Although he admits it is always slightly tough to watch Zinedine Zidane excel at Real Madrid, Xavi has described how the way that the French coach operates makes him an ideal role model.
Not only recognised for the vast swathes of silverware as has won on the pitch and in the dugout, Zidane’s attitude was pinpointed as a big factor in Xavi’s admiration.
“Of course I admire [Zidane] because he was an extraordinary footballer,” the Spaniard recalled to BeIN Doha. “It was wonderful to watch him play.
“My pain has been to suffer him at Real Madrid. It’s a real shame.
“Everyone has admired Zidane and continues to admire him. Not just as a player; he is a gentleman, a sensible, noble person, known by the entire world of football.
“He’s an example to follow.”
The former Barcelona midfielder continued to put aside any club rivalries to enthuse that any fan of great football has to love the likes of Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona, for what they have contributed to the game.
“Who wasn’t a fan of Maradona or isn’t now a fan of Messi?” pondered Xavi.
“They are magical players who have had a magic wand that told them they were going to be the best of their generation.
“Maradona, Messi, Pele, [Johan] Cruyff, Zidane, [Alfredo] Di Stefano remain in the memory of all football lovers. They have been the players to make a difference.”