Thursday, June 30, 2022

Xavi believes LaLiga is almost as strong as the Premier League

SoccerNews in La Liga 13 Apr 2022

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Xavi has claimed the Champions League achievements of Real Madrid and Villarreal show the strength of LaLiga is close to that of the Premier League.

Madrid overcame English side and defending European champions Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday to reach the Champions League semi-finals, despite losing 3-2 on the night, while Villarreal shocked Bayern Munich 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena to also advance.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Barcelona’s own European quarter-final second leg in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt, Xavi questioned what he believes to be the consensus that the Premier League is a “much higher level” compared to Spain.

“Yesterday, I thought LaLiga isn’t that far off from the Premier League,” the Blaugrana head coach said. “There is this debate about the Premier League being a much higher level than LaLiga. We have two Spanish clubs in the semi-finals.

“People say it is not difficult to play in LaLiga, but the Premier League isn’t far from LaLiga.”

Despite being eliminated from the group stage of the Champions League earlier this season, the Barca boss expressed excitement at competing in the Europa League, though he insisted the club wants to be back in Europe’s premier competition as soon as possible.

“It’s not quite as highly rated as the Champions League but it’s a European title which we’re excited to play for,” he said. “The team is motivated and ready.

“We’re working to get back into the Champions League. Yesterday we had to watch from home and that was painful for us, but we must use it to motivate us to be back there.”

Barca centre back Eric Garcia also spoke to the media on Wednesday, and compared Xavi to club legend Pep Guardiola, who Garcia previously played for at Manchester City.

When asked about the influence of Xavi since his arrival in November, Garcia said: “He is showing us a lot with the ball and our distribution.

“Him and Pep are quite similar in this way. Xavi is very close to the players, he talks a lot with you and gives you advice, which is very important to the players.

“It’s a shame we have only had a few months with him, but there is a lot of hope for the future ahead of us with him.”

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