Barcelona Boss Xavi Hails Defender For 'Incredible Display' in Champions League Clash Against Porto

Barcelona Boss Xavi Hails Defender For 'Incredible Display' in Champions League Clash Against Porto

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
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  • Barcelona hosted FC Porto in round five of the UEFA Champions League
  • The Catalan club have been struggling for form in their recent fixtures
  • Xavi Hernandez has singled out a defender for praise after his display

Barcelona rallied to a much-needed victory in the UEFA Champions League against Portuguese side, FC Porto.

The Catalan club, who have been on a poor run of form heading into the game, started the game in the worst possible way as Brazilian forward Eduardo Gabriel Aquino Cossa - popularly referred to as Pepe - pegged back the La Liga giants with a sublime finish.

While the clouds of doubts appeared to be gathering over Xavi Hernandez and his coaching technique, defender Joao Cancelo found an equaliser for La Blaugrana off a beautiful pass from midfielder, Pedri Gonzalez.

Joao Cancelo celebrates with teammates Pedri Gonzalez, Inigo Martinez and Ronald Araujo after scoring the team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League match against Porto. Image: Eric Alonso.
Source: Getty Images

Cancelo would become provider as he teed up fellow Portuguese star, Joao Felix, whose finish from close range was enough for the Catalan club to seal the victory on the night.

Following the conclusion of a nerve-racking and pulsating encounter, Barcelona manager Xavi took to the post-match presser to salute the defender for his immense display.

Xavi hails Cancelo after Barca's UCL win

The 43-year-old manager saluted the 29-year-old, as quoted by Barca Universal:

"Cancelo is an amazing and versatile player. He can help us in several positions. Today, we talked about how he could exchange positions with Felix, and they are two players who understand each other wonderfully."

The praises from the Barcelona manager for the on-loan Manchester City defender appear to resonate with many fans across social media, with many echoing their appreciation for the defender.

Notably, it appeared the Champions League governing body agreed with the plaudits meted to the Portuguese star, as he was named Player of the Match following his impeccable display, as reported by Sofascore.

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Xavi questions Barcelona's player's mentality

As Sports Brief previously reported, Barcelona boss, Xavi Hernandez was unimpressed with his players and had demanded more effort from them following the weekend draw away at Rayo Vallecano.

His comments had come after a run of poor performances - domestically and in Europe. The former midfielder was critical of his team's performance and did not hold back while questioning their efforts.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).