'The figure of Pep Guardiola is weighing me down' - Xavi bemoans unfair comparisons with former Barcelona manager

  • Xavi delivered Barca's first title since 2019
  • But style of play has been criticised
  • Barca boss sick of Guardiola comparisons

WHAT HAPPENED? Xavi has enjoyed an impressive first full season as Barca head coach, guiding the club to their first La Liga title since 2019. However, he has faced criticism for his pragmatic style of play, with Barca recording eleven 1-0 wins and 26 clean sheets - the joint-best defensive record in the competition's history. As a player, Xavi was part of Guardiola's legendary Blaugrana side between 2008 and 2012, which was built around a 'tiki-taka' philosophy that delivered unprecedented success. There have been widespread calls for the current Barca boss to take a similar approach, but he is tired of being compared to Guardiola - who is now working wonders at the helm of Manchester City.

WHAT THEY SAID: "The figure of Guardiola is weighing me down as a coach," Xavi said in an interview with Catalan outlet TV3. "I don't think it's fair [to constantly make the comparison]. It happened to me when I was a player as well. Everyone has to turn the page."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite a perceived lack of appreciation for his efforts so far in the Camp Nou dugout, Xavi is ready to commit to a contract extension that will see him remain at Barca through to 2026. Pressed on whether negotiations with the club are progressing well, Xavi replied: "Yes. We will come to an understanding sooner rather than later. I know the club will make as much of an effort as they can and there won't be any problems. I'll end up renewing and hopefully I can continue here for many years."

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Guardiola Xavixavi guardiola(C)Getty Images

Barcelona La Liga trophy 2022-23 Sergio BusquetsGetty

WHAT NEXT? Having already lifted the Primera Division trophy for 2022-23, Barca will look to finish their campaign on a high note when they take in a trip to Celta Vigo on Sunday.