Doha: Xavi is in talks with his former club Barcelona to take over as coach, his current team, Qatar’s Al-Sadd have said, although the Spanish great himself stayed tight-lipped about his “dream” job.
Spanish media had earlier reported that Barcelona had asked former captain Xavi to take over from the under-pressure Ernesto Valverde.
“I will not deny that. There are negotiations about Xavi and everyone is talking about them… but I can say that Xavi so far is at Al-Sadd,” Muhammad Ghulam Al-Balushi, Al-Sadd’s sports director, told the Qatar-based BeIN broadcaster.
“The final decision is in the hands of Al-Sadd’s management, in the hands of the manager, and the hands of Barcelona’s management,” he added ahead of Al-Sadd’s 4-1 semi-final victory against Al-Rayyan in the Qatar Cup.
Xavi declined to confirm the speculation at the post-match media briefing but said he had met Barcelona’s director of football Eric Abdidal during his recent trip to Qatar.
“I’m focussing on Al-Sadd. Yes Abidal is my friend, I met him many times,” he said.
“They were here to talk to me and we discussed many things. And they were here to check how is Ousmane Dembele.
“I cannot inform you too much, just that I met Abidal and he is my friend.” But he added: “I cannot hide that it’s my dream to coach Barcelona, I said it many times.”
French international and Barcelona forward Dembele has been in Qatar for treatment on a hamstring injury.
World Cup winner Xavi, 39, came through the Barcelona academy and played 855 senior games for the Camp Nou side.
He joined Al-Sadd as a player in 2015 before being appointed coach last July.
Valverde’s position is reportedly under threat after the Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid on Thursday.
“I respect Barcelona, I respect Valverde, and I respect my club and I’m doing my job here,” Xavi added.
“When I started as a coach, I felt ready to coach Al-Sadd, to coach Barcelona, to coach other teams — but I don’t know the timing, I have a contract here, one more season. Let’s see what happens.”