Wenger identifies Barca player 'perfect' in his position - not Messi

Camp Nou

Arsenal manager has marveled at this Barcelona midfield maestro ahead of the club's Champions League quarterfinal against Atletico Madrid.

Record-breaking attacker Lionel Messi is not the only player who is excelling in his generation as Barcelona have another elite-level player who has long maintained the same exceptional midfield standards yet, despite his metronomic brilliance in the middle of the park, can sometimes be overshadowed when it comes to the headline-hugging magic produced by the prolific glue-footed goal-scorer Messi.

Singling out the Camp Nou veteran for specific praise in his Eurosport column recently, Wenger marveled: "When your name is Xavi, you know how to pass the ball perfectly."

Indeed, in 629 minutes of Champions League football, Xavi, 34, has returned jaw-dropping statistics including a 95% pass completion rate and a 108 pass per game average. He has also produced 15 clear-cut chances, has assisted thrice and scored once.

Wenger went further, discussing how any conversation that mentions how Barcelona are a spent force is one that has it's foundations built on nonsense.

"A lot of nonsense has been said about Barcelona, because they weren’t so dominant earlier this season, and because of their heavy defeat to Bayern in Europe last year. But they won La Liga last season, and – after a rough patch by their standards – are back in the race to do so this season.

"All clubs go through difficult times – remember Barca were transitioning, and had major, unforeseeable problems. But nowadays there seems to be a permanent stage of hysteria surrounding the big clubs, which leads to ‘definitive judgements’ being made.

"Barca are not done, believe me," concluded the Frenchman.

Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League tie later today, Tuesday, at Camp Nou.

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