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Xavi knows a thing or two about playing in a scintillating side managed by Pep Guardiola, and he's showered praise on David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne - who have been nothing short of sublime this season.
Typically, one would wonder how Guardiola would manage to incorporate both De Bruyne and Silva in the same side - given that they are both traditionally number tens.
However, Pep has found a way and in converting them both to central midfielders in a midfield three - they aren't far off reaching the levels Xavi and Andres Iniesta regularly reached under Guardiola at Barcelona. De Bruyne has assisted nine goals this season, with his colleague Silva one short on eight following a dreamy run of form.
Xavi, who won two Champions Leagues under Guardiola, did an in-depth interview with El Pais and as well talking about a variety of football topics, gave some interesting insight into the qualities Silva and De Bruyne possess to make them so fundamental for this all-conquering City side.
"De Bruyne and Silva have adapted to those positions because they're the type of players that know how to profile themselves to receive the ball in 360 degrees; they turn to every side, see the whole pitch," Xavi said.
"Because with Guardiola's style of play you need pure wingers, like Sane. Sane would find it difficult to play inside because he couldn't do that small turn that gives you space, the turn that Messi, Iniesta, Silva, De Bruyne or Gundogan have.
"Even Sterling has it if he's forced to do it. Sane doesn't. He needs space. Like Bale. If you play them inside they won't be as good. They have to play on the wing, dribble.
"Like Cristiano. He has more difficulty playing in the middle because he doesn't profile his body the right way. De Bruyne and Silva are spectacular. It seems as if we're just now discovering Silva."
Very high praise indeed from Xavi. Further fascinating tidbits from the chat can be found courtesy of Diana Kristine, who translated the chat on Twitter:
Xavi on switching a player's position and understanding the game. pic.twitter.com/HJdcOnTWZ8- Diana Kristinne (@DianaKristinne) January 8, 2018
Xavi being the absolute extremist he is. :P pic.twitter.com/cahtHkhji7- Diana Kristinne (@DianaKristinne) January 8, 2018
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