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Xavi talks Lewandowski ban, Barcelona’s season, Luis Enrique, Messi, Neymar, World Cup

Speaking at a public event, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez expressed his displeasure at the three-match ban handed to superstar striker Robert Lewandowski.

The 34-year-old was hit with a three-match suspension by La Liga’s Competition Committee after his sending-off in the game against CA Osasuna, due to a gesture he made while walking off the pitch.

Lewandowski has since clarified that the gestures were him interacting with Xavi and not a sign of disrespect for the match officials. Barcelona have confirmed that they will appeal the three-match ban, with Xavi reiterating the same in his media interaction.

“We are going to appeal. We believe that it is an excessive sanction. It is too much. Let’s see if we can reduce it because Robert is an example of conduct,” Xavi said, as quoted by Victor Navarro.

It has been somewhat of a mixed-bag of a season for Barcelona as they are enjoying great success in La Liga where they are at the top of the standings. However, they were once again eliminated from the group stages of the UEFA Champions League

Discussing the team’s season so far, Xavi added: “In the Champions League we haven’t made the grade but we need time and patience.

“But we are on the right track in La Liga, we are leaders and we are very excited. It is very important to be the leaders, for the calm in the environment.”

Talking about the FIFA World Cup, Xavi tipped Brazil and Argentina as top favourites because of his former Barcelona teammates Neymar and Lionel Messi, respectively.

“I see Brazil as very strong, with Neymar at the helm, and Argentina with Leo very motivated. I see Brazil and Argentina a step above,” he said

“For me, there is no discussion about that. Messi is the best in the world and in history, whether he wins the World Cup or not.”

“I see Leo as very strong. In the last six months, we have seen the best Messi again and he will make a difference. Scaloni is doing very well. Argentina and Brazil will reach the semi-finals or the final. I wish them luck.”

The manager also confirmed that he will be in Qatar and plans to watch Spain’s match against Germany, while also backing La Roja manager Luis Enrique to succeed.

“I’m going to Qatar and I’ll watch the Spain-Germany match. Luis Enrique can go a long way in this World Cup,” Xavi added

Barcelona have as many as 17 players representing their respective countries at the World Cup – an all-time record.

And Xavi understands that some of the players who will not go the distance in the tournament will need some time off to recharge their batteries before returning to club football, as he said:

“The player who does not win the World Cup or does not meet the expectations of his country will be difficult to manage. We will give them a week or ten days to disconnect and come with recharged batteries.”

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