The coach of FC Barcelona and former Spanish international Xavi Hernández assured this Monday that he predicts a very good World Cup for Spain and, despite the criticism that there may be towards Luis Enrique Martínez in a “demanding” environment, he assured that the coach is ideal to carry to the ‘Red’ “far away”.

“There is a lot of criticism of the coach, the environment is very demanding, but I am optimistic with what I see with Spain and I believe that Spain can go a long way,” he told the media at an event at the Santander Work Café on Passeig de Gràcia, in Barcelona.

Regarding Luis Enrique, he assured that “without a doubt” he is a “natural leader” and the best possible coach for Spain. “By personality, by idea, by conviction and by what he transmits he is a natural leader. I have had him as a partner. I predict a very good World Cup in Spain. You have to be optimistic, I believe in the group”, he reiterated.

Of course, he does not see Spain among the top favourites. “I see a very even, even and difficult World Cup. Perhaps I see Brazil and Argentina a step above the Europeans and the African or Asian surprise that there may be,” he commented.

“I see Brazil strong, Neymar very motivated. Then there are France, Spain, Portugal, England or Germany very strong, also Belgium or Croatia that could come as a surprise. That’s where things will be”, predicted the Blaugrana coach .

Xavi, who won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, nevertheless hopes that, thanks to Luis Enrique, Spain will play with its own personality. “I think that Spain is going to be the protagonist, playing with the ball, being very upright and pressing up. A Spain with a lot of personality. There are young people but also experience, it is a very good mix so that Spain can go very far”, he reiterated.

“They have had a difficult group. Japan may be a surprise, because I know Asian football very well. Costa Rica’s first match is very important for the future of the competition. The defeat against Switzerland in South Africa weighed us down and we weighed, because you already have to play with pressure”, he commented on the group, with Germany, Costa Rica (first rival) and Japan.

On the other hand, he also predicted a good World Cup for Leo Messi’s Argentina. “I see Leo as very strong. We are seeing the best Messi again and he is going to make a difference. They have made a team, family, they have unbeaten games and I think they are going to go very far, at least to the semifinal. I wish Messi the best, as friend. Also to Neymar. For me Messi keeps on being the best of the world and the best of the history”, commented, closing the debate and comparison with Maradona.

Xavi will visit Qatar, the country where he spent years between the end of his career as a player and the beginning of his time on the bench, to watch at least two games live. “On the 25th I’ll be there and on the 30th I’ll be back, I can’t be anymore because I have work here. I’ll see Spain-Germany and Qatar-Holland, and some more that I can”, he predicted.