Larsson: Xavi is Barcelona's soul

Celtic legend Henrik Larsson considers Xavi, not Lionel Messi, as Barcelona's most important player.

Football News: Lionel Messi & Xavi

By staff

The Catalan side travel to Celtic Park later on Wednesday for a Champions League Group G game that could see them secure qualification to the next round.

Familiar with the likes of Messi and Xavi from his time at Barcelona, Larsson told El Pais that while the Argentinean was worthy of every accolade given to him in recent seasons, it was Xavi who should be considered the team's hero.

"[Messi] was only a kid back then, but already an excellent player. Anyone who says that he knew Messi would become this good is lying, though, he has skill, vision and is always in control. He is a phenomenon and deserves every award that he wins," he explained.

"However, Xavi is the soul of the club in my opinion. He never misses a pass. He plays in a very difficult position and doesn't score many goals. He is the key to Barcelona's success, though."

Although Celtic came close to pulling off an upset in the reverse fixture held at the Camp Nou, Barcelona remain the favourites to emerge victorious in the upcoming game. Nonetheless, Larsson warned the Spanish side that their lack of height at the back could cost them against the Scottish champions.

"Right now you can upset Barcelona a little because they are without Carles Puyol and maybe Gerard Pique too. Daniel Alves has only just come back so it is not the back four that Barca would prefer to have," he observed.

"You saw it in the first game at set-pieces they were a little bit short and there is no doubt that they are missing Pique and Puyol who are used to competing in the air."

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