Xavi reveals what it means to win the Super Cup, swap for Depay and what he had to say about Real Madrid

2023-01-14

Winning the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid “would mean a lot to us”, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez assured this Saturday, recalling that they have not lifted the trophy for a long time.

“He’s a very strong competitor in all aspects,” Xavi told a press conference ahead of the Super Cup final, where the two will play Sunday in Riyadh.

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“He has a very competitive gene in the finals and we will try to match him. We are very motivated,” he added.

“The title means a lot to us and even more against Madrid. Whatever happens, the season will continue, but when you have a title in your pocket, everything changes”, the Barca coach emphasized.

“It’s been a long time since we won titles. We have to show our will, it’s non-negotiable”, insisted Xavi, “Tomorrow is a great opportunity, to use all five senses to reach this end, which excites us especially, Madrid. It means a lot to Barcelona fans.

The Barca coach avoided playing the parallel in the first league classic, which Real Madrid won 3-1 last October.

“It’s different. We came at different times and now we have a whole team,” he explained.

“We will try to show our personality and from there, control their transitions and disarm them in the defense where they are very strong,” he added.

Asked about VAR and the introduction of semi-automatic offside for the first time in this competition, which led to a Barca goal disallowance in Thursday’s semi-final against Betis, Xavi was in favor.

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“With VAR, the sauce of football, the sauce of celebration, is lost a bit, but on the other hand, it’s beautiful. I love the justice of VAR,” he said.

Full press conference

How do you see Madrid?

As always, very strong physically and tactically. Very strong in changes. He is a great competitor. It is the strongest competitor in the league, the European champion. It’s always Madrid, which is special in that it has a competitive gene in the final. We have to match it. We are motivated and excited. The title means a lot to us, and more to the competitor. Whatever happens tomorrow we have to carry on. But if he has the title in his pocket, it gives hope.

Mood is also important. Are Barça under too much pressure to win?

The psychological aspect is important and they have an advantage and more experience. But hunger should give us strength. It’s been a long time since we won the title, so we have to be hungry as we told the players against Betis. The youth must show hunger and veterans, type and experience. I see this hunger to win titles as an advantage.

Barca play well for the first few minutes but then get cut off.

There are things that always worry me. The game is never perfect. We should try to minimize mistakes. But there is always a competitor who can trouble you. You have to press on.

Do you prefer semi-automatic offside?

There are two things. Also in VAR you lose the football, the celebration… but on the other hand it’s fair and I like justice. Less descriptive plays, others as impeccable as offside. But I like the fairness of VAR.

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Madrid still had a day off. Should I change this?

Yes, we can do it next year. This would be very reasonable, but it is not an excuse. In principle they are all available, tomorrow final. Even if he is half injured, he must stay there. When you start playing soccer as a kid, that’s what it’s for. To play the final against Madrid. We are neither afraid nor worried. We face a golden opportunity to win a title that means a lot in the middle of the season. So move on to the Super Cup.

Do you feel like you’re facing a non-negotiable opportunity?

Winning at Barça is non-negotiable and titles are the goal. Same if it’s another competitor. We will follow them with enthusiasm and encouragement.

What does winning a title mean to you and have you learned from last year?

I have already said that I do not prioritize myself. I prioritize Barça. Barça is more important than anyone else. I am coach and as a responsible person I will try to plan it well. But tomorrow is a great opportunity. Being Madrid, we will be very excited.

How are you going to harass the players?

Well that’s one. I would trade for one of them, even if it was on the bench. That’s why we play. For people, feeling good is important. I’m motivated for tomorrow. It’s a shame as you struggle a lot as a coach. I was angry the other day because I don’t know if the footballers believe that they should not be 2-2 in the game and they know that they are facing a final.

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Would you consider 3-1?

is different. We come at different times. Let’s try to show our personality. Show our sports model and protect them in the best possible way.

He played in several Super Bowls… do you remember anything like this?

We have the duty of this title. We are Barca and we are here to win it.

What qualities does Araujo have to play as a right back?

Defensively he is extraordinary. It’s a huge concealer for us, especially on Madrid Day.

Need a poet?

This passion and this intensity is always necessary. Let’s see if we can play with four midfielders, two wingers and three. Let’s see how to do it depending on how the competitor attacks. He gives us so much. I haven’t decided. We will choose. I don’t think it’s about individuality. The main thing is to prepare well for the game. Often it is not a question of names. Many things can change.

Ancelotti has not lost a final since 2010.

It gives me a lot of confidence… (laughs). But I look forward to the truth with inspiration. It was hard for us to get here and if Ancelotti hasn’t lost a final since 2010, that motivates me even more.

Did you ask Carrasco if Memphis was leaving?

I’ve already said that I don’t want anyone to leave. If someone wants and asks to leave, you have to cover and you have to compensate for this potential loss.

Wilmot Chandler

"Explorer. Web specialist. Beer practitioner. Alcoholaholic. Social media geek. Introvert. Food lover. Future teen idol."

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