Xavi not regretting Barca stay

The 35-year-old former Spain international had looked set to leave Barca, the club at which he has spent his entire career, last summer.

Having opted to remain with the Catalan outfit, he has made 11 Primera Division starts so far this season.

And ahead of Sunday’s home clash with strugglers Levante, Xavi told Catalunya Radio: “I recently turned 35 and I’m not in my prime any more.

“Still, I’m happy and I believe I was right to stay.

“Like I’ve said before, I did consider leaving the club, but I’m enjoying still being here and I’m fine with my new role.

“I was raised a certain way at Barca and I’m really pleased to play my part.”

Xavi and his team-mates head into Sunday’s contest with Barca on a run of five straight league wins, the latest of which – last Sunday’s 5-2 victory at Athletic Bilbao – saw them close the gap between them in second and leaders Real Madrid to a point.

They take on a Levante side who moved off the foot of the table with a 4-1 home triumph over Malaga – their first win in 10 league games.

In terms of trying to build momentum, following that with a trip to the Nou Camp would appear to be the last thing the Valencia-based club would have wanted.

But Levante boss Lucas Alcaraz has described the challenge posed by the fixture as a “blessed problem”, adding: “Stopping (Lionel) Messi, Neymar and (Luis) Suarez?

“I hope Levante have that kind of problem many times – every year that we go to Barcelona, and other opponents like Real Madrid.”

And on the effect of the Malaga result, he said on es.levanteud.com: “The team have always worked well.

“The mood is elevated by victory, although I’ve never seen the team really down.”