– Ahead of Barcelona’s home game against Real Betis this weekend, Xavi Hernandez appeared in front of the media with Lionel Messi’s seventh Ballon d’Or high on the agenda.
– Xavi played alongside Messi for many years at the Camp Nou, during which they had their most successful spell in decades.
– “The first thing I want to do is to congratulate Alexia Putellas,” the coach said, referring to the Barcelona women’s star who won the women’s Ballon d’Or on Monday.
– “Also, I congratulate Pedri for the Kopa Award.
– “Messi’s win is footballing justice.
– “We can also think that others might deserve it, but the moment they open the envelope and they say Messi won it then it’s fair”
– The Barcelona legend even hinted that he would be interested in coaching women’s football in the future as the game grows rapidly.
– “It has been growing in recent years in a very big way,” he said.
– “They have improved a lot in the tactical and technical aspect and have all my respect and admiration.
– “I have seen many games. I like it and I see a lot of talent in many players of the national team who have talent.
– “I do not rule out coaching a women’s football team at all.”
– The 41-year-old mentioned how tough it is in his current job, given the expectations of the fans.
– “Barcelona is the most difficult club in the world,” he said.
– “The Cules and the Catalans are very demanding and it is not enough for us to win, as we have to play well.
– “We attach great importance and value to the Villarreal victory. Yet, we are aware that we were not good in some phases of the game and we didn’t have the ball.”
– Xavi’s arrival in the dugout has seen Frenkie de Jong return to form in central midfield and he was keen to emphasise the Dutchman’s importance to his team.
– “Yes, he is non-transferable, very important, capable of making a difference,” Xavi said.
– “The other day he scored. He was the Frenkie we want. He was excellent at Villarreal.”