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Xavi Hails Barcelona’s Triumph: ‘One of the Best Games of the Season’

Xavi / Getty Images
Xavi / Getty Images

Recap of Xavi’s press conference after the win against Napoli.

“I think we’ve played one of the best games of the season. It’s a day for the Barça fans to enjoy, an important day for the Barcelona supporters of which we should be proud,” declared Xavi Hernández following Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Napoli, securing qualification for the Champions League quarterfinals, a stage the Blaugrana team reached deservedly, according to the Barcelona coach.

“I’m extremely happy because we played a very complete game and because the team gave it their all. We dominated in many moments and we’re among the top eight teams in Europe four years later. Let’s enjoy it,” he said.

Xavi reiterated once again, “I said that after announcing my decision to leave at the end of the season, the team would take a step forward, and that’s what’s happening. Do I always say that? It’s just that people didn’t believe me, and we received unjust criticism. They said I would lose the locker room, but the players have stepped up.” In that regard, he criticized the media: “They said we were the laughingstock of the Champions League, the players were pressured too much, some journalists who are Barcelona fans said unnecessary things. What do we do now with the laughingstock of the Champions League? We’re in the quarterfinals. I told the players to stay calm, and they were better in both games.”

Xavi valued that “we pressed high, very aggressively, and the team performed well, with a high defensive line. I think in many aspects of the game, we were close to excellence, and we’re going to the quarterfinals happy and with the fans enjoying themselves.”

Regarding the substitutions made, he acknowledged that “Sergi Roberto and Uri (Romeu) gave us freshness, as did Joao Félix.” But one name stood out as the MVP, Pau Cubarsí: “He doesn’t get nervous, he’s very calm, knows how to find the free man, has the timing to create attacking plays, it’s a spectacle to watch him.”

He also praised the fans’ response: “They’ve been fantastic, we knew we could compete, and it was deserved. They chant my name in every game, I couldn’t ask for more.”

“Fermín was already tired, and we lacked pause, we were risking it with every play, and we decided that with the entry of Romeu and Sergi Roberto, Gündogan would advance,” he explained about the substitutions.

Regarding whether he could change his mind and stay, he made it clear that “as of today, nothing has changed, if we had lost, I would already be out for you all, everything is too emotional, and we’ll wait for the draw.”