Barcelona boss Xavi has named Manchester United winger Marcus Rashford as one of the toughest opponents he’s faced in his managerial career.
The former Spanish midfielder turned to management when he took over at Qatari club Al Sadd in 2019. He would then take the position at his former playing side Barcelona two years later.
After a difficult first season in charge at the Camp Nou, the 43-year-old managed to win the La Liga title last term. However, they were knocked out of the Champions League group stages that campaign.
That meant that Xavi’s Barcelona would come up against Manchester United in the Europa League round-of-32 knock-out playoff games.
Erik ten Hag’s side came out on top after winning 4-3 on aggregate and Marcus Rashford ran the show for The Reds. He scored away at the Camp Nou and created the other goal with a brilliant run and cross.
Asked by Mundo Deportivo who the toughest opponent his side have come up against during his time at Barca, Xavi replied: “Rashford cost us a lot. Also Vinicius, [Karim] Benzema…”
It is not the first time that the Barcelona boss has been complimentary of the English forward. Speaking last season ahead of the game against United, he said: “In the transition, he is very, very dangerous so, yes, we need to take care of all of them but especially Rashford. He’s one of the most dangerous players now in Europe, yeah. He’s very fast, he is very good at dribbling in one-versus-one.”
Rashford has had a difficult start to this season alongside the entire United squad. However, he scored 30 times last term and will be hoping to find his form soon.
Xavi has also previously stated that he hopes Barcelona wonderkid Ansu Fati, on loan at Brighton, is able to replicate Rashford in his career.
“Could Ansu be like Rashford? Hopefully, he has the qualities for that,” he told reporters last term, as quoted by Barca Centre. “Then it’s about confidence. His performances will mark his time at the club. We have faith in him.”
Fati has been loaned to the Premier League after difficulties with injuries in his short career so far. He scored his first goal for The Seagulls during their 6-1 loss against Aston Villa.
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