In an exclusive chat with Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona manager Xavi revealed several personal milestones that for him are the highlights of his career so far.
Xavi is set to celebrate his 100th match as a Barcelona manager when his team takes on FC Porto in matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League.
Before celebrating the century of games, the manager got into a conversation with the aforementioned outlet, answering some quick questions.
Best match as a manager?
As a player, Xavi has played a whooping 42 games against Real Madrid in all competitions but during his brief stint as a manager, he has won five of the eight Clasicos.
This includes their 3-1 win in the Supercopa Espana final in January earlier this year. So when asked about the best match of his career, he said,
“The victory in the Super Cup against Madrid. It was our first title, against Madrid and the game that day perfectly reflects the idea we want.”
The manager also said that Real Madrid also happen to be one of the most complicated sides alongside Bayern Munich he has faced during his managerial career.
“Madrid is always very complicated. And Bayern too,” he said.
Difficult opponent and player?
The manager said that last year’s 0-3 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League has been the hardest defeat to take.
“The 0-3 at home [defeat] against Bayern last season, which marked the final goodbye to the Champions League [has been the hardest defeat].
Speaking of difficult opponents, he said that Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has troubled his team a lot and Inter, for that matter, have been the well-oiled team.
“Rashford cost us a lot. Also Vinicius, Benzema,” said the manager.
About Inter, he said, “Inter and their 5-3-2 did it almost perfectly.”
Upon asking which opponent he likes to play against, he said, “Atletico, Betis, Sevilla. They are fields with a great atmosphere.”
Best of many
When asked which victory is most special for him, he pointed out the local derby of the previous season where Barcelona won 4-2 against Espanyol away from home.
“Last year’s derby against Espanyol was the day we won the League. We won the title, at the home of the rival citizen and it was also one of our best games.”
When asked which tactical tweak has worked best for him, he added, “We have been introducing several variants and most of them have worked, especially the change last year when playing with a false winger. Although the system was the same.”
Lastly, the manager was also asked which Barcelona player has impressed him the most, to which he said,
“It would be unfair to single out just one. I prefer the mix of veterans and the mentality of young people. But what has surprised me most is the human quality of all the players I have had,” he concluded.