Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez hasn’t enjoyed the Champions League this week.
Xavi watched jealously on Tuesday as Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid clashed, as Barca prepared to face their new reality 48 hours later.
After finishing third in their UCL group, Barca will take part in the European secondary tournament for the first time since 2004.
It was the UEFA Cup back then, so it will be the famous club’s first-ever appearance in the new UEFA Europa League.
Even if they will be disappointed, probably a little embarrassed to be here, the status of their opponent should keep them motivated.
Barca enter the UEL in the 32nd leg where they face two-time Italian champions Napoli, with the first leg taking place at Camp Nou on Thursday.
Before the first leg, Xavi tried to focus on the positives.
The Europa League offers a realistic chance for Barca to lift their first European trophy since 2015, while the winner of the tournament will also be guaranteed a place in the Champions League next season.
“It’s an opportunity for us,” Xavi said at a press conference on Wednesday, as reported by ESPN.
“Our main objective is to return to the Champions League next season and there are two ways to achieve this: finish in the top four of La Liga or win the Europa League.
“Of course we would like to be in the Champions League. It hurts not to be there. Hearing the Champions League music on TV made me angry.
“But we are in another competition. It’s still a European competition. We’re not talking about the third division. It’s a chance to keep growing and everyone is motivated to win a trophy that the club doesn’t have. never won before.”
Xavi was then asked about Kylian Mbappe, after the Frenchman shone for PSG against Real Madrid on Tuesday.
But he was reluctant to talk about the Champions League.
“Don’t talk to me about Mbappe,” he shot back. “He’s a great player, just like Neymar and Messi, and PSG and Madrid are great teams, but unfortunately we’re not in this competition.
“It makes me angry, I’m very competitive, a winner, and I’m angry to have been eliminated from the Champions League, but we have to solve this problem. We have to be there. But don’t ask me questions on Mbappe.”
Xavi has only made three UEFA Cup appearances as a player. He has won the Champions League four times.