Xavi Welcomes Vilanova Appointment
Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes the decision to name Tito Vilanova as Pep Guardiola's replacement means any disruption caused by the departure of the record-breaking coach will be kept to a minimum.
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Guardiola announced last month that he would be leaving Barca this summer after four hugely successful years in charge in which he led the azulgrana to two Champions League crowns, three La Liga trophies, one Copa del Rey, three Supercopas, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.
Numerous big-name coaches were linked to the position but Barca decided to stay in-house and promote Guardiola's assistant Vilanova to the post.
That move may have raised more than a few eyebrows, but it has got the thumbs-up from veteran midfielder Xavi.
"It was a surprise for everyone that Pep decided not to continue. We're grateful for all that he has done here in these four years, but Tito is well qualified, he's somebody who is very well respected in the changing room and he understands very well the philosophy of this club. We have to adapt quickly to the circumstances," Xavi said.
"It's good that Tito is continuing because the mechanics will be the same. It's the least drastic change, because it's a change of continuity. He won't change a lot of things.
"We will be with him to the end, as we have been with all the coaches."
Guardiola's last game in charge of Barca is set to be next week's Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao.
The final pits the two most successful teams in the competition's history against each other, and also brings together several players who could be Spanish team-mates at Euro 2012 this summer.
Barca could provide around a third of Vicente Del Bosque's 23-man squad, while, from Athletic, the likes of Fernando Llorente, Andoni Iraola, Javi Martinez and Iker Muniain will also be hoping to make the cut.
Probably the biggest question mark facing Del Bosque at present, though, is whether Barca striker David Villa will be fit to go to Ukraine and Poland.
Villa, Spain's all-time record goalscorer, has been absent since before Christmas with a broken leg but Xavi feels there is enough time left for the former Valencia hitman to make the start of the tournament.
Xavi said: "My hope is that Villa can be at the European Championships, it depends a bit on how he's feeling. He is giving it everything, working morning and afternoon. We don't start playing until June 10, so he could get there perfectly.
"I have a very good relationship with 'Guaje' and I would like him to be there. He's an extraordinary footballer and the leading goalscorer in the history of the national team. The numbers are there for all to see."
Del Bosque, meanwhile, was quoted as saying about Villa in the Spanish press on Friday: "We all want him to be there, but we know how serious an injury he's suffered. The expectations surrounding David are good but we have to be sure that he's not running any risk in his recovery and, at the same time, that he's going to be effective for us."