Xavi: Catalonia would be among top 10 teams in the world


Xavi believes Catalonia would be “among the top 10 or 15 sides in the world” if they were allowed to take part in FIFA competitions.

The region in the north-east of Spain is set to hold a referendum on independence next September – irrespective of whether it’s granted by Spain’s national government – which means they could soon be recognised as a new member of the world game’s governing body.

And former Barcelona midfielder Xavi reckons they have the players to make their mark on the global stage.

Barcelona stars Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets missed Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with Tunisia in Girona but club team-mates Jordi Masip and Sergi Roberto did play, alongside Espanyol duo Marc Roca and Gerard Moreno.

“The Catalan national team would be among the best 10 or 15 sides in the world,” Al Sadd man Xavi told reporters.

“This national team is a true reflection of the level you can currently find in Catalan sport. There’s no doubt that we are a power in a number of different specialities.”

Xavi, now 36, has played 12 times for Catalonia and refused to rule out coaching the side in the future.

He added: “You never know. You can never close any door. It’s very early to start making predictions but it’s one of the ideas, coming home to coach in Barcelona, in Catalonia. It’s my home and I feel very comfortable there.

“I always feel happy when I return home and it’s a source of genuine pride to play for the national team.

“We were against a great side in Tunisia and they were at an excellent level.

“We played our own football, always attacking, enjoying having the ball, looking to entertain. In short, what is genuinely ours, what we have learned from teachers like Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola.”