Napoli win one of best moments as Barca coach: Xavi

The Spanish champions win 3-1 to seal a 4-2 aggregate victory against last year's Serie A winners

AFP March 13, 2024


Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said beating Napoli to reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday was one of his finest moments in his post.

The Spanish champions won 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium to seal a 4-2 aggregate win against last year's Serie A winners, returning to the last eight for the first time since 2020.

"There has been a lot of unfair criticism, (that we were) the joke of the Champions League, we had to play with that pressure," Xavi told a news conference.

"We had to be better than Napoli and we were, it's a more than deserved qualification, it's one of my best moments as Barcelona coach."

The coach said he would not change his mind about leaving at the end of the season, a decision he took in January. Since then the team have gone nine matches unbeaten.

Centre-back Pau Cubarsi, 17, was given the player of the match award and Xavi lavished praise on the young defender, key in recent weeks.

"He's a very rational kid, he's got a lot of brains, he's patient, he's very humble, he wants to improve," said Xavi.

"His sudden emergence is wonderful for Barcelona and Spanish football -- we're looking at a top-level defender for years to come."

Like Xavi, Cubarsi said this was a match to remember. "This has been one of the best days of my life," Cubarsi told Movistar.

"The team deserves this player of the match trophy, I'm so happy, but we're a group."


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