What Barcelona legend Xavi said about Marco Verratti in 2015

Marco Verratti & Xavi

Paris Saint-Germain welcome Barcelona to the Parc des Princes this evening in one of the most eagerly anticipated clashes of all the Champions League Round of 16 ties.

Both clubs are defending champions in France and Spain respectively, however PSG are currently three points behind Ligue 1 leaders Monaco, while Barca are a point behind Real Madrid, having played two games more.

Someone who will be keen to make an impression over the two legs is Marco Verratti, who has long spoken about his admiration for the Catalan giants.

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Classy Verratti

The Paris star admitted in 2015 that he likes Barcelona's style of play, and there's no doubt that the 24-year-old midfielder possesses the technical attributes to flourish at the Camp Nou.

Sometimes left frustrated by new boss Unai Emery over the course of the campaign, Verratti, who moved to the French capital from Pescara in 2012, has made 26 appearances for his club this term, scoring two goals and providing four assists.

The central midfield maestro may be just 5 ft 5 inches tall, but he's developed into a classy deep-lying playmaker blessed with top-class technique, vision, agility and creativity as well as outstanding close control and dribbling skills.

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Verratti on Barcelona

Ahead of tonight's game, the Italy international admitted, via Goal: "Even though I am currently in a good project and I feel at home (at PSG), any player would play for Barcelona.

"They have the three best players in attack, and (Andres) Iniesta too. Iniesta, (Lionel) Messi and Neymar create a move in a second."

Much is made of the devastating "MSN" trio at the moment, but that's in part due to the fact that Barcelona no longer have what was considered as the finest midfield in football history.

Xavi is gone, captain Iniesta has been riddled with injury problems this term and is 33 in May, and with the exception of Sergio Busquets, Luis Enrique's three midfield positions have been up for grabs this season.

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Is he the perfect fit for Barca?

Verratti would certainly fit the mould of a Barcelona player, especially the style they play under Enrique, where their transitional play is much quicker and they're more aggressive off the ball.

In fact, many see the Italian as the ideal long-term successor to Xavi. So, here's what the Spanish legend said about his fellow midfielder back in December 2015.

"I love Verratti. I like his vision of the game. He never loses the ball. He would fit well in the Barca game. I'd like to see him at Barcelona."

The World Cup winner also added: "He's one of the best midfielders in the world, and plays a little bit in the same way as I tried to do with Barcelona and the national team.

Juventus v FC Barcelona  - UEFA Champions League Final

"He likes having the ball. He also has perfect mastery over long and short passing, he can play the final ball, and he doesn't lose the ball that easily. He's really a very high-class player."

Goal have reported that Verratti will be one of Barcelona's transfer targets this summer and, judging by those glowing words from Xavi, it's more than likely that he'd be a huge success were he to move to the Nou Camp at some stage in his blossoming career.

Do YOU agree with Xavi? Is Verratti good enough to play for Barcelona? Leave YOUR opinion in the comments box below!

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