Barcelona legend Xavi claims that he thought Louis van Gaal was an ‘idiot’ after two days.
The Dutchman gave the midfielder his debut in 1998 and he became a key part of the Barcelona side that won La Liga in 1998/99, being named La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year at the end of that season.
Van Gaal clashed with several players at Barcelona but Xavi has told ESPN: “After two days of training under him, I thought “who is this idiot?” After a week, I thought “he’s right.” He’ll always be in my heart, Louis van Gaal.”
Xavi saved his most fulsome praise for Jose Mourinho, who worked at the club under Bobby Robson and then Van Gaal.
“He was excellent in his three years at Barca,” said Xavi. “They said he was a translator. Rubbish. He was the assistant coach, someone who understood the philosophy of Barca and who shared many of the same characteristics of Van Gaal.
“He was very respected by the players. He trained us sometimes alone at Barca B and he was excellent.
“I’m surprised that he became known for another type of football, more defensive, because he wasn’t like that with us.”