Xavi: Four years ago I was Barcelona's cancer; Rijkaard didn't believe in me

The Spanish playmaker has taken a swipe at his former coach, saying that the 49-year-old's methods prevented him from showing his true qualities
Spain international Xavi has slammed former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard, saying that the Dutchman had an excessive physical approach to the game.

Rijkaard took charge of the Catalan giants between 2003 and 2008, leading the club to two La Liga titles and one Champions League crown, among other trophies.

Xavi believes that the 49-year-old gave more importance to physique than to talent, which made him grow unhappy in the squad.

"Rijkaard did not believe in me," he told L'Equipe. "He wanted our game to be based on a superior physical level.

"He believed that it was the only way to be at the same level as the top clubs in Europe.

"Four or five years ago, I was [deemed] terrible and useless. I was Barca's cancer! A player 1,70m tall was simply impossible."