Juan Roman Riquelme backs Xavi to turn things around at Barcelona

Villarreal hero and former Barcelona midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme has given his backing to Xavi Hernandez.

Xavi has had a tricky start to life at Camp Nou following his appointment last month, winning his first two La Liga outings but struggling since.

Barca have picked up one point from their last two La Liga games, and they have also crashed out of the Champions League following a stuffing at the hands of Bayern Munich.

It’s clear that Xavi has a big job on his hands, and it’s not an overhaul that can be done overnight.

That’s something former Barca midfielder Riquelme has warned of, telling Marca: “Xavi is one of the most important players in the history of Spain.

“Barca, with him on the field, marked an era and I hope that as a trainer he can enjoy also.

“He is at home, in his club, and the people are enjoying each day having him again.

“And now you have to give him time. I don’t have any doubt that he is going to do well.”

Riquelme officially spent three years with Barca after joining from Boca Juniors, though he was only at the club for one of those years due to a two-year loan spell with Villarreal.

Still, he holds the Blaugrana very close to his heart.

“The feelings towards Barca will always be the best,” he added. “I was lucky to arrive in European football thanks to the club and because if that, I always give my appreciation. It was only one year but I enjoyed it a lot.”

Riquelme was speaking ahead of Barca’s friendly clash with Boca Juniors in Saudi Arabia, a match that will be played as a tribute to Diego Maradona.

The former midfielder is now vice-president of Boca Juniors having made more than 300 appearances for his hometown club across two spells.

Tags Boca Juniors FC Barcelona Juan Roman Riquelme Villarreal Xavi Hernandez