Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes that Barcelona are a weaker team without club-legend Xavi Hernandez, who left Barca for Qatari side Al Sadd in 2015.


The 37-year-old central midfielder left the club after nearly 20 years as a professional at the Camp Nou.

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Since his departure Barca have struggled in European competitions, bowing out at the quarter-final stage of the Champions League in 2016 and 2017 after winning it in 2015.


Ferdinand came up against Xavi in the 2009 Champions League final when Barcelona beat the Red Devils 2-0 in Rome, a game where Xavi was awarded the man of the match award.


And he firmly believes that when Xavi and Iniesta were together in midfield Barcelona were a formidable opposition.

"When they used to keep the ball with the likes of Xavi and Iniesta in their team at their pomp, they would keep the ball, they do still keep the ball now, but they would keep the ball within 30 yards of their goal," he said on ​BT Sport.


"They were testing you and wearing you out physically and mentally.


"Then they would get goals and get goals in flurries."


Barca crashed out of the Champions League after losing 3-0 to Juventus on aggregate, with the Italian champions holding Luis Enrique's side to a goalless draw at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

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