Barcelona star Xavi has spoken positively about his boss Tito Vilanova, insisting that there is a comparison with former coach Pep Guardiola.
The 32-year-old also praised team-mate Lionel Messi, hailing the Argentine superstar as 'the best ever', while stating that his game is better than that of Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Pep and Tito, aside from a few differences in tactical issues, are almost equal. Guardiola was closer in practice, and Vilanova is more distant," the Spain international said in an interview with Radio Catalunya.
"Tito has surprised me, because he looks very prepared, with clear ideas and [keeping] the philosophy of the club intact. Without detracting from Tito, [I] miss Pep. For me, he was a reference as a player and a coach. [He] helped me, and has been a leader in the locker room, and he also gave very strong leadership.
Xavi also gave his opinion on Messi, insisting that the 25-year-old is the best player in history, and that he is a reference point for the team.
He continued: "In the dressing room, Leo Messi is perhaps [one of] the quiet people. An extraordinary person. The number one. For me, he is the best ever, and has surpassed them all. He is the best by far, and his game is much more important than [that of] Cristiano."
The midfielder also took the opportunity to take a swipe at arch-rivals Real Madrid, insisting that Jose Mourinho speculates too much, and will not go down in history.
"I fit into the game of Barca. I have affection [for Mourinho], as he has been here three years, but their football is not what we want. His [Mourinho's] is more [to do with] speculating, of doing the opposite, so I think that will not go down in history."
Xavi is in the Spain squad to face France in Group I of World Cup qualifying on Tuesday. Kick-off is at 21:00CET.