12 Jan Xavi approached to replace Valverde in ‘dream’ Barcelona job
Xavi says it is his dream to coach Barcelona after Nou Camp officials made an approach to Al Sadd with a view to replacing Ernesto Valverde with their former midfielder.
Al Sadd sporting director Muhammad Ghulam Al Balushi confirmed ahead of the Qatari side’s game on Saturday that an approach had been made for Xavi, who was appointed head coach after retiring from playing in May.
“Xavi is negotiating with Barcelona,” the sporting director said in quotes reported by Marca.
The former Spain midfielder, who won eight LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues during an illustrious playing career at the Nou Camp, confirmed after a 4-1 semi-final victory over Al-Rayyan that he was interested in the Barca job.
Xavi told Al-Sadd’s official website: “I don’t hide my dream of coaching Barcelona one day, I would love to coach the team. I support them and my dream is to train Barcelona, but now my focus is on Al-Sadd.
“(Barcelona sporting director) Eric Abidal is my friend. Out of respect for Barcelona and Al Sadd, my focus is on the next match against Al-Duhail.
“My focus here is with Al-Sadd and the upcoming phase. We have an important game coming up in the final against Al-Duhail team, and we must focus on it in a big way.”
Catalan radio station RAC1 and Spanish newspaper AS reported earlier in the week that Abidal, previously a team-mate of Xavi, and CEO Oscar Grau had met with the former midfielder and offered him a two-and-a-half year deal to replace Valverde as their coach.
“I cannot speak on this issue and the conversation was on many issues with Abidal, and as I mentioned, I am currently focusing on Al Sadd and in the final match of the Qatar Cup on Friday against Al-Duhail,” Xavi added.
Valverde’s position has come under increased scrutiny following Barcelona’s Supercopa de Espana exit to Atletico Madrid on Thursday, although the Catalan giants do remain top of LaLiga on goal difference from Real Madrid.