Barcelona

Barcelona escalates plans after Al Sadd responds to Xavi.

Barcelona chiefs reportedly met Xavi to discuss a deal to appoint him as manager.

The Qatari side revealed that they have not received an approach from the Spanish champions for manager Xavi. Valverde’s position as Barcelona boss has come under increasing pressure following Barcelona’s Spanish Super Cup defeat to Atletico Madrid on Thursday. Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal and chief executive Oscar Grau reportedly met Xavi to discuss the situation.

Spanish newspaper AS reported that there were discussions to replace Valverde as head coach. Barcelona’s chiefs reportedly offered Xavi a two-and-a-half-year contract to manage the club from next season onwards. Al Sadd general manager Turki Al-Ali, however, brushed aside reports claiming that Xavi was on his way back to Barcelona. The Qatari club released an official statement on Friday to address the rumors.

Xavi spent a staggering 17 years of his career at the Nou Camp before moving to Al Sadd in 2015. Xavi played out the twilight years of his career at Al Sadd before his retirement in July. The former Camp Nou icon since then has been serving as the head coach of the Qatari outfit. Al Sadd are currently third in the domestic league with 7 wins from 11 games under the Barcelona legend.

Al Sadd release statement denying reports of Xavi returning to Barcelona.

Xavi won eight La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and a host of other trophies with Barca as a player. The former Spanish international made 133 appearances for his national side, winning the 2008 and 2012 Euro Championships as well as the 2010 World Cup. Xavi has been long tipped to manage his former club in the future. Al-Ali, however, denied the possibility of Xavi returning to Barcelona anytime soon.

Al Sadd begins their AFC Champions League campaign next month against the Saudi side Al-Nasr Riyadh. Xavi led Al Sadd to the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League last year. Xavi has never hidden the fact that he would love to coach Barcelona in the future. Al-Ali admitted that the former Spanish international was destined to return to his parent club but maintained that he was focused on his job at Qatar as of now.

“The issue of Xavi going to Barcelona is normal and expected because he will be at his club and it’s his first home and he must return there in the future, but as of today, Xavi is the coach of Al Sadd,” Al-Ali stated. “Xavi and his team are focusing on tomorrow’s match against Al-Rayyan, and we know that a club with the size and professionalism of Barcelona will take to official channels to speak of such matters,” he added.

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