Barcelona coach Xavi faced the press on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming visit from Turkish side Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Europa League.
The boss discussed Ronald Araujo and Gavi’s contract renewals, rumors Barca want competition for Marc-Andre ter Stegen and a host of other topics.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on the tie with Galatasaray
It’s not the Champions League but it’s still exciting. We are in front of our fans and in a good dynamic. It’ll be difficult for us to go to Turkey and win so we have to try and win in front of our fans. We will fight from the first moment, put on a show.
Xavi on Gavi and Araujo contract extensions
These are two very important players, the present and the future. They are working very hard and these are high priority contract renewals. The club is working on it, these things get drawn out for different reasons. I hope it works out for the club and the players. They both seem very happy here and for us they are very important. I hope it’s just a matter of time.
Xavi on Gala boss Domenec Torrent
He’s a good friend. He has a model of play similar to us. He needs time I think. It’s a change in the way of playing which isn’t so well known in Turkey. Tomorrow they will make things difficult for us. They have the quality to get out of their situation.
Xavi on Europa League vs La Liga
The main objective is next year to be in the Champions League and we need to play well in La Liga or win the Europa League. Right now we are third in the La Liga but both are objectives. The Europa League is exciting and it’s a dream but you can get knocked out of a cup competition at any time. In La Liga it’s a true picture of how you’ve been working.
Xavi on Barca being favorites
I don’t think we are one of the favorites. We don’t know the competition, we’ve never won it. I think the favorites are one of the previous winners, like Sevilla for example. We are one of the contenders, we’re in good form, but it’s about what we do on the pitch. We are playing well, we are excited, but tomorrow is a test. Every match is a test. We haven’t done anything yet. We’re in a good dynamic, have some positive results lately but we have to keep going.
Xavi on rotation
Tomorrow there will be changes. There are players who are tired, have niggles and knocks. So we need to take this chance to use fresh players and players who deserve to play. Tomorrow we will see some changes.
Xavi on Real Madrid vs PSG
Leo has done amazing things in the Bernabeu, but not just there everywhere. I’ll watch it and enjoy it. It’s disappointing we’re not in the Champions League but it’s an amazing match. Everyone who likes football will watch it. I always wish the best for Messi. We are good friends. If Neymar and Messi can win then even better.
Xavi on competition for Ter Stegen
Like everyone, if you have someone by your side who is working hard then you have more competition, everyone improves. You see someone doing better and you say to yourself ‘What can I do to improve?’ Everyone needs competition and it’s always welcomed.
Xavi on his meeting with Haaland
Do you confirm that I met Haaland? I didn’t know. It’s always a good time to come to Barça, for any footballer. There isn’t a footballer who has said no to Barça since I’ve been here.
The players that we want to sign, if we can talk with them, we insist on our game, our philosophy, the training, the way we work, the way players like it because we dominate the match. At other clubs you might get 10 touches of the ball, here you get 40. The club itself I think is one of the best in the world. The city is amazing, the history of Barca, but what convinces me is the football. Coming to Barca is a golden opportunity and we’ll always try to do the best for a player.
Xavi on Ronald Koeman
I have absolute respect for him. He was in the dream team. He’s a legend for the club. I’ve never had him as a coach but as a Barca fan I am very grateful that he came in a difficult moment. It’s something to be admired, he did good work. He was a brave coach with young players. I can’t say anything but good things about Ronald.
Xavi on Dani Alves new contract
The truth is his performances are amazing, not just on the pitch, the experience he brings, he’s the player with the most titles but he’s so humble. It’s amazing to watch him with the youngsters. He’s a captain without the armband. We’ll look at it but we can’t decide right now.
Xavi on Inaki Pena providing competition for MATS
That’s why he went. It was a tough decision. He had Marc and Neto ahead of him. He always said he wanted to play. It’s good, it’s a brave decision, he’s doing really well. He’s a goalkeeper with a lot of capability and the idea is he will come back and fight for a place.
Xavi on Ansu Fati
Ansu is in the final stages of his recovery. Let’s hope that little by little he can start to get involved again with the group. He’s going to be a transcendental footballer for Barca. For me, there’s no doubt about him. He’ll have important players by his side, that doesn’t mean he’ll have a lesser role. The more quality you have means everyone will be better.