Pep Guardiola Praises Record Setting Xavi After Victory Over Levante

Guardiola was happy enough with his side's display, and had special praise for record-breaking Xavi after the Christmas break.
Barcelona overcame a resilient Levante side at the Camp Nou thanks to a brace from Pedro. Speaking to after the game Guardiola had special praise for Xavi, making his 549th appearence for the Catalan club, matching Migueli's record.

"This game belongs to Xavi. I reached 300 matches and that seemed an outrage. Migueli played 549 and retired at 38. But Xavi is 30 years of age and has played 549 games...Xavi will surpass Migueli, I would not be surprised if he managed to reach 700 games."

Guardiola went on to speak about the game: "We always treat the opponent with the utmost respect. We knew that Levante were going to be difficult to break down, because they would want to react to their 8-0 loss at the Bernabeu. They changed to a 4-5-1 formation, and played disciplined. It was a difficult game to come back to after the holidays. At 2-1 they tried to turn our win into a draw. We did not play badly, but it was a warning.

Despite the record-matching feat of Xavi, it is Pedro that was the man of the moment with two goals, deputising for the absent Lionel Messi.

"Pedro is very important. He is in the form of his life and does almost everything brilliantly, he is a very fine player. When he is near the area he is like Messi, in that he only sees the goal. But he works very hard for the team as well," continued the Blaugrana boss.

Barca play the return leg in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday versus Athletic Bilbao and Guardiola called it their "final" already, after the 0-0 draw before the Christmas break. He will be hoping that his side will find their top gear to continue fighting on all fronts.

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