Xavi: Free Agent Has Been an ‘Extraordinary’ Signing for Barcelona

Xavi Hernandez

Getty Xavi Hernandez has praised Marcos Alonso.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has been full of praise for free agent Marcos Alonso who arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer as a free agent after leaving Chelsea.

The left-back has only made two appearances for Barcelona since his transfer, but Xavi told a pre-match press conference that the Spaniard’s versatility means he’s been a brilliant bit of business by the Catalans.

“The signing of Marcos for me is extraordinary. He can play as a full-back, central, he plays really well, he’s one of the few left footers we have,” he said. “He’s a really good signing for us. I see him as quite a well rounded player, and I think it’s good for us to have alternatives.”

Alonso will be hoping to make just his second start for Barcelona in the team’s next game against Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday, October 4 at the San Siro.

The Spain international’s only other start for his new club came last time out in Europe’s top competition in a 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

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Alonso Facing Tough Competition

Alonso is one of three left-backs in Barcelona’s squad which means Xavi has plenty of options when it comes to choosing his starting XI. The left-back also spoke at the news conference and said he was happy to fight for his place in the team.

“The relationships are really good, not just between players in the same position, but all the players,” he said. “The team atmosphere is really good. The competition and the good atmosphere is reflected on the pitch. It’s something good for the team.”

Teenager Alejandro Balde has emerged as Xavi’s preferred position at left-back in the early weeks of the season and has impressed. The coach has been full of praise for Balde but could opt for more experience on Tuesday against Inter in what is a vital game for both sides.

Barcelona Playing For Second Place

Both Barcelona and Inter go into the match on three points after two games and effectively playing for second place in the group. Leaders Bayern have maximum points after two games and will be expected to comfortably beat Viktoria Plzen in the group’s other match.

Xavi admitted that Barca’s defeat to Bayern means his team can’t really afford any more slip-ups if they are to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.

“It seems like that’s the case. We both lost to Bayern and beat Viktoria, so Tuesday is a very important game and the one next week as well at home,” he said. “Let’s see how Bayern do on Tuesday, but we can’t fail. We are in good form, but we have to keep demonstrating that. We have already let Bayern off in this competition. We have to match the way we played in Munich, but this time get the result.”

Barcelona head into the match in good form and still unbeaten in La Liga, while the Nerazzurri have lost four of their eight Serie A matches so far in the new 2022-23 campaign.

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