Xavi Hernandez compares Pedri to Iniesta, hails Dembele showing against Athletic

pedri and dembele

Barcelona coach Xavi compared Pedri to Blaugrana legend Andreas Iniesta while praising Ousmane Dembele’s performance against Athletic Bilbao.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s fourth goal in his last two LaLiga games put the Catalan side in control of Athletic on Sunday, before a recent blast added a proper light to the points line.

The incumbent Dembele, whose future remains uncertain after failing to accept a contract extension expiring at the end of the season, hit one and assisted two substitutes Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay who also played.

With that involvement, Dembele becomes the first Barca replacement to score at least three goals in a single LaLiga game in the 21st century. After returning from a four-legged LaLiga victory 4-0, Xavi retained the special honors of midfielder Pedri and Dembele.

“The way [Pedri] understands the game, it’s nice to see him play,” Xavi told reporters. “It reminds me so much of Andres Iniesta, I have never seen so many talents like this.

“I see a lot of situations in Dembele. We have seen Dembele who we want and who knows he can do it.”

Asked if the Frenchman would stay at the club, Xavi added: “It’s not my thing, I always said he worked hard.

Barca are level on points with Atletico Madrid, who won 2-0 against Celta Vigo on Saturday and removed only a handful of Real Betis in third place after falling to Sevilla.

The Blaugrana still boasted a game in hand over four of their rivals and Xavi refused to give up hope of any possible result in LaLiga.

“Emotions are getting better and better,” he continued. “The team is training very well, which is why the results are coming.

“We have done very well and it has been very good when we play against a team that plays in the middle and the bottom and is a very good defender.

“Even with the [seven] changes they have made, they are a strong team. Putting four goals at Athletic is not easy, Marcelino’s teams are always working hard and hard.

“We are the fourth, we will enter the third, then the second, and when it reaches us we will go first. You must be realistic and humble and continue to work every day, nothing more.”

Barca have lost one of their last 15 top-flight games and will be looking to continue their good form when they visit Elche next Sunday.

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