Steven Gerrard praises Barcelona 'masterstroke' in appointing Xavi as manager

Steven Gerrard has revealed his admiration of Barcelona for appointing Xavi as their head coach, while he also admitted he is a Blaugrana fan 'from afar'.

Xavi was appointed as the permanent successor to Ronald Koeman back in November and inherited one mighty task to get Barça's season back on track, with the club languishing in ninth place in the league table upon his arrival.

However, the 42-year-old has overseen a stark turn in fortunes at Camp Nou, blooding the squad with young players and utilising the January transfer market well.

Barcelona went into the March international break off the back of an emphatic 4-0 win at Real Madrid and they look on course to return to the Champions League next season - a prospect which seemed unlikely back in the autumn.

Aston Villa manager Gerrard, who played for Liverpool's legends' side against Barcelona at Anfield on Saturday, told the Blaugrana's club channels that bringing Xavi back to Catalonia was a genius idea.

"I think with the appointment of Xavi it was a masterstroke by Barcelona to appoint him," Gerrard said.

"[He is] someone who has got Barcelona in his DNA, who has been a world class player for many years, he obviously knows the style and what all the Barcelona people want to see.

"After some challenging times, it looks as if they're getting back to where they need to be. It was obviously a huge result against Real Madrid.

"As a fan of Barcelona from afar, it's really good to see them back firing well."

Source : 90min