“I’d like us to be the team with most titles”
Now in his thirteenth season at the club, Xavi Hernández knows the club as well as any and in this second part of his exclusive interview, he reveals what it takes to be a success at the Nou Camp.
“We feel this Barça as our own and we all want things to work out right”, he explains.
- A couple of years ago you said: “if you think you are irreplaceable in this Barça,
you are dead”. Don’t you feel irreplaceable right now?
No, no, no. You could see that the other day. The way we play is always the same and it
doesn’t need this or that player to make it work. Obviously, if Messi’s not there,
we’ll miss him, as we would Iniesta, Villa or Puyol, because they are important players, but
none of us is irreplaceable.
- You must have to work hard at that humility, now you’ve won so much.
- I think it’s something you have inside of you. It’s also a
lot to do with the family you come from. That’s the way we are here, self effacing and hard
working people. Even though we’ve won so much, we still enjoy the training, I sometimes think
it’s still like been in the youth teams – there are so many of us in the team who feel
the club as if it’s our own and we all want it to work out well. We are very happy and that
attitude of humility and hard work must never be lost.
- Do you think it’s maybe key to this team that there are 20 of you in the squad who
are mad about football and play each game as if it’s your last?
That’s fundamental. We have to always have that way of doing things and that
enthusiasm. We’ve got it and Pep demands it of us. It’s a luxury and a privilege to be
able to go to work at Can Barça.
- It’s often said the manager has to be a psychologist to get the group to work, but
do you think we also need players with the same skills?
- Yes, it’s important for instance that the players who have been
here longer help those who are just coming in. We are four captains in the squad, but everybody has
a voice and nobody is really above anybody else. We believe in all the group members and we try and
discuss things openly and let everybody have their say. When somebody is having difficulties, those
of us who have been here longer try and help and stick together.
- Would you say this is the squad you feel most comfortable in?
- Yes, I feel very happy, There’s a good atmosphere and they are a great group of
people. The truth is we work fantastically well together. Getting on is very important and here
there’s a very good feeling between us all.
- Most of Guardiola’s assistants are Catalans and come from the same background
–is that important?
- Pep is very intelligent and he knows how to surround himself with very
competent people. The Doctor is the best Doctor for Barça, the kit man, the physio .... it’s
all the same story You get the feeling there could be nobody better for the job and that’s
fantastic for us.
- I’ve got to ask you about the World Player of the Year Award. Many people are
tipping you, but you always say that Messi deserves it.
- I’m not lying. There is one player who is a class above the
rest. I would say I’ve never seen a player like him in my life. He’s immensely superior
and as Pep says, he dominates all areas of the game. He’s fast, brave, strong –
he’s got everything! I guess there’s maybe one like him every 50 years, so if we have
to choose the best – it’s Messi. If we have to choose who’s had a good year and
won titles....well, I don’t know, maybe one of the Spanish team deserve it. Messi is a class
above the rest, but it would be good to see a Spanish player with at Barça style we’ve got.
For me, it’s simply a privilege and a luxury to be even considered for the award.
- Have you never imagined yourself picking up the award?
- No, really, I haven’t. Of course It’d be great – it would be a tremendous
personal recognition and I’d love it, but it’s not something you dream about - I dream
of playing with Barça and winning Champions Leagues, League titles and so on.
- Are you aware that you have become a Barça myth and soon you’ll overtake Migueli in
- Yes, that’s one of my goals – I’d like to overtake Migueli, he’s a
myth at the club. It’s exciting to think that I could be the player with most games played
and that’s one of the objectives that I enjoy, like being part of a team who win more titles
than any other - I’m very competitive and I like that kind of thing .