Pellegrini: Messi scores goals, but Xavi makes the difference for Barcelona

The Chilean trainer admits that while Messi's goalscoring record is impressive, the midfielder's knowledge and understanding of the game is what inspires Barcelona's success
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini has lauded Barcelona playmaker Xavi, claiming the 32-year-old is a class above the rest.

The Andalusians are set to face the Catalan giants on Sunday and although Xavi's team-mate Lionel Messi grabs the headlines, the Chilean feels it is Xavi who could have a major say in how the weekend's encounter goes.

“Messi demonstrated in every game why he won the Ballon d'Or,” the 59-year-old told reporters.

“But I have always said that what makes Barcelona great is Xavi. He is what truly makes the difference.

“I know that Messi scores a great number of goals, but it is the Xavi philosophy that is so important.”

Pellegrini's side host the league leaders, who are 21 points ahead of their opponents, while Malaga have conceded 15 goals in their last four meetings with the Blaugrana.

Despite this, Pellegrini still insists his side can get something from the game.

“In football the percentages don't matter,” he added. “Things change – every game is different. We have to go in and believe that we can win.

“It is our obligation to play a good game. We are two teams that treat the ball better than any other side.

“When we face a very good team, we have a lot of motivation, so I can see us doing well.”