Xavi eyes the semi-finals: 'We have regained the enthusiasm that we so lacked...'

Barcelona is ahead in the Champions League quarterfinals, needing only to avoid defeat against PSG in the second leg at home to secure a spot in the semi-finals.

Xavi eyes the semi-finals: 'We have regained the enthusiasm that we so lacked...' Embed from Getty Images

Barcelona, under the guidance of Xavi, is on the verge of a significant Champions League advancement, poised to possibly continue to the semi-finals if they can maintain their lead in the upcoming home leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

This anticipation builds on the backdrop of a tense 3-2 victory in Paris, a match that has set the stage for what promises to be a riveting return fixture at Camp Nou.

During a press conference on Monday, Xavi discussed the renewed drive and aspiration within the team, a marked contrast to the earlier part of the season where such vigor seemed absent. The discussion turned personal when he commented on the visible excitement of club president Joan Laporta. "He is just another fan and this is an important moment for 'barcelonismo'. There is excitement and you can feel it on the streets. The president is passionate, he feels it and wanted to give us confidence. He is excited, just like us. We have regained the enthusiasm that we lacked during the season," Xavi explained. His words reflect a broader sentiment of resurgence and optimism that now pervades the club.

Xavi also took a moment to acknowledge the quality and influence of PSG's coach, Luis Enrique, who was not only a significant figure in his professional life but also a former mentor during his tenure as a player at Barcelona. Such reflections come at a poignant time as Xavi prepares to match wits with a familiar face in a high-stakes contest.

The narrative around former Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembélé, now with PSG, added another layer to the pre-match discussion. Dembélé's goal celebration in the first leg stirred emotions given his long history with Barcelona. However, Xavi handled the situation with grace, expressing no hard feelings towards Dembélé for his celebration. "It was tough for me when he left, he was in an extraordinary moment, but I hold no grudge against him. I will greet him and I have a lot of respect and esteem for him," he said, illustrating the sportsmanship that often underpins football at its highest levels.

Looking ahead, the stakes are high as the winner of this clash will face either Atlético de Madrid or Dortmund in the semi-finals. Atlético currently holds a slim lead after securing a 2-1 victory in Madrid, setting the stage for a potentially dramatic continuation of the Champions League saga.

As Barcelona and PSG prepare to face off, the atmosphere at Camp Nou is charged with anticipation and the echoes of past glories, reminding everyone involved of the grandeur and intensity that the Champions League routinely delivers.

Updated: 04:28, 15 Apr 2024

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