Madrid: FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has made a passionate defence of his side`s passing style of football as they prepare for the run-in to the end of the season.
Barca are almost assured of winning Spain`s BBVA Primera Liga thanks to an impressive 13-point lead over Real Madrid, but face a tough task in the Champions League, where they will meet last season`s defeated finalists Bayern Munich in what is the Spanish side`s sixth consecutive appearance in the semi-finals.
However, in an interview with UEFA, Xavi insisted that although winning was important, the way you win is perhaps even more so.
"It`s about playing well and then if you manage to win, even better," he said.
"Barca always try to direct the game, they don`t wait for the opposition but go out and attack, so people identify with the club. Barca fans would never understand if the team were not controlling or dominating a match. That`s the way it has to be," he said.
Xavi is perhaps the architect of Barca`s swift passing game, which has gained the nickname `tiki-taka` and which often sees them dominate over 70 percent of possession in their matches. He broke into the first team as an 18-year-old and now at 33-year-old is still a fixture for both his club and for the Spanish national team.
"Football is played to win, but our satisfaction has to be double. Other teams win and are happy, but it`s not the same. The identity is lacking. In football the result is an impostor. You can do things really, really well but not win. There`s something greater than the result, more lasting - a legacy," he explained.
Barca defeated Paris Saint Germain in the last 8 of the Champions League but had to fight back from 2-0 down against AC Milan in the previous round, producing one of their best displays of the season to win the return leg 4-0 in front of their fans in the Camp Nou stadium.
"That was a significant moment. We had just lost the Copa del Rey semi-final against Real Madrid, a real setback. But the team recovered well and started to play more intensely again," commented Xavi.
Barca must beat Bayern Munich in order to reach the Champions League final, but the fact that it is to be played in Wembley for the second time in three years when Barca defeated Manchester United 3-1 makes the prospect more enticing
"Wembley brings us a lot of joy," commented the midfielder, "we have been in two finals there and won both. Having the final at Wembley makes us dream of getting there again. It will be difficult, but we want to be there with all the good feelings we`ve had in London and at Wembley in particular," he said.