Xavi Hernández sat down with beIN Sports’ Jorge Valdano last night to speak at length about the LaLiga title race, Johann Cruyff, Simeone and Cristiano Ronaldo.
On the topic of Diego Simeone, the ex-Spain international praised the Atleti boss’ ability to get the best out of his players, “Simeone’s leadership skills are second to none”.
However, the 36-year-old then noted how the Argentine coach practices “a different style of football” before launching into a critical attack of the rojiblancos, “A big team like Barcelona should not be playing like Atlético Madrid. Big teams like Barcelona and Madrid should always stick to their own style. You cannot start playing like Atlético”.
Atlético’s playing style: “I don’t like watching sides close up shop. Simeone’s greatest attribute is that he perfectly sets his team up to counter their opponents' strengths”.
Doubts about turning to management: “I have my doubts. Should I become a manager or a sporting director? I think you have to be drawn to the role and for now I’m still focused on competing as a player here in Qatar”.
Luis Enrique: “The atmosphere he has created in the dressing room is perfect. There are no problems in terms of team spirit”.
His comments about Cristiano: “My comments were misinterpreted. It’s impossible for an elite footballer not to be intelligent. Cristiano has a better relationship with the goal and Messi has a better relationship with the game”.
Guardiola and Cruyff: “Guardiola was a master as far as I was concerned; Cruyff established a very clear philosophy at Barcelona, he gave birth to that philosophy, he created Barça’s DNA”.