Xavi: “Chico marking was exasperating”
Xavi Hernández is hopeful that he will not receive the same personal treatment from Almería that he was given when the team first met this season as he prepares to play for Barça in the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos on Satudray.
Having returned triumphant from winning in Paris against France in midweek with the Spain team, the
Catalan midfielder immediately turned his attention to the Blaugrana's next outing as they look to
secure another three valuable points.
When Barça met Almería in Camp Nou the visitors employed Chico to stifle
Xavi and the playmaker did not enjoy the experience. "It was exasperating. I hope that it does not
happen again," he said. "I have no personal problem with Chico, on the contrary we swapped shirts
afterwards, but in a football sense I did not like it. During some of the game I was despairing. It
was without doubt one of the most uncomfortable experiences in the last ten or 12 years on the
pitch, but I think, and I have read, that the coach (Juanma Lillo) is not going to ask him to do
that again and I want to thank him."
Race with Madrid
The title race is very tight once again, but Xavi is tired of talking about the same subject.
"We always discuss the same things and Barça are always favourites and that flatters us, but since
I have been here I have had to live with this pressure," he explained. "I suppose the same thing
happens to Madrid. It is far too early to talk about el Clásico, but I know it is a game everyone
enjoys. I have a good feeling and we are doing well in the league. We both know what we have to do
as we wait for one or other of us to stumble and then we have to take advantage."
Confidence in Henry
Thierry Henry and the French players were jeered by the fans in Paris on
Wednesday and Xavi understands their reaction. "When things go badly it is normal for supporters to
do this," he said. "I do not think it was only aimed at Thierry and that it was at all the players.
Henry is an example to us because he always trains so well and I do not agree with the critics that
say he is finished. He is a great professional. Players that score goals for a living often have
these runs and the only thing they need to do is recover their confidence as soon as possible."
Playing for Spain reminded Xavi of the way that the Blaugrana perform. "The Spanish team
appeared very similar to Barça," he commented. "I think it will be very difficult to win the World
Cup, but I know it is possible. In any case we have to keep our feet on the ground. I know many
people have us down as favourites, but Spain have never reached the latter stages of the tournament