Here are some of his words, which are always worth a read, regarding Barça’s relationship with Madrid, the Spain national team after the four derbies last season, and the new (still rumoured) signings.
Sport: What do you think of Barça ending institutional relationships with Real Madrid.
Xavi: It’s not a big deal, but if Madrid were behind those doping accusations, which is not entirely known either, I would say breaking the relationship would be a logical decision.
After two months of the four consecutive derbies, have you talked to Iker Casillas?
No, I haven’t. I haven’t seen them [his national teammates from Madrid]. Not Iker, not Xabi Alonso. We meet each other regularly on the national team, but we do not call each other or anything … I haven’t had the chance to talk to them yet. We will meet in August and we will talk then, if I am called up for the national team. But I have talked to Del Bosque and he told me everything was okay. I have also talked to David Villa, Pedro and Busquets after the friendly matches they played for Spain and they said the atmosphere was pretty normal. But if there’s anything to say to anyone, it has to be done.
Is that easy?
You’ve got to understand that, as teammates in the national team, we respect each other. The tension that arose in those games is normal, because everyone wants to win. Sometimes people do wrong things that are a bit off limits in those games, but they have passed. We just want to forget the whole thing and go back to normal [with Spain].
Are you watching the Copa América?
Yes I am. I’m watching some games with my friends. I want to see Brazil and Argentina, I want to see Messi, Masche, Milito, Dani Alves, Adriano. I wish them the best. It’s an interesting tournament, a lot of young players, great teams…
And Alexis? What do you think of him?
I’ve know [about] him since I played against him in the World Cup. He is an extraordinary player. Besides, I have watched him play at Udinese where he has reached a great level. He is physically strong, and so good in the one-on-one [against defenders]. He is a warrior, and works hard for his team. He is a really good player. He would be a great signing if we got him.
Do you think he could fit into Barça’s style?
He has grown as a player under Marcelo Bielsa’s system. So he knows how to work for the team, he understands the collective game and to work as a team. He would fit perfectly. Bielsa is one of the best coaches in the world to me and he knows how to work football concepts.
The most heavily rumored signings for Barça next season are Alexis and Cesc. Are those ‘top’ signings?
Yes they are. We all know Cesc. I really hope he comes. He’s got that strange feeling of wanting to come and not being able to. I hope they come to an agreement [Barça and Arsenal], for his own sake really. I really want him to come since he is a player that would give us a ‘bonus’.
What do you think of all that controversy about Cesc and Thiago not being able to play together?
People are always saying the same thing. I understand football is competitive and people want you to choose: Cristiano or Messi, Valdés or Casillas, Xavi or Iniesta. But come on… Haven’t we realised yet that all great players can play together? (Haven’t we just proved that?). The first that actually believed that was Luis Aragonés. And did it work? It did!
What’s all that about Cesc cannot play with us or next to Thiago. We have played [the three of us] together this year… And also, there are [enough] games for everyone! People need to give a break to those kids who are coming to the first team, Thiago at 19, Cesc at 24.
Now it seems Cesc would be competition for me or Iniesta… on the contrary, he would play alongside us, with us, and he will grow as a player and would make us better too.
People keep talking, but as much as those players [can] add to the team, the better it would be for Barça.
Ah! And there is also Keita. Why don’t people talk about him? Have we already kicked him out of the team? And Mascherano? Isn’t he playing or what?
I am amazed by all the talk and debate because it seems people don’t know anything about football. But that’s the problem in our society: everyone likes football but only a few really get what a dressing room is, or the importance of team work and being in solidarity.
Have you talked to Bojan?
Not yet, I need to call him because I want to cheer him up. Is he going to Rome, is it done?
He will do great, whenever he goes. He has an innate talent of scoring, he’s positive and a really good guy.
Do you know that the Madrid press are saying, about the possible departures of Bojan and Jeffren, that Barça is not looking after the cantera anymore?
Wow, I really don’t know what to say anymore! It’s more crap they say. Thiago is joining the first team this season or they haven’t heard it yet… And Fontàs, Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Montoya, Jonathan Dos Santos. There is so much talent in the cantera. The next generation is right there, knocking on our door. I can see it, I can feel it.
Did you watch the U-21 European Cup?
Yes I did, Spain was wonderful. Montoya is fantastic. And Botía, Javi Martínez, Thiago, Muniaín… It’s fantastic for Spanish football. Young players need chances. Barça’s luck is related to our coach, who gives many opportunities to young players. How can they [the Madrid press] say that? When young players at Barça do get chances to play… Their problem is that they’re blind by fanaticism.
But you guys made Spain known in the world.
It was really hard, because people didn’t believe in us. That was the worst part. You went to play and saw that people didn’t trust you. You would came out in the Camp Nou and could feel people not supporting [us]. You would go to the national team and people would boo us, some even laugh at us… But we showed anyone what Spanish football can give, we have showed it has reached a great level, we have changed history, which was the hardest thing to do.
Do you think that, as long as Pep is around, the team will continue being successful?
Sure. Pep captivates people with his presence. He is very demanding, wants and demands order. When I see him in the training ground I immediately recognise him as the leader. Pep has an emotional intelligence that only few people have. He is irreplaceable to me.
It’s difficult to think about what people will say about this Barça team in 20 or 30 years…
To say we’re the best team in the history might be a bit much. I’m sure there will be another team that will evolve and play fantastic football. Life evolves. In 10 or 20 years more there will be huge teams as well and people will judge if they are better than Barça today.
Source and translation: Total Barca