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New Barcelona boss Xavi reveals 'good luck' text from Messi & addresses Guardiola comparisons

11:53 AM WAT 09/11/2021
Xavi Barcelona presentation 2021-22
A club legend has also outlined his objectives after succeeding Ronald Koeman in the Camp Nou hot seat

New Barcelona boss Xavi has revealed that he received a "good luck" text from Lionel Messi ahead of his return to the club, while also addressing comparisons between himself and Pep Guardiola.

Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman in the Camp Nou hot seat last week after terminating his contract at Al Sadd, with Barca turning to a club legend to steady the ship after a disappointing start to the 2021-22 campaign.

The 41-year-old, who enjoyed a trophy-laden career in Catalunya as a player, has been wished well in his new position by his former team-mate and friend Messi, but does not regret missing out on the chance to coach the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

What's been said?

Asked if he would have liked to manage Messi, who left Camp Nou after 21 years in the summer before joining Paris Saint-Germain, Xavi told reporters at his official presentation on Monday: “Messi, [Samuel] Eto’o, Ronaldinho, of course, but they are not here. Messi is a great friend, he text me good luck. But we cannot think about the players that are not here.”

The Spaniard added on the rapturous reception he received from Blaugrana supporters upon his return to the club: "I am really excited, I am back at home. We are in a tough situation economically and not in our best sporting moment. But we are Barca and we are the best club in the world.

"I was really emotional to see all the fans today and we have to give them back good football, work seriously and with our values."

Xavi on Guardiola

Xavi went on to play down the similarities that have been drawn between him and former Barca head coach Guardiola, who is currently in charge at Manchester City.

"I have really clear ideas, we are not in our best moment but we want to play good football and get results," he said when quizzed on following in the footsteps of his compatriot and former team-mate.

"If they compare me to Guardiola then it's something very positive, he's the best manager in the world.

"I understand the pressure, I'm at the best club in the world. Expectations are great, we have to work hard to win many trophies."

When is Xavi's first game?

Xavi will take charge of his first game after the international break, with his players still reeling from a stunning 3-3 draw with Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Barca will be back in La Liga action at home to Espanyol on November 20, three days before they play host to Benfica in a must-win Champions League group stage encounter.

Further reading