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Andrés Iniesta Opens Up on Xavi’s Departure and Barça’s Future

Andres Iniesta visiting Barcelona training a few weeks ago / Getty Images
Andres Iniesta visiting Barcelona training a few weeks ago / Getty Images

Andres Iniesta speaks on Xavi’s coaching struggles and praises emerging talents cautiously.

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta closely follows what’s happening at the club and granted an interview to the Italian newspaper ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’ ahead of the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Napoli. The current player of Emirates Club discussed various current topics and acknowledged his concern regarding Xavi Hernández’s situation on the Catalan bench due to the strong bond he shares with his former teammate. “I suffer with him. As a fan and as a friend. Because I know how much coaching Barcelona meant to him and how much he cares about this club. He put in incredible passion, and nobody wants things to go well more than him. And he doesn’t do it for himself or for his personal glory, but because he loves the club. It’s clear that if he has decided to resign, it’s only for the good of Barça,” said Iniesta about Xavi and his decision to step down as coach at the end of the season.

Iniesta was also asked about the emergence of young talents Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsí with the first team, and the Spaniard praised their great performance, though he emphasized that they shouldn’t face too much pressure at the beginning of their careers as it could be counterproductive.

“On one hand, it’s exceptional for such young boys to reach the first team and play so well. On the other hand, I believe these things always result from a specific context. The downside: I don’t think such young players should bear the burden of such demanding expectations like those at Barça,” said Iniesta, who recalled Pedri’s case and the heavy workload he had in his first season at Barça, which is now taking its toll.

Looking ahead to the clash against Napoli, Iniesta assured that it will be “a tough challenge, open, and it’s difficult to pinpoint a favorite,” although he hopes Barça can secure qualification for the Champions League quarter-finals.

“In the first leg, Barça did well, but didn’t win, and Napoli has improved over these three weeks, having more positive feelings linked to the change of coach, while Xavi lost two important players like Pedri and De Jong. I have faith in Barça, but it won’t be easy,” noted Iniesta, who also hopes that the fans at Montjuïc will be an important factor in helping secure the ticket to the next continental round.