Xavi believes Neymar "has to mature" if he is to reach the same level as Lionel Messi.
The former Barcelona midfielder was asked to assess the merits of his two ex-team-mates and, although he remains a fan of Neymar, thinks Messi is a step ahead at the current time.
Neymar left Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222 million in August 2017 but reports in Spain suggest the Brazil star is eager to return and re-form a previously prolific triumvirate with Messi and Luis Suarez.
Speaking to Super Deportivo de Villa Trinidad, Xavi said of Messi and Neymar: "They are different. I see Leo with great footballing maturity. He does everything well. Neymar is a person who has to mature, but he seems like a player with enormous capacity to make a difference.
"Although he could improve, he is among the top players in the world."
Xavi also backed Messi in the face of blistering criticism from Diego Maradona, who said the five-time Ballon d'Or winner did not possess the leadership skills required to captain Argentina.
"I disagree with Maradona," he added.
"Messi is an incredible leader, he is maybe quiet in the dressing toom but he's an absolute leader. He always wants the ball, he always offers himself, he has personality. He has never hidden.
"I don't like it when former footballers are too critical with former team-mates. I'm not just talking about Maradona, but in general.
"These footballers who are very critical with their professional team-mates...they have been there and they know the difficulty. I don't understand the strong criticism against players when you have been there too."
Argentina's underwhelming World Cup campaign in Russia has led to speculation Messi will step away from international football but Xavi believes the 31-year-old will continue to play for his country.
"I think he'll return. He needs time to reflect and to rest but I think he'll go back," he said.
"He is a competitive beast and he will want to try and win with Argentina."
23 de enero 2019
|Djokovic: Pouille deserves top-10 spot|
|Hazard must be more demanding if he wants to leave Chelsea, says Ballack|
|Celtics´ Kyrie Irving to sit out Cavs game with flu-like symptoms|
|Barcelona seal €86m De Jong deal|
|Vietnam v Japan: Moriyasu happy to keep doing just enough|
|Hendricks, De Kock and Steyn join up with Proteas squad|
|Lorenzo excited for ´new level´ at Repsol Honda|
|Fernando replaces injured Pradeep in Sri Lanka squad|
|China v Iran: Queiroz wants to exorcise 2015 quarter-final|
|Balotelli joins Marseille until the end of the season|
|Emery gives Monchi ringing endorsement amid Arsenal sporting director links|
|Larry Fitzgerald returning to Cardinals on one-year deal|
|Watson absence ´an opportunity´ for Scotland hopefuls, says Townsend|
|Pochettino open to new signings but Janssen to remain a Spurs outcast|
|´No trace´ of aircraft so far in Sala search|
|Pochettino will not judge Sarri for criticising Chelsea players|
|From front row to four in a row - Best takes on Farrell at Connect 4|
|Hazard an individual, not a leader - Sarri urges Chelsea star to do more|
|Broad left out of England team for first Test|
|Higuain set to sign for Chelsea but won´t face Tottenham – Sarri|
|McGillvary injury blow for Giants|
|Solari praises Marcelo amid exit rumours|
|A-League Review: Joy and pain for De Jong as Sydney close gap|
|Halfpenny, Davies and Williams set to miss France clash|
|India to rest Kohli from back end of New Zealand tour|
|The hand is good - Farrell expects to be fit to face Ireland|
|Martinez leaves Arsenal for Reading loan|
|Beckham becomes Salford City shareholder|
|Maradona hopes Sala will be found alive|
|Djokovic will not discuss potential Nadal showdown yet|
|A Federer-Nadal double? Even historic scalps may not be enough for Tsitsipas|
|Raonic to assess knee injury, hopes to avoid surgery|
|Barcelona right to fine ´complicated´ Dembele, says Ter Stegen|
|Higuain and Piatek on the move on busy day for Milan|
|Philippe and Vince humble the Hurricanes|
|Nishikori: I couldn´t beat anybody on one leg|
|Boateng poised for debut as Barcelona axe Suarez|
|Shami sets record in crushing win after sun stops play|
|Sala search focused on possible use of life raft|
|Pouille exceeds own expectations with run to Aus Open semis|
|Nishikori retirement sees Djokovic through to semi-finals|
|A golden boy, a guy you want to love - Delecroix pays emotional tribute to Sala|
|Richardson, Patterson to make Australia debuts against Sri Lanka|
|Police resume search for missing Sala plane|
|Pouille upsets Raonic to reach Australian Open semis|
|Dunk sees Stars past Strikers|
|How Serena gave up 5-1 lead – the key moments of loss to Pliskova|
|Pliskova enjoys ´best comeback´ after stunning Serena|
|Serena not blaming ankle injury for Australian Open loss|
|Mavericks capitalise on Clippers´ turnovers, pick up win in Smith´s return|
|Pliskova saves four match points to stun Serena with comeback win|
|Anthony ´can only make´ a team better, says Iverson|
|Henry more worried about Monaco´s future than his own|
|Osaka powers past Svitolina in Melbourne|
|Harden on Anthony trade: It kind of sucks that it didn´t work out|
|Redskins remain ´optimistic´ QB Alex Smith will play again|
|Patriots coach Belichick says Rams´ Donald is ´pretty much unblockable´|
|PSG fined €100,000 by LFP over player-recruitment practices|
|I´m not his father - Guardiola demands Mendy matures|
|Sykes record in vain as Banvit claim victory|
22 de enero 2019
|Usain Bolt calls time on football career|
|Otamendi not happy at Man City, says Guardiola|
|Workaholic Woods learning to rest as he prepares for 2019 debut|
|Henry´s Monaco dumped out of Coupe de France|
|Qatar can win Asian Cup, says Sanchez|
|Tim Howard to retire following 2019 MLS season|
|Koscielny backs Bellerin to return from injury ´stronger than before´|
|Chiefs fire DC Bob Sutton after AFC Championship loss to Patriots|
|Reyes returns to Spain with second-tier strugglers Extremadura|
|Emiliano Sala: Profile of Cardiff City striker missing after joining from Nantes|