Gerrard hails Xavi 'masterstroke' by Barcelona

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Xavi has made an impressive start to life in the Camp Nou dugout and enjoyed a resounding 4-0 thrashing of El Clasico rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu before the international break.

The former Spain and Barca midfielder was hired after the October sacking of Ronald Koeman, having previously coached Qatari side Al Sadd.

Speaking after a charity match between Liverpool and Barcelona legends at Anfield on Saturday, Gerrard – now in charge at Aston Villa – applauded the return of Xavi when speaking to Barca's media team.

"I think with the appointment of Xavi, it was a masterstroke by Barcelona," he said. "[He is] someone who has got Barcelona in his DNA and who has been a world-class player for many years.

"He obviously knows the style and what all the Barcelona people want to see. And after some challenging times it looks as if they're getting back to where they need to be.

"It was obviously a huge result against Real Madrid, and as a fan of Barcelona from afar, it's good to see them back and firing well."

The Clasico win meant Xavi became just the third coach in LaLiga history to win his first Clasico match by four or more goals, after Ferdinand Daucik in 1951 and Helenio Herrera in 1959.

The Blaugrana are on a 13-match unbeaten streak in LaLiga and won their past five league games, scoring four in all but one of those.

"As a coach in my position you're always trying to learn off everyone you can," Gerrard continued. "There's a lot of media around Xavi because obviously he was a world-class player. He's someone I have the utmost respect for as a player and I'm obviously watching him as a coach as well.

"He's on a similar journey to myself, very young, very new. I'm sure he's learning a lot every day like myself, but I'd like to give him a personal good luck message. I hope he makes it a big success and I'd love to see him at Barcelona for many years."

Gerrard scored in the 2-1 win for Barca's legends on Merseyside, with Rivaldo and Giovanni netting for the visitors.