Lionel Messi expects big things from Xavi as Barcelona coach

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Lionel Messi is looking forward to seeing what former teammate Xavi can do in the dugout at Camp Nou.

Xavi took control of Barcelona earlier this month after Ronald Koeman was sacked, with the former midfielder set to steer Blaugrana back to the top of the La Liga table after an unconvincing start to the campaign.

Messi obviously knows Xavi well, after spending ten years with him in the first team at the Camp Nou, and he admitted to Marca that he expects great things from his old teammate.

“He can contribute a lot,” Messi said. “He is a coach who knows a lot, knows the club perfectly and who has lived in Barcelona since he was a child.

“He has renewed the illusion in Barcelona because he is someone who is highly respected by fans and players. He will be a very important coach for the younger footballers because he will teach them. With him, the team will grow a lot. I do it have no doubt.

“I talk a lot with Xavi, then forever. We are friends, we have shared many things and since he left we have kept in touch. I do not remember what I said to him in his welcome message, I congratulated him on this new step and wished him luck.

“I’m sure he will do very well because he knows a lot, is a hard worker and knows the club perfectly.”

Messi also took the opportunity to defend former boss Koeman and admitted that the Dutchman took much of the blame for everything that went wrong at the club.

“It’s always unfair to coaches,” he continued. “It was unfair to Koeman, too [Ernesto] Valverde …

“When there are bad results, the easiest thing is to focus on the coach, change him and not the players. Koeman came to a very difficult time when important players left, but he was able to get through many young players.

“Like I said, the easiest thing is always to blame the coach, and they know that too because it’s their job.”

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