"It saddens me to think that I won’t be able to watch Xavi longer. He’s one of those that made Barcelona. Xavi is football"
UEFA and The Guardian published interviews to former Barça player, Thiago Alcántara, before the first leg of Champions League semifinals between Barça and Bayern. The midfielder talked about his relationship with Guardiola, about his years in Barcelona and he admitted he would have probably stayed in the Blaugrana team if Guardiola had also stayed.
Here you have his best statements:
"He has been always the same, he's always given the same importance to every match, whether it's in the third division, the opening match of the domestic league or the Champions League final. Football is really important to him, he has it inside him."
"He knows how to prepare for opponents. At the same time he has that passion to bring across what he's studied and to convince us that his decisions are right – that this is the way to win the match. That's what makes him such a great coach."
"I have learned a lot from him as a student of the game and as a person. You always have to thank the people who have confidence in you and who want to share their experiences and qualities with you. You learn a bit from everything, and with experience you mature – and it's easy to learn from Pep."
- If Guardiola had stayed at Barcelona, would you? - "Yes, probably, but I can’t change the past and I prefer to focus on now. You learn something new every day with Pep, a magnificent coach who transmits real passion."
The former mates
"Xavi gives a team oxygen. Andrés is more about skill, beating players. Andrés will be around for years, but it saddens me to think that I won’t be able to watch Xavi [longer]. He’s one of those that made Barcelona. Xavi is football."
"Messi is playing further from goal and he’s still scored 40 in the league. If he played in goal he’d score 25. There’s no comparison; he’s the best, a competitive animal."
Back to Camp Nou
"The strongest feelings you can possibly have. But you have to look forward, because when the match comes you have to be 100% focused, so those feelings are something you need to avoid a bit. We want to beat Barça and make it to Berlin. Emotions are not welcome, because we want to go to the Camp Nou to deliver a performance and win."
Memories from Barcelona
"It's the perfect club for any footballer to develop and to grow, because as everybody knows La Masia can give you stability; they take care of you when you leave home. They show you the affection you need when you leave home. You have the chance to study there and it makes you grow as a player and as a person."