BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona midfielder Xavi says he would relish the chance to follow the example of Pep Guardiola and coach the club one day.
Xavi replaced Guardiola on the pitch as the midfield playmaker having been promoted to the first team by then coach Louis van Gaal and now with his playing days coming to an end he would jump at the opportunity to coach the Catalan club.
“Hopefully I can (follow Guardiola) and even more so in my home here,” Xavi told El Pais.
Bayern Munich coach Guardiola took over the reigns at Barcelona in 2008 and won three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in four years while making tiki-taka, their quick passing football, famous.
“My playing days are numbered, that is clear. I can feel it in my body as it is difficult for me to recover and I need to measure how much effort I am putting in,” said Xavi.
“I don’t have the same sharpness to play every three days any more.”
Xavi has been a key player in a golden generation for Barcelona and Spain but he says it was not easy at the start being compared to Guardiola.
“Everyone was saying I was going to be the new hero and it was tough. This made a difference to me as it meant I went out trying to be my own person while everyone else said I was the new Guardiola,” he said.
“You grow up quickly as footballers as you are being judged all the time. It is life, and it is the case from when you are young.”
Xavi retired from international football after Spain’s disappointing group stage exit at this year’s World Cup and says he had planned to go after La Roja won back-to-back European titles in 2012 but coach Vicente del Bosque changed his mind.
“I told him: ‘I am not enjoying it as much now, it is time for someone else,’ but he said: ‘come on are you depressed?'” explained Xavi.
“I told him I had thought about it a lot but he said I was very important. After what happened in Brazil though, if I had known, I would have retired then. It is still true that I have enjoyed the last two years a lot though.”
Editing by Martyn herman