Xavi makes bold claim about Barcelona duo Gavi and Pedri
Barcelona coach Xavi says midfield duo Gavi and Pedri are better than he and fellow Blaugrana legend Andres Iniesta were at 20 years of age.
Gavi and Pedri each started all four of Spain's games at the World Cup in Qatar, having also assumed key roles for LaLiga leaders Barca since Xavi took charge last year.
The duo's incisive passing and telepathic relationship has attracted comparisons to Xavi's own partnership with Iniesta, with that pair experiencing remarkable success at club and international level.
However, when speaking to Barca's media channels on Tuesday, Xavi said the Blaugrana's current midfield duo had developed quicker than their illustrious predecessors.
"Me at 20 years old and Andres at 20 years old were not at the level of Pedri or Gavi," Xavi said. "How Gavi competes, the passion he puts in... we were not at his level.
"We have very young players. Eric [Garcia], Pedri, Ansu [Fati], Gavi... Frenkie [de Jong] is young. We have Barca for the present and for the future."
Xavi did concede the demands on some of Barca's young players may be too great, adding: "Gavi has played practically everything. Ansu is a talent, but perhaps we are asking too much of them."
Barca are two points clear of rivals Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga, winning 12 of their 14 games this season after investing heavily in the transfer window.
The Catalan giants put together big-money moves for the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha in the off-season, but Xavi does not expect a repeat in January.
"I told [director of football] Mateu [Alemany] not to play too much, that I'm happy with the family, it's a fantastic group," Xavi said. "We don't know if we'll be able to incorporate new players.
"I think we can be competitive. I'm happy with the leaders, we train at 100 per cent and it shows on the field. If we don't touch anything, I'll be very happy."