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Xavi talks Roque, Araujo, Pedri, Real Madrid, transfers ahead of Almeria vs Barcelona

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Barcelona return to action in La Liga on Thursday night as competition takes one final acceleration before the conclusion of the season.

Having returned to second place with a win over Real Sociedad over the weekend, the Blaugranas can extend their lead over Girona to four points tomorrow as Michel’s side dropped three points to Villarreal last night.

Playing against 20th-placed Almeria on match day 35, moreover, Barcelona are the clear favourite to take home three points.

Speaking to the media ahead of Barcelona’s midweek clash, Xavi spoke at length about his team’s current form, the transfer window that lies ahead and the current financial situation.

He began, however, by commenting on the objective that lay ahead of them at Estadio del Mediterraneo and insisting that Almeria were not as poor as the league standings reflected.

“They deserve more points than they have. They are now free from pressure after the confirmation of their relegation.”

“They will play quietly with nothing to lose with quality players who know how to play well against big teams. They are not in a bad time. The result depends on us,” he added.

He then went on to reveal why tomorrow’s result was so critical for the Catalans.

“Tomorrow’s match is the target of minimums, for prestige and an economic issue.”

On his players

Xavi was first quizzed about Vitor Roque’s situation in the dressing room, the youngster’s lack of minutes and his future at the club.

“There is no debate. He is developing. There are players ahead [on the pecking order] and that’s why he plays less. This has happened all my life.”

Commenting on his decision to field rotations in the team’s last game, the manager said,

“We were fine but there was fatigue. Araujo is still injured and tomorrow we will decide, there will be one per line. Gündogan will be unavailable through suspension.”

“Ronald knows what I think, today I have talked to him, in a sincere way and he knows what I want and hope for his future. He is happy here,” he added on Araujo’s future.

When asked about whether Pedri would start on the night and an update on the Canary Islander’s situation, Xavi called the midfielder a difference-maker.

“It depends on the game, the other day they pressed us up front. If he is okay, he will be a difference both in defence and attack.”

Key. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Staying on the topic of midfielders, Xavi also heaped praise on Marc Casado saying,

“I have said it many times. I like him, he competes very well. The idea is that he stays with us and at least does the pre-season.”

Finally, Xavi gave his two cents on Joao Felix and his role in the team as he enters the final month of his stint on loan at Barcelona.

“Joao has helped us a lot, he has good numbers, but he has competition. He is competing with Raphinha, who is playing at a great level, Ferran and Lewy. Joao has been important and he has to continue until the end of the championship.”

On the transfer window

The Barcelona manager also provided several updates on the team’s upcoming summer transfer window and what fans can expect to change next month.

“We will decide with the fair play but it’s not the time to respond,” he began modestly.

“The president and Deco are positive but the economic issue will mark our sports planning,” he added.

Speaking on competing with Real Madrid, who are set to bring in Kylian Mbappe and Endrick amongst others, the coach said,

“We are going to try to compete (with Madrid). The situation is difficult economically and is nothing like it was twenty-five years ago.”

“Now we are not in the same conditions with clubs with better fair play. The fan should know. It doesn’t mean that we don’t try to achieve the goals,” he added.

Elaborating on how Barcelona’s economic situation has taken a steep fall in recent times, Xavi insisted that a full rebuild would require patience.

“25 years ago, the coach came and said ‘I love this one, this one and this one’. It doesn’t work like that anymore. I understand it and that’s how we’re going to adjust to it.”

“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to compete. We need stability and time. There are good things to compete,” he concluded.

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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