Xavi backs Neymar return, Wanyama’s frustrations and more


"I can see him going back"

Xavi has no doubts his former team-mate would improve the Barca squad
Xavi and Neymar formed part of a successful generation at Barcelona. Copyright: imago images / Pro Shots

Ever since he left Camp Nou in 2017, the flamboyant Brazilian has been consistently linked with a return to Barcelona. His former team-mate and current Al-Sadd coach Xavi certainly approves of that idea.

Barcelona and Spain icon Xavi is hopeful of Neymar's return to Barca, saying that it will be a “great pleasure” seeing him in Blaugrana colors once more.

“Why not? I spent a lot of time in the same locker room as Neymar so I have no doubts that is a great professional and a great person as well. He is also one of the best players in the world so he'd certainly make a difference.”

With Barca in the midst of an ongoing internal crisis, questions have been raised of their ability to splash the cash this summer, although they've still been linked with a couple of big names alongside Neymar, with Inter's Lautaro Martinez being mooted as a potential summer signing.

When pressed on becoming Barcelona manager, Xavi was pretty straightforward : “I think it's a well-known fact that Barca is my home, I dedicated my life to that club. I'm obviously still on the learning curve but it's my ultimate dream to manage there in the future, for sure.”

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"I was so, so angry!"

Wanyama played a key role in helping Spurs secure a spot for the UCL final
Victor Wanyama played a key part in Tottenham's dramatic semi-final win against Ajax. Copyright: imago images / VI Images

The Kenya international revealed his anger at not making the starting squad for the UCL final against Liverpool last year, after playing a starring role in their last-gasp win over Ajax.

Victor Wanyama says Tottenham did not put enough trust in him after coming back from injury. He was denied a starting berth for the Champions League final against Liverpool as Spurs went on to lose 2-0.

“I was really p*ssed off, to say the least. That we lost the game in the end only worsened the situation. I was not able to sleep and everything kept circling in my head. “

Wanyama subsequently left London in March on a free transfer and now plies his trade in the MLS, having linked up with Thierry Henry at Montreal Impact. He was full of praise for his new boss and thrilled for this new chapter.

“Henry told me that he needed an experienced head that will lead his young team to a winning era. I was immediately persuaded by their ambition and ideas.”

Sky-high Boateng

Boateng's self-confidence is what set him apart from most of his team-mates
Kevin-Prince has had a nomadic career, failing to settle at a single club. Copyright: imago images / Insidefoto

One of Kevin-Prince's former coaches has opened up about the enigmatic striker's abilities, saying that his confidence was unmatched at times. 

Sven Hubscher, former Schalke assistant coach, has lifted a lid on the ex-Ghana international Boateng, saying that he always stood out from everyone else due to him “not giving a sh*t” who he was playing against.

In a nomadic soccer career that has already taken him to 13 different clubs across Europe's top leagues, Boateng has never overstayed his welcome, often spending a single season at many of those clubs. Schalke is an exception to the rule, however, with Kevin-Prince spending almost two years at the VELTINS-Arena.

He immediately impressed in his debut season back in 2013, when Schalke snapped him up from AC Milan. “He was exactly the thing that we were missing in the squad back then,” Hubscher explained.

“He was incredibly honest, open and polite. He expressed his opinion more than once, but always had boundaries. His behavior was a point of reference that we used when working with the youngsters.”

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