Barcelona coach Xavi has revealed he sent a message of support to Lionel Messi after Paris Saint-Germain were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.
Messi’s team had looked set to progress to the quarter-finals after going 1-0 up at the Santiago Bernabeu, and 2-0 up on aggregate, but were dumped out after Real Madrid produced an epic comeback to win the tie 3-2.
Xavi told a pre-match press conference ahead of Barcelona’s La Liga clash at Osasuna that he had been in touch with Messi after the game to offer some support to his former teammate.
“I have a friendly relationship with Messi and we are talking. Yes, I sent him a message to encourage him after the game,” he said. “It was a duel that changed in 20 or 25 minutes in which Madrid had faith and desire and turned the scoreboard in a match that was very difficult.”
The Barcelona coach also offered his thoughts on the game itself and why he thought PSG had slipped up despite looked in great shape to progress after Kylian Mbappe had scored to make it 2-0 after 39 minutes.
“The Champions League is like that. When you lower the intensity a bit, the rival ends up running over you,” he explained. “I think that’s what happened in that game and that’s why Madrid was able to qualify. A bad moment condemns you in the Champions League.”
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Xavi Warns Barcelona Ahead of Osasuna
The Barcelona boss also spoke about his team’s upcoming game against Osasuna, which comes before key fixtures against Galatasaray in the Europa League and Real Madrid in La Liga, and urged complete focus on the match.
“Tomorrow I just want to pick up the three points against Osasuna at home. They are going to make things difficult for us. We already dropped two points at El Sadar in the last minutes,” he said. “I don’t think further ahead. It’s not about Galatasaray, it’s about Osasuna. We’ve analyzed them. They are a good team, have a great coach who can adapt to different systems. The focus is on the game tomorrow.”
Barcelona slipped up against Osasuna when the two sides met at El Sadar in the league in December 2021. The Catalans twice took the lead but were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw when Chimy Avila netted a late equalizer.
Praise For Aubameyang
The Catalans will also need to bounce back from a disappointing 0-0 draw with Galatasaray last time out in the Europa League. The match saw Barca fail to score for the first time in three months.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be restored to the starting XI against Osasuna and Xavi was full of praise for the January signing ahead of the match.
“Auba is very important. He had played a lot of games, had a bit of fatigue. He has made a great effort to adjust to this team. He plays with a lot of intensity so it’s normal he has a bit of fatigue,” he said. “But he’s important for us, generates a lot of chances, gives me a lot of possibilities, knows how to interpret space well, it’s a great advantage to be able to count on a player like that.”
Sunday’s match is the start of a key week for Barcelona. The Catalans can secure their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday, March 17 if they beat Galatasaray and then travel to the Bernabeu for El Clasico three days later.
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