‘Xavi, Iker seek the common good’

Lilian Thuram has praised Xavi Hernandez and Iker Casillas, reflected on Barcelona’s ‘art’ and touched again on racism in the game.

Xavi and Casillas are due to receive their Prince of Asturias award for Sport this Friday and the former French international reflected on why he feels they deserve it.

“When you have smart people, it is important for the group, because they think primarily for the common good,” he told reporters today.

“That is perfect and Xavi and Casillas are people like that. And people who say that this is not a good thing are wrong.”

Thuram spent the final two years of his playing career in Spain with Barcelona, before leaving and shortly afterwards being forced to retire with a heart defect. Today, the former defender is a keen admirer of his old side.

“For me, their football is an art, they are like those artists who do contemporary shows. In addition, the club provides a good image of football and that is important.

“It is difficult to say whether they are the best team ever seen, but for many, the best is the one that wins more. Even so, I like the club because when you watch a match, you think it is truly football, that it’s a game.

“I was fortunate enough to play two years here and most important at Barcelona was the phrase ‘Mes que un Club’, because football should be more than a game, it should help change the way you view others.”

Thuram is in Spain promoting the release of his book ‘My Black Stars’ and spoke of continuing issue of racism within the game.

“People have to understand that racism is a political, economic and cultural construction. People often ask me where there is most racism.

“That is not the problem. In Spain, France or Italy there is racism, but more important is to talk calmly to overcome it and understand it.

“Rather than bringing this book to a football field, you have to get people talking calmly about racism and sexism. Change must be accepted.”

Tags Casillas Thuram Xavi