Avid followers of Barcelona will probably tell you that Xavi Hernandez has said some regrettable things in the past, and they prefer him to “do the talking on the pitch”. Well, the charismatic midfielder – one of the best players of this generation – recently spoke up about his interesting friendship with Iker Casillas, which dates back to when they were both starting out for Spain in 2002. Warms your cold heart now, doesn’t it?!
“I’m big friends with Iker Casillas, and they even gave the two of us an award (The Prince of Asturias Award for Sport). You can see that friendship when we play together. As well as putting our rivalry to one side in the national team, we also forget about our friendship when we’re playing for our respective clubs, though we never lose our cool or our respect for each other.” – Xavi
Aside from his weekly hobby of mushroom picking which we promise to ask him about next time, Xavi also admitted to having a bit of Jorge Valdano in him (what’s with all the Madridismo, love?!) Valdano, of course, loved to read books in the dressing room when he was at Real Madrid.
“I like to read the papers. I make my living from football and I like to know what’s going on. Obviously there are a lot of different opinions out there, but we live in a democracy and you have to respect every point of view, whether you agree with it or not.”
“It’s always been that way. I’ve spent my whole life at Barcelona and it’s a football war. Some people use it to sell things but it’s good for football, the league and the national team. To be honest it makes you proud that we’ve got such big teams here.” – Xavi
More interestingly, Xavi admitted that Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova’s style are a lot more similar than you’d expect, despite the fact that they have different personalities.
“They’re very similar. We’ve had a bit more fortune this year but we’ve been working more or less the same way, which is what you’d expect. Tito was Pep’s assistant coach and they worked a lot together. They’re different characters but the training sessions are pretty much the same, the system is the same and our desire undiminished. It’s been a case of continuity, in every sense of the word.”