Xavi Hernández during a promotional event /PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Guardiola or Messi? Who is most important to Barça, according to Xavi Hernández? "Why pick between the two if they could both still be at Barça for many more years?" he asked at a promotional event. Messi had said the day before that he reckons Guardiola is more important to the club, but putting things into perspective, Xavi feels that "Guardiola has given us a lot as a coach, both to the Club and the footballers, while it's Messi who makes the difference." As for the coach's future at Barça, the midfielder believes that "Guardiola is a fundamental part of all this. I think he's happy, he's enjoying himself. He's as competitive as ever, and from here on, it's his decision. I think he'll renew".

Xavi insists that the players aren't even contemplating the possibility of a change of manager. "He leads the squad" he said. "It is him who orders things, who imposes discipline, and does the tactical and psychological work".

No talk of referees

One of the issues filling the pages of the sports dailies is one Xavi would rather see forgotten. "Too much is being said about referees. We don't want to talk about referees. We're self-critical. If we're ten points behind it's our own fault. We're doing things well, but perhaps not as well as in previous years."

Valued more highly abroad

Xavi also gets the impression that the successes achieved by FC Barcelona, winning 13 out of 16 possible titles, are not getting the recognition they deserve in the local media. "It seems that the Barça-Madrid war, in footballing terms, doesn't allow our successes to be seen. I think they appreciate us more outside of Spain", he said.

Still in the Liga chase

Xavi also insists that "we haven't given up on the league and we'll fight until the end, until we have no mathematical hope left. Madrid can slip up in any game. We are both finding it hard to win matches, especially away from home. I think Madrid are more likely to drop points away from home".

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