New Barcelona boss Xavi has issued a brutal assessment of Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in comparison to Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.
At his unveiling as the new Barcelona manager, former midfielder Xavi was faced with comparisons to his old boss Nou Camp boss Guardiola, with both having played for the club before returning as manager.
Guardiola, of course, enjoyed huge success in charge of the Catalan club — helped by a world-class midfield pairing of Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Given their close connections, it is inevitable that comparisons will be drawn between Xavi and Guardiola.
Asked at his unveiling about Guardiola, Xavi replied: “Being compared to Guardiola is already a success, because of what he has given to football, to Barca, and because he is a reference for me.
“Guardiola is the best coach in the world. Any comparison now is bad for me, I understand the expectations and I know that I am in the best club and we have to demand ourselves and the rest. It is a success that they compare me with Guardiola and I will work so that successes are achieved.”
Xavi was then probed further as the latest in a list of high-profile ex-players managing the side they made their name as a player, with United boss Solskjaer, former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and Italy legend Andrea Pirlo listed as examples of where it doesn’t go quite right in management.
“I prefer to be in the Guardiola, Zidane group than the other one,” Xavi said, this time inviting the Guardiola comparisons.
Guardiola, back in Spain as the international break gets underway, was asked during a charity golf tournament about Xavi’s confirmed appointment, and whether Barcelona have belatedly appointed his heir.
“I wasn’t the heir to anybody and Xavi doesn’t have to be my heir,” the City boss said.
“It has to be him, nothing more than him. The decisions will be made by him and no one but him.
“If Joan Laporta and the board have chosen Xavi then it’s because there are millions of pros and few cons. He knows the club and will bring positive energy, given how he enjoys football and because of his dedication. He always sees the positive side of things.
“With his class, dedication and effort, I’m sure he’ll improve the club’s situation.
“I just ask that we all have a little patience. That things don’t work out one day on the other hand, and I am convinced that with everyone’s help he will succeed. ”
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