Doha: Barcelona icon Xavi has said that he first thought coach Louis van Gaal was an "idiot" when he became the boss of the Catalan giants in 1997.

Louis Van Gaal. Pic/AFP
Louis Van Gaal. Pic/AFP

Xavi is presently playing for Qatari club Al-Sadd SC.

The Dutchman helped Barcelona bag two league titles, one Copa Del Rey and a UEFA Super Cup.

"After two days of training under him, I thought, 'Who is this idiot'," Xavi was quoted as saying by ESPN FC.

Xavi said he, however, grew fond of the 64-year-old after a few days.

"After one week, though, I thought, 'He's right.' He'll always be in my heart, Louis van Gaal."

"He is a good person, a very good trainer. He has a very strong character, but he's calm in the Premier League because there's less pressure. He's much calmer than when he was at Barca or Bayern Munich."

"He's honest, methodical and a real perfectionist. He's very demanding, he's strict and he wants to achieve the highest levels possible."