Xavi Hernandez hails Pep Guardiola as ‘the best’ and confirms he was about to leave Barcelona in 2008, before the new Manchester City Coach arrived.
Guardiola took over the Barca first team after a year with Barca B and Xavi, who was on the transfer list, decided to stay, then went to Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland and came back victorious, he recalled when speaking to AS.
“The club had accepted offers. We’d gone two years without winning and these things happen. I met with Pep for 10 minutes and saw he was clearly going to succeed at Barca. He was my footballing reference point and now my Coach. Years earlier I was going to Milan, but my mother said no,” Xavi added.
“Guardiola is the best, he’s a perfectionist and he’s demanding. He asks a lot of you and the others. He’s smart. For me, being at his side was a Master’s in football and tactics. As a Coach he captivated me.
“I was on the transfer list in 2008 and then I went to the European Championships, was player of the tournament and Pep arrived at Camp Nou.
“Luis Enrique? He convinced me to stay another year. In 2014 I had agreed to go to New York, but I was excited by what he told me. He’s contributed good and interesting things to Barca’s game, although he has the best forwards in the world and possibly in history. The conditions mean he is more direct in attack. He’s also a perfectionist on the physical side.”