Xavi: I'd never join Real Madrid

The midfielder admits he is delighted with his choice to have stayed at Barcelona this season but concedes it will be difficult to replicate their success under Pep Guardiola

Barcelona veteran Xavi says he is confident he made the right choice to stay at the club this summer – and claims he could never consider moving to Real Madrid.

The 34-year-old came close to quitting Camp Nou prior to the start of the season but was ultimately convinced by Luis Enrique that he still had a valuable part to play in the success of the club.

The former Spain star claims he has no desire to move on at the end of the current campaign despite competition for places – and suggests Madrid would be the last place he could consider moving to.

“I’m a fanatic for Barcelona. I wouldn’t be happy in Madrid. I’m from Barcelona, that’s the truth. I can’t deceive anyone,” he told reporters in Egypt.

“I’m in the place I wanted and always dreamed about, which is FC Barcelona. I consider myself very lucky. Football is my life and not leaving Barcelona was my best choice.

“I don’t want to leave Barcelona at all. I want to continue to the end. We agreed last summer on one more year and I’m now more comfortable.

“I want to continue as long as I can. I don’t know when I will take my decision. Many new players joined the club and our goal is to have a strong Barca even if it means I sit on the bench.”

Barcelona have struggled for consistent form under Luis Enrique this season as they look to put their disappointing campaign under Gerardo Martino behind them.

While he is confident they can win silverware in 2015, Xavi admits it will be difficult to return to the standards set under Pep Guardiola during their dominant spell between 2008 and 2012.

“Guardiola’s era was wonderful, then we remained competitive in Tito’s era. We didn’t win trophies last year but this year we can make it,” he said.

“It’s hard to repeat the Guardiola era achievements as the other teams are discovering us and study our system, so it’s hard to move back to the same enjoyable style.

“We had a good match against Cordoba. Real Madrid are a very good team but we will work hard to improve our level and continue to get our goals at the end.”

Xavi admits he remains uncertain what he will do once he retires from the game, but is certain he will not turn his back on football.

“I don’t know what I’ll do after retirement. I might be a sporting director, maybe a coach, maybe a kids’ trainer. What matters is that it’s related to football.”

Finally, the midfield maestro was asked who the best player was he has ever played alongside, and he was unequivocal in his response.

“[Lionel] Messi,” he said. “I can’t judge the history [of football] but Messi is the best I played with.”


12 2014
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