Barcelona are nearly back to a full complement with just four players missing from the squad following their World Cup breaks. It means Xavi Hernandez can start work in earnest preparing for their return to action, which takes place ahead on the 31st of December against Espanyol, in the derby.
Ahead of the tempo being lifted, Xavi gave an interview to BarcaTV, carried by MD, where he was asked about some of the young players.
“Balde, Gavi has played practically everything. Ansu is a talent… Perhaps we are asking them too much…”.
During the week, Andres Iniesta visited the squad at their training and spoke to his friend and former teammate Xavi. The Barcelona manager went on to say that the Blaugrana’s current crop of youngsters are ahead of their development at their age.
“Me at twenty years old and Andrés at twenty years old, we were not at the level that Pedri or Gavi are. Eric Garcia, at twenty; Ansu… How Gavi competes, the passion he puts in… We were not at his level.”
He would go on to admit that Ansu Fati has not played enough for Barcelona so far, and will have a bigger role when Barcelona come back.
“He will be more important from now on for us.”
Meanwhile Alejandro Balde will be important for the next decade and a half, in Xavi’s eyes.
“His potential is marvellous, he is Barça’s full-back for the next fifteen years.”
There is little doubting the talent that Barcelona’s young players have. In Xavi’s case, the difficult part is that a club which must win in the short-term must rely on them to produce results. Xavi and Iniesta were given time to grow into the team, so that when they won their place in the team, they were more experienced and more rounded.