Barcelona hero Xavi has expressed his admiration for one of Arsenal’s most valuable players in the current squad. 

The Gunners are still in contention for major honours this season as they sit third in the Premier League table with a place in the next round of the Champions League secured.

That has been largely down to the sublime form of Alexis Sanchez who has scored 14 goals and racked up 10 assists so far in the campaign.

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And according to Xavi, who once played with Sanchez at Barcelona, he has always respected the Chilean for the hardworking effort he produces on the pitch.

“The level Sanchez is playing at now is not a shock to me at all, he is one of the top forwards in Europe and now everybody is seeing it,” said Xavi.

“He scored some important goals for Barcelona but maybe because there were so many established stars already at Barcelona that not everybody recognised him as they should.

“Now at Arsenal he is their main threat, people are starting to notice – but anybody who has played with him will know of his qualities and not be at all surprised he is now being considered one of the best attacking players in the world.

“What gets him so much respect is his work rate. He has this obvious ability but also works so hard for the team, he never stops running.”

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