The coach also revealed that he was not surprised by the fact that David Villa has not started many games for Barcelona this season.
"There is a lot of competition for places. A coach keeps an eye on all of his players and wants them all to play. But as we know with the national team, like when we had to leave Santi Cazorla out against Panamá, whatever you do, someone who is used to playing a lot will have to be left out at some point.
"In Villa's case, the Barcelona coach has a lot of reasons to keep rotating his forwards. One day he will go with Tello, another Cuenca, another Pedro or Alexis. I think he'll keep rotating the team and will be sensitive to all the players, I think they are all important players to Barcelona."
The Spain coach added he was following the progress of Swansea midfielder Michu, the current top scorer in the Premier League.
"He moves perfectly between midfield and attack, he does not participate much in creative play. He's not like Silva or Iniesta, he's different, there are not many players like him. He's got an eye for goal and I'm sure he could play as a centre-forward. We're going to go and watch him in action soon."