FC Barcelona

Xavi: Barcelona must be 'patient' in post-Lionel Messi era

Toby Cudworth
Xavi with Lionel Messi
Xavi with Lionel Messi / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Barcelona manager Xavi says the club "have to be patient" in the early days of the post-Lionel Messi era, referencing Manchester United's plight as an example the club must not follow.

The Catalan giants have started to find their stride under the legendary Spanish midfielder, with progress evident after a difficult start to the season under former head coach Ronald Koeman.

Having sat ninth in La Liga at one point, Barcelona are now back up to second, although there's little chance of them preventing Real Madrid from winning yet another domestic title - unless Carlo Ancelotti's suffer an unfathomable, dramatic collapse.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Sunday's game with Rayo Vallecano, Xavi admitted he's keen to win trophies at Barça but says the club must be realistic of where they are - citing the departure of long-standing talisman Lionel Messi last summer as a reason to be patient.

"It's our reality. This is the post-Messi era, that's difficult in itself," Xavi told reporters.

"He used to win games on his own. We have to be patient. I'm excited to win trophies, but we have to strengthen. We have to be realistic.

"We're in the first year of the post-Messi era, we have to be patient. We've seen a lot of great teams, like at Manchester United, it's been hard for them to come back, to qualify for the Champions League. Barca can't allow that. We have to fight for trophies, we want to compete."

Barcelona are expected to strengthen their squad this summer - adding to the January additions of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ferran Torres - but Xavi did admit that the club's financial plight will dictate how much business they will be able to do.

"We're planning for next year but it depends on the financial situation of the club. We'll see what we can do. For players to come in, players have to leave... What occupies us is the day-to-day, and finishing as high in the league as possible. Let's see what financial situation we're in."

Messi, meanwhile, is on the verge of winning the Ligue 1 title, though he has contributed just three league goals this season. He has, however, provided 13 assists for Mauricio Pochettino's Paris Saint-Germain.