Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi has admitted that he follows Sky Bet Championship side Middlesbrough because of their Head Coach Aitor Karanka, reports the Daily Mail.
The 35-year old is one of the all time greats in the game and has won the biggest competitions in European football, at both club and international level.
Xavi ended his 17-year spell with Spanish giants Barcelona in the summer when he agreed to join Qatari side Al-Saad and he was interviewed by ESPN about his thoughts on the English game, where he admitted his admiration for The Boro.
“I follow Middlesbrough because Aitor Karanka is there. Brighton are top of their league.”
The news will be a bit of a shock for the footballing world but it shows how highly rated the Middlesbrough manager is in the game, particularly in his home country.
While Xavi admits that he keeps an eye on the Teessiders’ form, he admitted that he enjoys the English game and says that the support is incredible.
“I met a boy the other day. English. He was wearing a Barca shirt but I asked him who he supported. He said: ‘Sheffield United,” said the Spaniard.
“I know them, they have 20,000 fans in the third division. That’s incredible. You get that in England.”
It’s special praise indeed for the Football League that one of the all-time greats in football is so complimentary about it, and Middlesbrough and Sheffield United in particular.
Xavi will be happy with Middlesbrough’s current league standings, with the Teeside club currently occupying third spot in the Sky Bet Championship, having accumulated 33 points from 17 league games this season.
Boro have won six out of their last ten league fixtures, and they will be hoping to break into the top two spots on Saturday, when they face David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town at the John Smiths Stadium.
Middlesbrough and Sheffield United fans…What do you make of Xavi’s comments? Let us know what you think in the comments below!