Pep Guardiola responds to Xavi’s decision to leave Barcelona | Football

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Pep Guardiola believes he felt more pressure at Barcelona than he does as Manchester City manager and insists he has sympathy for Xavi’s situation at Camp Nou.

Following Barca’s 5-3 defeat at home to Villarreal on Saturday evening, Xavi announced that he will step down as the club’s head coach at the end of the season.

Xavi guided Barcelona to the Spanish league title last season but has struggled to replicate the same success this term and his side currently sit 11 points behind La Liga leaders Girona.

Guardiola won 14 trophies during his four-year stint as Barcelona’s head coach and claims the scrutiny he endured at his former club is incomparable to any other team.

‘We cannot compare the pressure in England to Spain, in my experience,’ Guardiola said.

‘It’s a thousand times higher and tougher there than here.

‘Here, for the managers, it’s a real place to be, of course, a lot of games, six press conferences a week, every three days you have a game, it’s a lot.

‘But the pressure you feel in Barcelona is not comparable to another club.’

Xavi says he has ‘felt worthless’ during his time as Barcelona’s head coach (Getty)

Asked if he has sympathy for Xavi, Guardiola replied: ‘Yeah, of course. I understand completely.’

Guardiola, who also confirmed he had not spoken to Xavi since he announced his decision to leave Barcelona, added on his own sabbatical: ‘Yeah, it was good, to be with the family, do something I’ve not done.

‘But in the first two or three months I signed a contract with Bayern Munich so I didn’t relax much. But, yeah, it was good I made the decision. It is a long time ago already, maybe I forgot my feelings in that moment.’

Meanwhile, Xavi claims that being Barcelona’s head coach ‘makes you feel worthless on a daily basis’.

‘It is a cruel and unpleasant job,’ Xavi said ahead of Barca’s La Liga match against Osasuna on Wednesday.

‘It makes you feel worthless on a daily basis. Pep [Guardiola] had already told me; I saw Luis Enrique suffer.

‘We have a problem in terms of the level of demand. You don’t enjoy it. You’re playing for your life all the time. It’s cruel.

‘The job we have done has not been sufficiently valued. We arrived in 2021 at one of the most difficult moments in the club’s history.’

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