Barcelona boss Xavi claims Real Madrid and Villarreal’s Champions League heroics prove LaLiga ‘is NOT far behind the Premier League’… as he insists they’re not under pressure to win the Europa League after rivals’ success
- Villarreal beat Bayern Munich to progress to the Champions League semi finals
- Real Madrid booked their place after a dramatic second leg against Chelsea
- While the Europa League is Barcelona’s only chance for silverware this season
- But the Catalans’ boss Xavi insisted there was no pressure on his side to win
Real Madrid and Villarreal reaching the Champions League semi finals this week showed the strength of LaLiga, Barcelona manager Xavi said on Wednesday as he eyes a return to Europe’s elite competition next season.
Real knocked out holders Chelsea while Villarreal stunned German champions Bayern Munich to reach the last four of the competition on Tuesday.
Xavi could only watch on as his side are in action on Thursday in the second tier Europa League, hosting Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of their quarter-final.
Barcelona boss Xavi claimed Real Madrid and Villarreal’s Champions League success proves that LaLiga ‘is not far behind the Premier League’
Villarreal progressed to the Champions League semi finals after beating Bayern Munich
However, Xavi praised his Spanish rivals for their progress and said it showed the quality of the league.
‘What happened on Tuesday shows that LaLiga is not far behind the Premier League,’ Xavi told a news conference.
‘No matter what, LaLiga will always be LaLiga and it’s very competitive. I saw both games. I am a soccer fan. And in the end our main goal is to be back in the Champions League.
‘By the way, Villarreal are a big club now, aren’t they? You all should put them on your big clubs list.’
Real Madrid booked their place in the semi final after a dramatic second leg against Chelsea
Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League earlier this season after failing to progress from Group E, winning just two of their group stage games.
But they qualified for the Europa League and now face Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of their quarter final tie on Thursday after a 1-1 draw in the first.
The Europa League represents Barca’s only realistic chance of lifting a trophy this season as Real have a 12 point advantage at the top of the LaLiga standings. Barca are second, level on 30 points with third-placed Sevilla.
Real Madrid are on course to win the LaLiga title as they sit top with a 12 point advantage
However, Xavi denied there was pressure on his side to win silverware due to Real’s form.
‘It is the history of Barca that demands of us, not Madrid,’ the Spanish coach said. ‘We do not look at Real Madrid to mirror ourselves. Our history is our biggest pressure and responsibility.
‘Since (former player and coach) Johan Cruyff came, he set a bar for himself. Win by playing well. This is how we Catalans are. This is how we live it. I don’t know how it is in Madrid. Madrid has a spectacular competitive gene, but Barca is another story.’