Xavi Simons has taken the Bundesliga by storm since joining RB Leipzig on loan from Paris Saint-Germain for the season, registering five goals and seven assists to quickly become one of the most feared attackers in Germany's top flight.
In this wide-ranging exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the 20-year-old discusses life in the Bundesliga, why he prefers scoring to setting up goals and reveals the origin of his unique celebration.
bundesliga.com: You are Leipzig's top assist provider and behind only Leroy Sané, Julian Brandt, Alejandro Grimaldo and Florian Wirtz in that category in the Bundesliga. What does this statistic mean to you?
Xavi: “Basically, I'm not the type of guy to focus on that, I'm more interested in improving and helping the team. Although at the end of the day it's nice to have this, but for me, the most important thing is winning games.”
bundesliga.com: Do you prefer scoring or setting up goals?
Xavi: “If you were to ask me this years ago, I would say providing assists. But nowadays I would say scoring goals. Just because when you score, the adrenaline rush you get is just different. So I would say scoring goals.”
Watch: Xavi's best skills
bundesliga.com: Leipzig lost the first three games this year. How do you explain those defeats against Frankfurt, Leverkusen and Stuttgart?
Xavi: “It was not good, not good enough to be fair with you. When you are here in the week that you have to prepare the games, it's totally different. The atmosphere, obviously you're losing so that doesn't help, but at the end you have to recover and try to win next weekend. Now we won [against Union Berlin on Matchday 20] but we have to keeo going.”
bundesliga.com: Are you worried that the poor start to 2024 could put the goal of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League out of reach?
Xavi: “Obviously we lost points but it's not the end of the season now. We're building something. We have to continue and you have to give everything. We obviously lost three games and that's not good. We know that, but now what we can say is that we have to keep going.”
bundesliga.com: Your goal in the home game against Leverkusen - is it your best goal so far?
Xavi: “I would say it's in the top three goals because it was difficult to score it. I got the ball from Xaver [Schlager] and I saw two people on my side, so I tried to turn with the ball. I didn't think about it and I shot with my left foot. I would say it's my best goal. I enjoyed it. It was important, the first of the game. So, yes, it was a good one.”
bundesliga.com: What did you feel when you scored that goal?
Xavi: “A lot because that week I was just thinking about that game. I wanted to win it. I wanted to show with my team what we are capable of. We ended up losing, but for me personally, it was a game that was really marked on my calendar.”
Watch: Xavi's January Goal of the Month effort against Leverkusen!
bundesliga.com: When you celebrate a goal, you always 'call' your brother. Can you tell us how that celebration came about?
Xavi: “I decided to do this one when I made the step to France, to Paris. I was telling my brother that I wanted to do something that people would recognise as my celebration. I didn't want to do something that other people were doing. We were playing FIFA and this celebration came on - and we added the finger. I would say that it came like this, spontaneous with him.”
bundesliga.com: What do you expect against Bayern on Matchday 23 in Munich?
Xavi: “I'm looking forward to it obviously, but before that we have really difficult games as well. We have Augsburg this weekend. That's the first one and obviously, Bayern Munich is a big game. Everyone will be watching that game and we know that. Like you said, we lost three games in a row, but now after beating Union Berlin we have to follow this line, starting with Augsburg. That's our priority.”
bundesliga.com: What do you think of Jamal Musiala?
Xavi: “He's a really good guy. I know him from the youth teams. We played against each other a lot. I know him, he's a really good player, quality, technical. I think everything is really good, top I would say. We're both the same age and good players.”
bundesliga.com: Are you similar types of players?
Xavi: “Yes, I would say maybe in terms of technique, he's a player that can make the difference, just like me, I would say.”
bundesliga.com: How much are you looking forward to the Champions League match against Real Madrid?
Xavi: “It's the biggest stage and you have to go and you have to try to win. That's it. First of all, you have to respect Real Madrid, everyone knows that. But I would say for me personally, these are the games that a player wants to play in and enjoy.”
bundesliga.com: What have Leipzig done for you in terms of your career?
Xavi: “I'm improving myself. I needed a club that would help me to improve my progression. I'm 20 years old, I know I can do a lot of things better, but yes, I just wanted to be competing every week against the best. I'm playing in the Bundesliga and the Champions League, so I cannot prefer another stage, I would say.”
bundesliga.com: Is this the step you were looking for in your career?
Xavi: “Yes, this is the step that I needed now, to reach the goal that I want to reach. This is for me, it's really good that I'm here and improving every day.”
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