Xavi: Van Gaal would humiliate you and then make you feel like Zidane

The Barcelona legend says that the Dutchman would dress down players in public in a bid to help them, while he has also spoken of the row between the manager and Victor Valdes


Xavi says Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal would “humiliate” players during his time in charge of Barcelona, but insists he has nothing but fond memories of the Dutchman.

Van Gaal has come under pressure in recent weeks, with reports suggesting that players have grown weary of his rigid playing style and training sessions, though a 3-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday appeared to lift the gloom surrounding Old Trafford.

Former Barca star Xavi, now at Al Sadd, worked with Van Gaal during two periods between 1997 and 2003 and says that the Dutchman’s approach has helped him throughout his own career.

“I will always remember Van Gaal and for the right reasons. He was a very direct guy,” Xavi was quoted as saying by Marca.

“One day he would humiliate you in front of the entire team and the following day he would make you feel like [Zinedine] Zidane. He was like that. And it was a good thing in the long term.

“With him, you could play at Old Trafford one day, only to then take on Alcoyano with Barcelona B a few days later. You don’t see stuff like that any more these days.

“When youngsters make the first team nowadays, they think they are there. When you are 18 you should only think about playing games. That should be the most important. And when you get to the first team again, you will give your all to show what you can do.”

Xavi’s former team-mate Victor Valdes has suffered at the hands of Van Gaal, with the two publicly falling out last season.

A move away from the club then failed to materialise and Xavi has been puzzled by the row, while he has also hailed David De Gea, who recently signed a new contract following his failed transfer to Real Madrid.

“I don’t know what has happened with Victor. Van Gaal gave him a hand when he brought him in at United, but then something happened. They are both very strong personalities,” Xavi continued.

“As for De Gea, I am convinced that he did not pull any tricks with him. Van Gaal is very direct and sincere. I like people like him. He is a reliable guy, although that does not mean he is flawless.”

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