By Abigail Withey
Barcelona legend Xavi has spoken of his fondness for Celtic and has boldly claimed manager Brendan Rodgers can take to his side to the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Bhoys will head to the Astana Arena on Tuesday with the aim of finishing off their second-leg tie against the Kazakhstan outfit following an already impressive 5-0 win over the club in their first game.
The Hoops failed miserably in trying to get out of the Champions League group stages last season but were dealt a tough draw with Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Moncnengladbach their opponents.
However with the confidence from their impressive victories so far this season, the Glaswegian side have also had the added boost of the support from a footballing legend.
Former Nou Camp star Xavi has said that Celtic are capable of going beyond the group stages and has spoken of their ability to win against any of the teams in Europe.
“Their first priority will always be to qualify for the group stages. But this year I think they can go and look beyond that. They should be looking at progressing out of the group,” Xavi said, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“I know how hard it is to win against a strong Celtic team in Glasgow.
“If they do well in their home games, then they will stand a chance no matter how strong their group is.”
The ex-Barcelona midfielder said that now he doesn’t have to play in the competition, he can watch and admire the talent of clubs like Celtic.
“Now I no longer play in The Champions League, I get to watch it and actually enjoy,” Xavi added.
“Celtic are a club that I will always have good memories of and that is why it is good to see them back playing at such a high level.
“For me the team they have now is as good as the team that beat Barcelona and maybe they will go on to achieve even more.”
Celtic have won all of their matches across all competitions so far this season, as look likely to be replicating their domestic treble win from the previous campaign.
Rodgers has only made three new signings this summer including Olivier Ntcham, Kundai Benyu and Jonny Hayes while Patrick Roberts is widely reported to be on the verge of a move back to Parkhead.