Xavi Hernández has spoken to Mundo Deportivo about the start to Tito Vilanova’s first season in charge and admits that “the league is going well for us” after the draw at home to Real Madrid ensured that they stay eight points clear of their main rivals and equal with Atlético Madrid. But despite considering that lead to be impressive, the midfielder also pointed out that "there’s still a long way to go, but we’d have settled for an eight-point lead at this stage ".
Xavi went on to say that "with Tito very little has changed. The thing is that it sometimes depends on how the opposition plays. Every year they are dropping further back, we are practically playing with three quarters of the pitch to ourselves. And that makes things difficult if you can’t get an early goal". The main difference between Guardiola and Vilanova "is personality, the way they get things across, although the philosophy hasn’t been touched. Tito has been with us and Pep for four years”.
Messi and his renewal
It is eight years since Messi made his first team debut against Espanyol, and Xavi is still being amazed by his team-mate. "Leo, when he doesn’t score, provides two or three assists … I’ve said it many times, he’s the best, the number one, The Ballon d’Or? If you have to pick the best, then it’s Messi, although I feel sorry for Andrés and Iker". On his renewal this year, Xavi said "I am happy, I want to stay here for years, the club has already contacted me and there have never been problems. I’m calm because they’re happy with me and I am happy here too. I’m a big Barça man, and I want to retire here at Barça".
On Tito: "He used to be very quiet, in the background, and now he’s in charge and he’s doing very well. He gets a lot across and his philosophy is the Barça one"
On Abidal: "He is an example for us all, for children, for us too. He is an example for life. I’m very happy for him”
On Pedro: "He is playing and training marvellously. And then there is everything he does for the team. He creates pressure, intensity, dynamism. He deserves what’s happening because he’s been playing at such a high level for so long”