Barcelona legend Xavi has said he first thought Louis van Gaal was sure an idiot after training under him for opening two days.
van Gaal was managing Spanish giants between 1997 and 2000, and also gave Xavi his Barcelona debut in 1998.
The veteran midfielder, now plays for a Qatarian club Al Sadd, has admitted he wasn’t really happy with Van Gaal’s typical methods.
“After two days of training under him, I thought, ‘Who is this idiot?’ After a week, I thought, “He’s right.” He’ll always be in my heart, Louis van Gaal,” Xavi said to ESPN FC.
“[He is a] good person, very good trainer. He has a very strong character, but he’s calm in the Premier League because there’s less pressure. He’s much calmer than when he was at Barca or Bayern Munich.
“He’s honest, methodical and a real perfectionist. He’s very demanding, he’s strict and he wants to achieve the highest levels possible.”
The 35-year-old Spanish midfielder, who won La Liga eight times and Champions League four times during his 17 years spell with the Catalans, also played under Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Barcelona.
Mourinho worked with Sir Bobby Robson and Van Gaal in Spain, and Xavi now says, the currently under fire Chelsea manager had really a big impact on the team that time.
Xavi further added: “He was excellent in his three years at Barca.
“They said he was a translator. Rubbish. He was the assistant coach, someone who understood the philosophy of Barca and who shared many of the same characteristics of van Gaal.
“He was very respected by the players. He trained us sometimes alone at Barca B and he was excellent.
“I’m surprised that he became known for another type of football, more defensive, because he wasn’t like that with us.”
Last month the legendary Barcelona midfielder Xavi revealed, if he moved to any Premiere League club, it would have been Manchester United. He mentioned Liverpool’s name also but repeatedly said United would have been the preferable one than the Merseyside club. Also insisted he never had any plan of moving into English football leaving behind so much success in Barcelona.
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