Barcelona's talks with Xavi to replace Valverde as coach confirmed by Al-Sadd

Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by

Barcelona's talks with Xavi to replace Valverde as coach confirmed by Al-Sadd

Having previously denied that their coach was discussing a sensational return to Catalunya, the Qataris now admit that a move is on the table

Al-Sadd have confirmed that negotiations have begun between Xavi and Barcelona for the former midfielder to return to Camp Nou as coach.

Speculation over Ernesto Valverde's future has reached fever pitch since Thursday's Supercopa loss at the hands of Atletico Madrid.

Barca threw away a 2-1 lead in the final minutes to go down at the semi-final stage, allowing Diego Simeone's men to advance to the decider against Real on Sunday.

While Valverde had already been widely tipped to stand down at the end of the current season, Supercopa disappointment has apparently injected rather more urgency into the matter for the Catalans.

And, on Saturday morning, both Barcelona sports dailies, Sport  and Mundo Deportivo , ran front page stories claiming that Xavi had been identified as the man to replace the current incumbent.

Xavi's current club Al-Sadd initially dismissed the reports , but on Saturday the Qataris' sporting director admitted that talks were underway.

"There are negotiations between Xavi and Barcelona now and we wish him the best of luck wherever he goes," Ghulam Al Balushi signalled to  Alkass.

The coach himself tried to play down his meeting with Eric Abidal, stating that he was not discussing the possibility of succeeding Valverde.

"I have not received any offers from Barcelona, it is true that I met Abidal but because he is my friend," he told reporters.

"I respect Barcelona and Valverde. Therefore, I cannot talk about what is going on there.

"My dream is always to be a Barcelona coach but currently I am Al-Sadd coach and my main focus is in Al-Sadd.

"They were here to talk to me and we discussed many things, they were here also to check how Ousmane Dembele is and that's all, I cannot say anything."

Xavi is currently in his first coaching job after hanging up his boots with Al-Sadd in 2019 at the age of 39.

His debut season saw the Qatari side reach the second round of the Club World Cup on home soil, losing out to Monterrey in a thrilling 3-2 victory for the Mexicans before being thrashed 6-2 by Esperance Tunis in the fifth-place play-off.

It is at Barcelona, however, that the ex-midfielder became a footballing legend.

A graduate of La Masia, Xavi spent at total of 24 years at Barcelona as a youth and senior player, making more than 700 appearances in all competitions.

Alongside Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, he was part of one of the greatest midfields of the last two decades, forming the foundation for the most successful period in Barca history.

Xavi lifted eight Liga titles and four Champions Leagues during his time at Camp Nou, and also helped Spain to back-to-back European Championship wins as well as World Cup glory in 2010, making a total of 133 appearances for the Roja.

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