‘No-one’s playing better than us’

Xavi Hernandez has mused that whilst Barcelona have room to improve to reach their level of past years, no other side is playing better than they are now.

The Catalans are unbeaten so far this term but have seen debate continue to grow over their developing playing style under Tata Martino.

However, for the team’s experienced midfield playmaker, perspective is needed.

“He is very intelligent and understands the club, where we come from,” reflects Xavi in today’s edition of Mundo Deportivo. 

“Perhaps now we are not at the level of a ‘10’, but we are still remarkably high. We can still reach excellence, but we are doing fine.

“These comparisons are odious, but they are there for the extraordinary football in the last four or five years, with an unusual superiority over our opponents and is not there in any other team.

“We have to work to reach that level again. But the question we should ask is – what team is playing better than Barca? No one is.

“They say that Rayo Vallecano are playing extraordinary football like Barca. Then, if they are playing like Barca, it makes the level that Barca play to exceptional.

“We come from an immense comparison, which is what that football was.

“We are in good form, we have improved and are progressing without drama and understand that there are discussions around the club and that is this club’s requirement.”

Xavi is spending the international break with Barcelona after being omitted from the Spain squad out in Africa this week.

“I was involved in all the qualifying matches but I spoke to Vicente del Bosque and we decided it was best to rest. I have played many games this season and will do well to rest a little and train more with Barca, where there is much debate. For us there is no issue. The results are excellent. The game can be improved and there is room for that, but we are in a good line of form.”

One debate will centre on Barca’s capacity to play without Lionel Messi for the next two months.

“He is a very tough guy, mentally strong and he will return. He has had four or five years playing everything, remaining decisive in all the games, scoring two or three goals in many of them.

“He is the best in the world but the body says enough and so he must stop. The most important thing is that he recovers well.

“For us, he is the number one and we need him a lot. In January he will return and prove to be the best.

“We are going to miss him because he is the best in the world and makes a difference. The opponent has more respect when he is in the team, but the team is very talented and at a high level.

“We are seeing a remarkable Alexis, a Pedro on form, a Neymar that is adapting, a Cesc who at times has been spectacular, Tello will keep pushing. We will try not to notice the drop in Messi’s absence.”

Tags Messi Xavi