Barcelona legend: I thought Man United boss was an idiot

Xavi admits that he quickly warmed to Louis van Gaal during his time at Barcelona after a rocky start

Xavi has admitted that he thought Louis van Gaal was an “idiot” following the Dutchman’s arrival at Barcelona, before quickly warming to the manager.

Xavi played under Van Gaal during his spell in charge at Camp Nou and revealed that his training methods took some getting used to.

However, the former Barcelona star says that he and his team-mates quickly adapted to Van Gaal’s philosophy at the club.

Xavi told ESPN FC: “After two days of training under him, I thought, ‘Who is this idiot?’ After a week, I thought, ‘He’s right.’ He’ll always be in my heart, Louis van Gaal.”

The veteran Spanish midfielder continued: “[He is a] good person, very good trainer. He has a very strong character, but he’s calm in the Premier League because there’s less pressure. He’s much calmer than when he was at Barca or Bayern Munich. He’s honest, methodical and a real perfectionist.

“He’s very demanding, he’s strict and he wants to achieve the highest levels possible. He’s a tough fighter, yet he put trust into me when I was 17 and 18 years old.”

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Van Gaal’s United side are currently fourth in the Premier League table and two points behind leaders Manchester City after 12 games.

The Dutchman successfully led United to a top-four finish in his first season in charge at Old Trafford and the Red Devils remain on course to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League.

United travel to Watford in their next Premier League game on Saturday lunchtime after the current international break.

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