Xavi Hernandez Has Expressed Fear In Europa League Fixtures As Barcelona Set For A Showdown With Manchester United

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Xavi, Barcelona manager, has described his team’s forthcoming Europa League match against Manchester United as “the worst we could dream for.”

Xavi Hernandez Has Expressed Fear In Europa League Fixtures As Barcelona Set For A Showdown With Manchester United

Following the Spanish team’s drop from the UEFA Champions League, Barca was drawn against the English team in the play-off stage of the Europa League. This tantalizing match will include a rematch of the 2008–09 and 2010–11 Champions League finals.

According to reports, Xavi stated that his team’s ‘luck’ was not on their side during the draw before praising United’s skills despite their challenging start to the year.

“The draw has given us the most difficult rival again, like in the Champions League group stage”, Xavi said. “Luck was not on our side. Manchester United are a great rival, a historic club… the worst that we could wish for.”

“They have great individualities, but I’d highlight the group they have. We’ll prepare well, analyse the opponent as we have to.”

“‘It’s not just Cristiano [Ronaldo], we are going to face a team that has grown a lot under [Erik] ten Hag and we’ll have to challenge them on the pitch. [They are a] big historic club, they will have the same urgency to win as us.”

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Barcelona was eliminated from the competition after finishing third in Group C of the Champions League, trailing Bayern Munich and Inter Milan at the completion of the group stage.

However, they will have their sights set on winning the competition, since the club currently sits atop LaLiga heading into Monday’s match against Real Madrid.

United placed second in their Europa League group, which prevents them from obtaining a bye to the round of 16, as did fellow English team Arsenal, and forces them to compete in the first knockout round.

With the victors of the ties moving on to the next round, where the group winners will feature, the eight teams dropping into the second tier of European club football will match up against the eight runners up from the Europa League groups.

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Barcelona’s manager is Spanish professional football manager and former player Xavier Hernández Creus (often known as Xavi), who was born on January 25, 1980.

The passing, vision, ball retention, and placement of Xavi were legendary.

His 50 appearances have included 36 in LaLiga, 6 in the Champions League, 6 in the Europa League, 2 in the Copa del Rey, and 1 in the Spanish Super Cup, with 28 victories, 11 ties, and 11 losses since his debut against Espanyol at Camp Nou up until the Clásico in Madrid.

Xavi Hernandez Has Expressed Fear In Europa League Fixtures As Barcelona Set For A Showdown With Manchester United

In his first 50 competitive games as coach, the Catalans’ offensive style of play resulted in 94 goals scored and 51 goals allowed.

He also oversaw nine friendlies, which produced five victories, four draws, and 25 goals when he was in charge.

What next for Barcelona in Europa?

In the Europa League, FC Barcelona will face Manchester United.

The home match will take place at Spotify Camp Nou on February 16 and the away leg will be held on February 23.

The UEFA Europa League play-off round features matches between the teams that placed second in their respective UEFA Europa League groups, as well as the teams that finished third in their respective UEFA Champions League groups this season.

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The Premier League presents a challenge for Barça because the Manchester-based team has a formidable history in European play, having won six trophies, including three Champions League titles and the 2017 UEFA Europa League.

Barça and Manchester United faced off in the Champions League final twice, with the blaugranas triumphing in 2009 and 2011.

United has more domestic league titles (20) than any other English team.

The potential return of Cristiano Ronaldo to play Barça will be one of the draw’s most fascinating elements.

During his first stint with United, as well as his time with Real Madrid and Juventus, the Portuguese striker faced Barça.

The English team, in addition to Ronaldo, can also brag about the skills of players like Bruno Fernandes, Antony, Jadon Sancho, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, and Marcos Rashford.

The rest of the draw for the play off round are: 

  • Juventus v Nantes
  • Sporting v Midtjylland
  • Shakhtar Donetsk v Stade Rennais
  • Ajax v Union Berlin
  • Bayer Leverkusen v AS Monaco
  • Sevilla v PSV Eindhoven
  • FC Salzburg v Roma
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