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Xavi defends sacked Rijkaard

Xavi defends sacked Rijkaard

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has defended Frank Rijkaard in the wake of his sacking by the club on Thursday. Xavi believes the players are to pay for Rijkaard's unfortunate demise.

Rijkaard led Barcelona to Champions League glory in the past but a few disappoiting seasons have cost him his job.

'The players are the main ones responsible for this,' he admitted. 'We could have done much more to not be in this situation.

'Rijkaard was a kind and helpful coach who always told us that we had to be professionals and because of that talked about the players managing themselves.

'It was the crisis of not winning anything for two years in a club that can't allow themselves to do so that spelt the end for him.

'But football is unjust and functions in that manner.

'He deserves all our praise. He was an example for us in every way, a man who treats people marvellously, who got through to us in the dressing room, an example on every level, not only as a coach.'