Barcelona boss Xavi spoke to reporters at his usual pre-match press conference on Saturday ahead of his team’s trip to Elche in La Liga.
The coach discussed the recent transfer rumors involving Barcelona, offered an update on Dani Alves’s future and offered his thoughts on new signing Pablo Torre.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Elche
For us it’s a complicated game. They haven’t lost a game at home since Francisco took over. They are a very physical team, they play with two strikers, they made it complicated for us at the Camp Nou. They are a very intense team so it will be a struggle. We have to match their intensity. It’s a tough place to play and it will be a difficult game. We need to stay on this good run of results we’ve had recently.
Xavi on rumors he met with Erling Haaland this week
I can’t give any details. The only thing I can say is that we are working with the president for the future of the club. I can’t say anything else. When things are done we can announce things. Yesterday we announced Pablo Torres, who’s a young player with a bright future. We can’t announce anything right now.
Xavi on strengthening the defense/if Pique will retire
I think that the feeling is that we’re not supposed to be talking about this right now. I know the fans are excited but let’s talk about the present. We want to get to the third spot, Europa League, I don’t think it’s time to talk about this. We are on a good run, we have Elche next, that’s what we are worried about right now. I understand the interest but all I can say is we’re working towards the future. With regards Pique, his performances have been great. He’s the leader of our defensive line, he moves the ball forward, he’s been amazing aerially. He’s having a great season.
Xavi on Pablo Torre
We followed Pablo, we’ve seen him play. He’s a natural talent. He can play as an interior, on the wing, he’s got great passing ability, can score, play with both feet, set-pieces as well, he’s very young, only 18, and he has the potential to play at Barca for many years. He’s a very humble player. He’s a signing for the present and the future. He’ll work with the first team but if he doesn’t play he can have a role with Barca B. At that age it’s not easy to play with the first team so he can play for Barca B as well.
Xavi on his role in negotiations
I see it more as explaining the project, what we want from him, that he’ll enjoy playing football here. That this is the best club in the world, the best city, all the circumstances that play in our favor. The most important thing is I’ve never seen a player who has said no to Barca. Of course then there are other factors but noone has said no since I arrived.
Xavi on Torre choosing Barca over Real Madrid
That’s a question for the player. We explained our project, he has a Barca profile, is a Barca style of player. I explained the project, our style, and then he made his decision. I don’t know the other offers that he had. We made an offer, we were close to his family and he made his decision. We were honest with him.
Xavi on if Barca are in better form than Sevilla
If you look at the last few games yes of course but tomorrow is another example. We need to prove it in every game we have left. We are not in a comfortable situation at all. We’ve had some good results, the expectations are high, but we need to continue to work in a humble way with the same intensity. Tomorrow is a hard test.
Xavi on criticism for comparing Pedri to Iniesta
I just said it in a natural way. I said he reminded me of Andres. I won’t make those comparisons any more but he continues to remind me of Andres, that’s just how it is. Of course there are differences, Andres’s career was amazing. He was the greatest talent I ever saw in Spanish football. I know what Pedri is like, this won’t affect him, it will motivate him. Pedri isn’t scared at all, he wants to prove his talent.
Xavi on Dani Alves’s future
We haven’t talked about it yet but on his performances, what he’s giving to the team on and off the field it’s amazing. He brings positivity, professionalism, he’s an example. I would like to have him here next season. He’s scored, given several assists, what he’s giving us is a lot. I would like him to continue but it depends on the club, his performances. I have no doubt that if he’s here next season he will give us a lot.
Xavi on if he wants to see Mbappe & Haaland in La Liga
They are two great footballers and of course it would be great to have them in La Liga. The league would be better, the clubs they go to would be better. It would be more attractive, these kinds of players bring fans to the stadium.
Xavi on who will start in attack
We have two weeks of important games and it will be important to manage those minutes, fatigue as well, we have options. We have seven, eight, nine players who can play up front. I’m very happy to be able to choose, a few months back we had the bare minimum. Now, the situation we are in is very important. They all have the chance to play.
Xavi on Riqui Puig
Riqui is a player who is training well. It’s sad for me that I can’t give him more minutes. He has players in front of him like Gavi, Pedri, Nico and Frenkie as well. It’s not a question of level of performance, he’s training well, improving individually, but there’s great competition for him.