Xavi Hits Back at Critics of ‘Extraordinary’ Barcelona Signing


Getty Xavi watches Barcelona against Atletico.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez was full of praise for summer signing Andreas Christensen after seeing his team move three points clear at the top of La Liga with a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid.

Christensen moved to the Camp Nou on a free transfer from Chelsea in a signing that was hardly celebrated by the majority of supporters. Indeed much was made of the fact that Real Madrid had signed Antonio Rudiger, who played ahead of Christensen at Chelsea, in the same window and also on a free.

Xavi noted as much after Barcelona’s win over Atletico and praised Christensen for his performance in the crucial match at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday, January 8.

“Surely the signing of Christensen has been the less highlighted, but he has been extraordinary,” Xavi told Barca TV. “I remember when people said that Real Madrid signed Chelsea’s starting centre-back and we signed the substitute.”

Barcelona beat Bayern Munich in the race to land Christensen. The defender joined Barcelona on a four-year deal in summer 2022 with a buyout clause set at 500 million euros. The Denmark international is one of four centre-backs in the first-team squad alongside Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia and Jules Kounde.

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More To Come From Christensen?

Christensen arrived at Barcelona aftera openly admitting he’s not “the most talkative” person in the world and that he endured a “mentally” tough last few months at Chelsea before his move.

However, the Dane went on to reveal at his Barcelona unveiling just how much he’s always wanted to play for the club.

Christensen already appears to be forming a strong partnership with Ronald Araujo in the heart of the Barcelona defense which bodes well for the future. The Dane has only made 6 La Liga starts, after missing a chunk of the season with an ankle problem, but says he is settling into the side.

“I’m growing into the team still. It’s always difficult when you are a new player and getting a long-term injury,” he told Barca TV. “I was unlucky. I felt like I had a great start. I was playing the games I wanted, so it was bad luck.”

Christensen’s form has seen Kounde shifted to right-back this season for Barcelona in recent games. The Dane has also forced Garcia onto the bench. The Spain international has not started a game for the Catalans since October.

Barcelona Defense Proving Key

Barcelona’s defense has been vulnerable in recent seasons but is proving key to their titles hopes in 2022-23. The victory over Atletico means the team have only conceded 6 league goals this season.

Xavi’s side have also now kept 12 clean sheets from 16 matches in the Spanish top flight. According to Opta, it’s a defensive record only bettered by Deportivo La Coruna in 1993-94.

Barcelona moved to strengthen their backline in the summer transfer window by bringing in center-backs Christensen and Kounde as well as full-backs Marcos Alonso and Hector Bellerin.

The changes appear to be working well with Barca taking full advantage of Real Madrid’s defeat to Villarreal to stretch their lead at the top three points, although the Catalans will be we aware that the season is not even at its mid-way point yet.

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