If you ever watch or read Xavi in conversation about football, you can just tell he’ll become a top-class manager when he retires.
It wouldn’t come as a shock if, one day in the future, he follows in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola by coaching his beloved Barcelona.
Few footballers are more engaging when talking about the beautiful game. Some players aren’t that fussed about football outside of their own careers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth where Xavi is concerned.
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For the time being Xavi is plying his trade in Qatar with Al Sadd following 24 years - stretching from when he joined La Masia in 1991 right through to his final season in 2015 - with Barcelona.
But if he was in Luis Enrique’s shoes, which player would he sign for the Blaugrana?
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Xavi would sign Riyad Mahrez for Barcelona
Xavi was asked this exact question by ShortList Magazine, who told the legendary midfielder to pick one player from the Premier League to slot into the current Barça first team.
And although the 36-year-old has been very complimentary about Bournemouth’s new loan signing Jack Wilshere in recent days, it wasn’t the England international who the Catalan named.
Instead, it was the current PFA Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez.
“[Riyad] Mahrez is good enough to play for Barcelona, but I am pleased he decided to stay with Leicester,” Xavi responded. “He clearly must have had options, but if Leicester had lost their best player after such a big achievement it would have been a shame.
“It will be interesting to see how him and Leicester perform in Europe this season."
Leicester need Mahrez to return to his best
Indeed, Mahrez was linked with a move to Barcelona - among other top European clubs - throughout the summer following a remarkable 2015-16 campaign with the Foxes.
The Algeria international scored 17 goals and registered 11 assists last season but put an end to the intense speculation over his future last month by signing a new four-year contract with the Premier League champions.
Mahrez has so far failed to replicate the same form he displayed last term, although he did score in Leicester’s opening fixture of the 2016-17 season against Hull City.
Claudio Ranieri will be hoping his star man returns to his brilliant best after the international break.
Is Riyad Mahrez really good enough for a team like Barcelona? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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