Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard, speaking after a charity match between Barcelona and Liverpool legends at Anfield on Saturday, commented on Barcelona’s rise and Xavi Hernandez’s influence on the team.
Gerrard participated in and scored in the game playing for the Liverpool legends against Barcelona legends. Barcelona legends won the game 2-1 thanks to goals from Giovanni Silva and Rivaldo, and the proceeds.of the game will go towards the different charities of both clubs.
Gerrard also has Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho on his books at Aston Villa until the end of the season. He has expressed an interest in keeping the midfielder – who Barcelona values at €40 million – at the club.
He is following Barcelona’s progress with hopes of using it as leverage to keep the Brazilian beyond this season.
The former Liverpool midfielder who was one of the prominent midfielders when Barcelona employed Xavi as a player has now praised the maestro, whose performances as a player and now as a coach have taken the world by storm.
Gerrard said that Barcelona made the right move to appoint Xavi at the time they did, stating that he is a big fan of the Spaniard’s work at the Catalan giants.
“I think the choice of Xavi was a stroke of genius by Barcelona,” said Gerrard. “He is someone who has Barcelona in his DNA and who was a world-class player for so many years.
“He knows the style that everyone around Barcelona wants to see. And after a difficult few years they seem to be getting back to where they need to be.
“As a Barcelona fan from afar, I like to see that they are doing very well.”
Elsewhere, Joan Laporta, Barcelona president, has sounded an alarm at the club about more incoming salary cuts.
One of Laporta’s fears is making the same mistakes as his predecessor and as such, is looking to cut costs and increase income greatly at the club. This he aims to do by first cutting the salaries of the players employed by the club.
He has been successful with most, but that of a few others have been difficult. Laporta, however, has told the players that they will have to accept this or find other clubs at the end of the season.
Yet, there are still complaints from the players which the president is perplexed about. He, however, reiterated this stance in interviews with Spanish media.
“They [the salaries] will all be based on parameters that everyone understands,” Laporta explained. “I hope that they will adapt. It’s no problem if anybody doesn’t want to be here.”
He also cited Xavi as an example for the players to follow. The manager is on a €3 million per annum salary, less than half of what he earned while managing Al-Sadd in the Qatari league until last November.
Laporta then went on to stress that no player is above the club and that he will not risk the stability of the club for any of them, especially as they are back on the rise.