By SABC Sport
23rd March 2023
Xavi, Iniesta's former midfield partner at Barca, returned to the club in November 2021 as manager and has turned things around in a spectacular manner.
When Xavi took over, Barcelona was languishing in mid-table, but he led the team to a second-place finish last season. Building on that success, the Catalans are currently at the top of the La Liga table this term, with a massive 12-point lead over current champions Real Madrid.
Naturally, the 38-year-old Iniesta has been impressed by how his former teammate has led the team, and he claimed in an interview with RAC1 that the evolution under Xavi has been 'spectacular'.
"Without a doubt, since Xavi came to Barcelona, the evolution has been clear and spectacular," Iniesta told RAC1. "Hopefully, we'll end up winning this league title, so that next year we can compete for everything."
"Xavi has prepared a lot for this moment, he has very clear ideas, he knows what he wants and how he wants it and what the position he occupies means," Iniesta added.
The Vissel Kobe midfielder also spoke about Barcelona's recent 2-1 El Clasico victory over Real Madrid on 19 March, and said: "The match was beautiful, intense, and interesting, and with a perfect ending for us, for winning and for having that considerable lead, although not definitive, to be able to win La Liga."
However, Iniesta warned that the team must keep winning matches until it is mathematically impossible for Real Madrid to catch up in the title race, and added: "Until it is not mathematically possible, it is not definitive, and we have to win until the end, but we are in a position to do so."
During the interview, Iniesta also gave his opinion on the Negreira corruption scandal that has dragged Barcelona into controversy. The former captain was clear that the club had never paid any referees for any favourable treatment, and stated:
"I am totally convinced that Barcelona never bought referees. In all the time that I played for the club, I never noticed anything strange. The information is notorious, and I understand that all this is being looked at, and what happened and what didn't. We will see what happens."
Iniesta's comments show the immense respect and admiration he has for his former teammate Xavi, who has led Barcelona to a remarkable turnaround this season.