Xavi believes LaLiga is almost as strong as the Premier League

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Xavi has claimed that Real Madrid’s and Villarreal’s Champions League performances show that LaLiga’s strength is close to the Premier League.

Madrid defeated English and defending European champions Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday to reach the Champions League semi-finals, despite losing 3-2 last night, while Villarreal shocked Bayern Munich 2-1 overall after a 1-1 draw at home. Allianz Arena to advance as well.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Barcelona’s own European League quarter-final against Eintracht Frankfurt, Xavi questioned what he believes is the consensus that the Premier League is a “much higher level” compared to Spain.

“Yesterday I thought LaLiga was not that far away from the Premier League,” said the Blaugrana head coach. “There is this debate that the Premier League is a much higher level than LaLiga. We have two Spanish clubs in the semi-finals.

“People say it’s not hard to play in LaLiga, but the Premier League is not far from LaLiga.”

Despite being eliminated from the group stage of the Champions League earlier this season, the Barca boss expressed enthusiasm for competing in the Europa League, although he insisted the club want to be back in Europe’s leading competition as soon as possible.

“It’s not quite as highly rated as the Champions League, but it’s a European title that we’m excited to play for,” he said. “The team is motivated and ready.

“We are working on getting back into the Champions League. Yesterday we had to watch from home and it was painful for us but we need to use it to motivate ourselves to be back there.”

Barca center-back Eric Garcia also spoke to the media on Wednesday, comparing Xavi to club legend Pep Guardiola, who Garcia has previously played for in Manchester City.

Asked about Xavi’s influence since his arrival in November, Garcia said: “He shows us a lot with the ball and our distribution.

“He and Pep are pretty similar in this way. Xavi is very close to the players, he talks a lot with you and gives you advice, which is very important for the players.

“It’s a shame we’ve only had a few months with him, but there’s a lot of hope for the future ahead of us with him.”





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