Xavi Hernandez explained how they received the news of the return of Tito Vilanova to training. The Barça number 6, who recognised that he hadn't expected Tito's return so soon, said "it was a pleasant surprise, the best possible surprise for the squad". He added that his recovery "it's an extra, and spectacular, motivation" not only coming into the clásico, but with regard to life in general. In this sense, Xavi said that Tito Vilanova had a chat with them in which "he gave us a lot of encouragement, he told us about his experience, and that we should value where we are" he said.
If one Barça player knows what it's like to play in a clásico it's Xavi Hernandez. On Saturday Xavi could play his 13th league match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, and he would like the game to be "open, with both teams going for it, where one can see the potential of both teams". Although they're going to Madrid three points behind Mourinho's team, and with a game more than them, Xavi said that "means nothing as far as this game is concerned......the clásicos have nothing to do with the table, nor how either team are doing. Anything can happen".
Winning at Madrid is "a pleasure"
Xavi is aware that whatever happens on Saturday at the Bernabeu, the League title will not be decided. However, he knows that a win in Madrid would be important. "It's always nice to win at the Bernabeu and even more so looking at the table. It would be a turning point for us". He stressed that "to go and win at the Bernabeu is a footballing pleasure".
Lets just talk about football
One of the things that Xavi wants, once the clásico is over, is that only the football is talked about, and not any controversial incidents like in recent games against Madrid. Xavi, who thinks that of the last three or four years "this is the clásico that we're coming to in our best form", he thinks the game will be "very physical" but if "we impose our philosophy on the pitch we have much to gain".
On whether Barça will play with a three or four man defence, Xavi said "we played with three defenders in Milan and it went very well. It's a system that when you have the ball you have more players forward, but when you don't, you leave spaces at the back. Everything depends on having the ball". So, the midfielder doesn't discount this option at the Bernabeu. "It's possible, with the players that we currently have".
The squad, guarantee for the future
Xavi was able to enjoy the great team display on Tuesday against BATE, with a Barça team full of young reserve team players. The midfielder said: "They enjoyed themselves, and so did we. It's great that we have such a squad and that the manager is not afraid to play them". This means, according to Xavi, that "it's a guarantee of the good health that Barça is in today". He added that "Barça has a great future and there are lots of youngsters ready to compete for places in the first team".
Happy to be a finalist for the Golden Ball
For the third consecutive year Xavi Hernandez is one of the three finalists to win the FIFA Golden Ball. Xavi is "very pleased and happy to be nominated. It gives me great pride". He's not losing any sleep that he'll end his career without ever having won this award, despite being nominated in more than one occasion. "I'm just proud to be there. It will always stay with me, and is something I'd never dreamed of as a child. Then, my goal was to make my way in football, play for Barça, and play international football, "he concluded.