Xavi: Barcelona are underappreciated in Spain because of Real Madrid rivalry

The 32-year-old is of the opinion that the club's achievements recently continue to be undervalued domestically because so many of the nation's football fans support Los Blancos
Xavi believes that Barcelona do not get the recognition they deserve in Spain due to their intense rivalry with Real Madrid.

The Catalans have won 13 titles over the past three-and-a-half seasons and are the current world, European and La Liga champions.

However, Xavi feels that they are underappreciated within Spain because so many of the nation's football fans are Madrid supporters.

"Barca's victories are more valued outside of Spain than in Spain, but it's because of the Barca-Madrid war that we have here," the midfielder told reporters at a press conference.

Meanwhile, Xavi remains optimistic that coach Pep Guardiola, who is out of contract at the end of the season, will stay at Camp Nou, admitting that the players do not want to even consider the prospect of losing their mentor.

"We are not prepared for a 'no' from Guardiola," the Spain international confessed. "We hope that he will continue.

"Guardiola is the leader of the dressing room. He has brought discipline, he has turned us into winners. I think he will carry on."

Guardiola spent 11 years of his playing career at Barca before returning to take charge of the senior squad in 2008, after a season at the helm of the club's B team.

Since November, Goal.com has been publishing exclusive extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated new book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World'. The very last extract, which was published last Friday, looks at Andres Iniesta's risky return from injury in the 2009 Champions League Final and how he was described by Wayne Rooney as the 'best midfielder in the world'. Don't miss it!