Xavi makes Man Utd vs Barcelona prediction ahead of Champions League tie
By Joburg Post
Barcelona legend Xavi knows a thing or two about winning the Champions League, having lifted the trophy four times during a glittering career.
The legendary midfielder left the Spanish giants in 2015 and currently plies his trade for Qatari club Al Sadd.
His former team, meanwhile, are preparing for their crucial Champions League showdown against Manchester United.
The Nou Camp outfit visit Old Trafford on Wednesday night for the first leg of their mouthwatering quarter-final encounter, and will be hoping to leave England with a favourable result.
Here, the 39-year-old midfield maestro gives his verdict on Barcelona and Manchester United ahead of the match…
I saw Ter Stegen on his first day at the club and I remember that I was impressed with his qualities immediately. Since then he has grown into one of the top goalkeepers in the world. He has a lot of experience in playing in the big games, is so professional, and he knows how to handle these big occasions.
Manchester United - 9
De Gea is one of the best as well – it is no surprise that Manchester United are so keen to keep him. He is such a quality player – but what we have seen with him is that he so often rises to these big games. He has got United results in the past that they have had no right to get. He can make saves so few goalkeepers in the world are capable of – and United are going to need him to be at his best.
Barcelona - 8
This season Barcelona have let in more goals than is normal for them and that will give Manchester United some hope I am sure. In games like this you need a leader and a player like Pique need to make sure the rest of the team stay calm and composed. He has won everything and can be that leader.
Manchester United - 7
This is not one of the great Manchester United defences – they don’t have that great leader in the middle of defence that they had in so many of their great teams of the past. They are going to need to produce one of the great defensive performances of their season if they want any hope of getting a result against Barcelona.
Barcelona - 9
There is so much experience and such talent in the Barcelona midfield that I am sure they will look to control the midfield in both games. Players like Busquets and Rakitic know what it takes to take charge of the midfield in big European games – and I expect them to dominate.
Manchester United - 8
So much depends on Pogba. Since the new coach has taken over – he looks a new player – the sort of player Manchester United paid all that money for. If they are going to be competitive in midfield he needs to show his physical dominance and it will give the midfield players around him confidence as well.
Barcelona - 10
Messi just keeps getting better and better he is the best ever and this season is looking as dangerous as ever. When he is like this he is impossible to keep quiet. Suarez has a lot of experience of playing Manchester United as well – and getting goals for him in this game would mean a lot to him.
Manchester United - 9
This is an area that Manchester United can really cause Barcelona a problem in. Lukaku is a big physical threat and then they have then players like Martial and Rashford who have a lot of speed, a lot of quality, and both can get goals.