Xavi talks Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, De Jong, Pedri, Lewandowski

Edwin  - CEO February 20, 2024
Updated 2024/02/21 at 12:16 AM
5 Min Read
Deadly duo. (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
Deadly duo. (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Ahead of Napoli vs Barcelona


Photo by CARLO HERMANN/AFP via Getty Images


Barcelona has been looking much better since Xavi announced his decision to resign from the club once the season ends, winning three of their last four games, Udhav Arora reports for Barça Universal.


While the defensive problems persist, the Catalans seem to be playing without much pressure, with Robert Lewandowski in much better form now.


However, they will have a mountain to climb tomorrow as they visit Southern Italy to take on Napoli in the Champions League round of 16 first leg.


Xavi spoke to the media ahead of the clash, saying, “For tomorrow, we have enthusiasm and hope. It is the ideal scenario to play a great game against a Naples team that changed the coach before the game.”


“It is not easy to prepare for a match like this. We are facing the current Serie A champion.”


“Napoli have surprisingly changed their coach 24 hours before the game. With the change of coach, we don’t know what the match will bring,” Xavi added.


On Osimhen, Kvara, Pedri, Lewandowski, and de Jong


Xavi noted Napoli’s incredible duo from last season, Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. The latter has also recently been linked with Barcelona, with the club reportedly looking to sign a left-winger this summer.


“Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia are top-level players.”


“Kvaratskhelia is one of the best players in his position. We’ll need to pay attention to him.”


“It is crucial for us to defend well tomorrow. It’s difficult to stop Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, and Politano,” he said.


As far as his team is concerned, Xavi name-checked three players for the game: Robert Lewandowski, Frenkie de Jong, and Pedri.


“For Lewandowski, Frenkie, and Pedri, it’s a perfect stage to show their talent and personality. For me, as a coach, as well. Robert is a leader; he has shown again what he is.”


Regarding de Jong, the midfielder spoke to the media before Xavi’s presser and did not hold back on the media trying to portray him as a villain. He slammed down rumors of his salary and any potential departure.


“The words of Frenkie de Jong? I understand Frenkie perfectly; any footballer suffers injustice. For me he is fundamental, I think he is a player for many years to come. He is a key player,” Xavi defended him.


We don’t blame the media for the results, but sometimes you indeed feel injustice when they say things that are not true. In this sense, the footballers take it out on themselves. But we have to play better and compete better. We understand that, but other things are unfair.”


On Barcelona’s preparation


Xavi also spoke about Barcelona’s objective for tomorrow, how they are preparing for the game, and how they will treat the first-leg since it is away from home.


“Under pressure for tomorrow? I am very motivated. We have to prepare for the game so that the players play as well as possible. The pressure is the same as always; it’s the pressure of Barça.”


“We have to prepare for the game knowing that there are 90 minutes left in Montjuïc in the second leg. But that doesn’t change our DNA. We have to defend well and have the ball.”


He concluded his press conference by saying, “We will go out to win tomorrow. A draw is not a good result for Barça; that’s how I was raised. Although we must remember that we play the second leg at Montjuïc.”


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