Former Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo has admitted that he would love to play under Xavi one day, while also adding that the manager is doing a fantastic job and the moment.
Speaking in an interview with SPORT, the 26-year-old former Liverpool and Juventus midfielder spoke at length on various aspects of his Barcelona career and also about his future.
Starting off with his take on Xavi’s tenure so far, he said, “I would love Xavi to be my coach one day.”
“I love Xavi as a coach. He’s doing a great job. He has brought back the Barça style, he knows what the Culés like. He has a beautiful game, possession and aggressiveness. I admired him as a player and I admire him as a coach.
“Barça is in good hands. I see a very structured team. Xavi has shown that they’ve got it right with him. They have just won the league and they have very good players, a mixture of young players with more experienced ones, the perfect mix,” he added.
Arthur arrived at Barcelona in 2018, joining the team from Gremio for a fee reported to be around €31 million plus €9 million in add-ons. The then 21-year-old had to make plenty of efforts to settle into the first team but before he could do that, he was shipped to Juventus.
“When I arrived at Barça everything was very new for me. It was a bit complicated to adapt, but I was also very lucky to have a dressing room that helped me a lot and. Deep down, that was my dream, I was fulfilling it.
“Yes, I had to learn a lot and very quickly. I had to learn another culture, another language, another way of playing football, another visibility through the press,” he added.
Upon asking if Barcelona should have had patience with him, he added, “I think so because I was very young, only 21 years old. I had to leave when I was in my third season, that is when I was more adapted.”
During his brief tenure, the Brazilian share the dressing room with Lionel Messi, about whom he said:
“Messi said I was the one who surprised him the most of all the signings in 2018. I thought he was joking. And I had just arrived at Barça. It was a very nice moment for me. Afterwards, in the dressing room, I spoke to him in person and thanked him.”
Meanwhile, while speaking about Barcelona’s newest recruit Vitor Roque, the midfielder said: “He is very young, but very good. He has shown that he has a high level. Being so young, he already has the personality of a great player.”
When asked about the comparison between Roque and Real Madrid’s Endrick, he added: “Well, Endrick is very young and has already signed for a great team. There is a lot of pressure. He is a great player, he has proved that. I really like the way he plays, he has a lot of personality and is a goalscorer.”
The Brazilian also shared his thoughts over Raphinha’s first season at Barcelona and Neymar’s rumoured links with Barcelona.
“Raphinha’s first season at Barça? For a winger, those are very good numbers. I honestly saw him do very well. The first season is always the most complicated and he has done well. He has everything to make the second one even better. I hope it will be.”
There have been talks of Neymar offering himself to Barcelona this summer amid rumours of an exit from PSG. When asked about that, Arthur replied:
“He didn’t tell me, but I know he likes Barça a lot. He has a lot of passion for Barça, for how they have always treated him, for his moments on the pitch, for the city.”
When asked about his favourite memory during his time at Barça, Arthur said: “Winning a Clásico against Madrid, because of the result, because of the game I played. Winning the League as well. There was a very nice moment in the Super Cup as well, when I had just arrived.”
Lastly, he went on to say that despite his wish of playing for the club, Barcelona have not contacted the player so far. “I don’t know, they haven’t spoken to me directly,” he said.