Bayern Munich hitting treble-winning form, Javi Martinez as a Spain World Cup must and Joshua Kimmich's future role as a central midfielder: welcome to the world according to footballing icon Xavi Hernandez!
Speaking with German publication Sport Bild this week, the highly decorated ex-Barcelona star said he was so impressed by the Bavarian giants, he saw Jupp Heynckes' men as one of the continent’s elite teams right now. "For me, there are four sides on the same level: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Bayern," the 38-year-old explained.
A key factor in the eight-time Spanish Liga winner’s thinking is that with the return of coach Heynckes to the Bayern helm earlier this term, the Bundesliga giants have managed to significantly improve on their early-season form.
"[Jupp Heynckes] is respected by everyone in the footballing world and that respect is also evident within his team," Xavi explained. "He has brought order again to Bayern: they are defensively stable and are producing good build-up play. They attack as a unit but will then withdraw together during certain phases. That’s something that reminds me a lot of the 2013 [vintage]," the midfield maestro - who featured in Barça's 7-0 Champions League semi-final drubbing at the hands of Bayern that year - added.
Indeed, it was 2013 that Bayern memorably stormed home to win the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup under their current coach while this time around, Xavi believes the men in red, "… look well on their way to finding that treble-winning form of old."
Watch: Shades of 2012/13 with Bayern on treble charge!
Asked by Sport Bild for the players who has caught his eye in the current Bayern set-up, Xavi unsurprisingly offered plenty of praise for compatriot Javi Martinez, "… an important player in defensive midfield and one of the best players in Europe.
"[Javi] deserves to be called back into the Spanish setup and deserves to go to the World Cup."
"Pep Guardiola was a big fan, which is all you need to know, really. If Pep supports a player as much as he did [with Joshua], that means the player must be very solid indeed."
Just as solid as Bayern's treble-winning chances this term, it would seem.