Xavi reserves special praise for Manchester United duo Raphael Varane and Casemiro
Barcelona head coach Xavi has reserved special praise for Machester United duo Raphael Varane and Casemiro ahead of the second leg of the Europa League playoff tie.
The Red Devils will welcome the Blaugrana on Thursday (23 February) to Old Trafford. In the reverse fixture, the Manchester-based club came away with a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou.
United have two former Real Madrid stars who are very familiar with going up against the Catalan outfit. Both the France and Brazil internationals have been involved in various El Clasicos over the years.
Speaking to the media (h/t Manchester Evening News) ahead of the match, Xavi, who played for Barcelona until 2015 and is now their manager, believes Varane and Casemiro are pivotal players for United.
“I would say both are really important. Passion, and mentality, they are used to this kind of games. With this kind of players with experience, they are making the difference for the team.”
The French centre-back signed for the Red Devils in the summer of 2021 from Los Blancos. In his debut season, the 29-year-old struggled to settle in due to injuries. However, in the current campaign, he has been exceptional at the back.
Alongside Lisandro Martinez, Varane has been part of a steady backline. The two World Cup winners have been Erik ten Hag’s preferred duo in the defence.
As for Casemiro, he was bought by the Old Trafford side last summer. Initially, the 31-year-old found it hard to get into the Dutch manager’s plans. However, the Brazilian’s performances have quickly made him a key player.
Earlier, the likes of Scott McTominay and Fred were unable to show consistency in the middle of the park. With Christian Erik by his side, the former Madrid star has controlled the engine room for United. The defensive midfielder has brought much-needed quality to our team.
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Having won multiple titles in Spain together, Varane and Casemiro have brought with them a winning pedigree to Manchester. Hopefully, their experience will make a difference against Barcelona.