Xavi on Manchester United boss: I owe Louis van Gaal a lot!

Pirlo and Xavi Italy Spain

Barcelona superstar Xavi lines up against former mentor as Spain take on Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup later today, Friday.

Much is made of how integral Louis van Gaal was to the development of a golden generation of Ajax prospects in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

His nurturing of precocious talents such as Dennis Bergkamp, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Edwin van der Sar - all of them completely different players - is the stuff of legend.

Yet his work with youngsters was only just beginning.

Manchester United have much to look forward to, not least because the Dutchman's appointment ensures that the uppermost limit of Adnan Januzaj, James Wilson, Tom Lawrence and Andreas Pereira's potential can be unlocked.

And the Old Trafford hierarchy can look to examples outside of Ajax as to the might of van Gaal's coaching. 

Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger at Bayern Munich are two players currently thriving, who were nurtured at the developmental age by van Gaal. 

So too was Xavi, a mainstay for Barcelona, and a player who comes up against his former mentor when Spain take on Netherlands at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador later this evening, Friday.

"I owe Louis a lot," Xavi, one of the most technically adept midfielders of the modern age, is quoted to have said by MARCA. "He was great with me and trusted in me."

On the Dutch as a unit, he said: "Regarding his team, he's got some very fast players in attack.

"We're excited about it. We're in a tough group and against the Netherlands it's going to be a complicated game. We'll try to impose our personality and do our best.

"We want to be the leaders and have control of the ball. Changing our style would be a mistake. The players that we have here adapt perfectly to our philosophy.

"We will die playing this style. I hope we can enjoy the same success."

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