Pep Guardiola sends classy message to Xavi after appearance at Barcelona unveiling

Pep Guardiola set the bar high for his successors in the Camp Nou hot seat with astonishing spell as Barcelona manager, but he insists Xavi does not need to be his “heir”

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Xavi unveiled as new Barcelona manager

Pep Guardiola has reassured Xavi that he does not need to be his “heir” at Barcelona after his appointment as manager last week.

Xavi, 41, left his role with Qatari club Al Sadd to return to Camp Nou as Ronald Koeman’s replacement following the Dutchman’s sacking in late October.

The legendary former midfielder spent four breathtaking years playing under Guardiola at Barcelona and the duo won every trophy available to them.

The Spaniards were also teammates at Barca for a brief spell at the turn of the century and they have a close bond to this day.

Guardiola set the bar high for subsequent Blaugrana bosses with his astonishing spell in the hot seat after making the step up from Barcelona B in 2008.

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Xavi and Pep Guardiola share a close bond



The duo won every trophy available to them


EFE/PA Images)

There are parallels between the early stages of the 50-year-old’s managerial career and Xavi’s, as the latter has just two years of coaching experience upon taking the Barcelona job.

However, Guardiola insists his former player should feel no added pressure and he is adamant the “situation” in Catalonia will improve.

“I wasn’t the heir to anybody and Xavi doesn’t have to be my heir,” the Manchester City boss said at a charity golf tournament.

“If [Barcelona president] Joan Laporta and the board have chosen Xavi then it’s because there are millions of pros and few cons.

“He knows the club and will bring positive energy, given how he enjoys football and because of his dedication. He always sees the positive side of things.

“With his class, dedication and effort, I’m sure he’ll improve the club’s situation.”

Xavi will be relieved to hear Guardiola’s encouraging words, as the situation he has inherited at Barcelona is bleak to say the least.

The European giants have slumped to ninth in La Liga having won just four of their 12 games this season, while they threw away a three-goal lead against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

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Making matters worse, Barca’s attack has been decimated by injuries to Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite.

Xavi will need to work miracles to match Guardiola’s feat of winning the treble in his first season as Barcelona manager, but insists he will give everything to the role.

“We have to work a lot every single day. We’re Barcelona, best club in the world,” he said. “This is the only way to get big results. We want to play a good football.

“If they compare me with Guardiola, it’s more than positive. Pep’s the best manager in the world.”

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