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Why Luis Enrique took thinly disguised shot at Xavi Hernandez ahead of PSG-Barcelona

It’s not often Luis Enrique surprises in a press conference, given those who know him are aware of his capacity for strong and challenging statements, but few expected him to back up his own work in comparison with that of current Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez so stongly ahead of their clash on the pitch.

The Asturian coach was asked whether his Barcelona team represented the style of play sought by the Catalan club better than that of Xavi Hernandez’s, to which responded that he objectively implemented that style better than Xavi. It could of course been merely to give the press something to talk about but Diario AS say it goes back further than that...READ THE FULL ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE▶▶

They say that the relation between the two was not frosty when Luis Enrique took charge of Barcelona and relegated Xavi to a role largely from the bench, but there was certainly tension at points. The former reportedly told him ‘stay if you like, but don’t get in my way [don’t touch my balls]’.

‘Lucho’ was heavily questioned during his time as Barcelona manager for the style of play he put in place, some claiming it was far too vertical to be considered true to their methodology. When Barcelona went out to Juventus in his final year in charge, Andres Iniesta also explained that Barcelona ‘lacked football’, something which hurt the Asturian – albeit this had little to do with Xavi, who had been in Qatar for two years.

Nevertheless, it makes sense on some level that Luis Enrique, who has never hidden his disdain for the press, wants to make the case that his side played more ‘Barcelona-style’ football than Xavi’s, given the questioning he faced. Undoubtedly over the course of Xavi’s mandate, his side has only produced flowing football in fits and burts, but has not faced the same scrutiny as Luis Enrique did. That said, Barcelona are in a much different situation, with much fewer resources to work with.

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Kylian Walterlin

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