Madrid: Barcelona are back, manager Xavi Hernandez said after his side’s 4-0 thrashing of rivals Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu last night.
Xavi’s side gave a football masterclass in a match they dominated from the start and which they arguably deserved to win by even more than four goals.
“I’m delighted, it’s a night to enjoy,” Xavi told reporters.
“Barca is back. Today we showed that we can fight against a great Real Madrid team that are on a roll and in their stadium. It is a great achievement to encourage us for the future of our project.”
A former Barca great on the pitch, Xavi is the first person to win by four or more goals at Real Madrid both as a coach and as a player, having been in the Barca team that won 6-2 at the Bernabeu in 2009.
“I’m happy because we were much better than Real Madrid. We have played a spectacular match. I’m enjoying it because more than just being Barca’s coach, I am a lifelong club supporter, so nights like this are those you never forget.”
Barca were without a victory against Real Madrid in three years, a devastating record that spoke volumes about the club’s recent struggles.
“It was important to put an end to that losing streak, to that negative mentality and feeling that the club was going through. It’s a big boost in morale and we will keep progressing,” Xavi said.
The result provided emphatic confirmation that Barca are heading in the right direction after pushing the reset button following the departure of Lionel Messi in the close season due to their financial problems.
They hit rock bottom by their standards, having fallen to ninth in the table when Ronald Koeman was fired as coach earlier in the season.
Xavi has revitalised Barca, who have climbed to third in the standings and are unbeaten since their extra-time defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on Jan. 20.
They have scored 24 goals in their last seven league games, earned 23 points out of the last 27 in the league and qualified for the Europa League quarter-finals.
“More than the four goals I am moved by how my players fought, how they ran and went all in in every challenge, it’s inspiring,” Xavi said.
“I don’t think we can make a late run for the title. Real Madrid are 12 points ahead and we arrived too late, but the future is bright for us.”