‘He’s ready to do the job’: Pep Guardiola backs Xavi for Barcelona managerial role

The former Barca midfielder is favourite to replace Ronald Koeman at the Nou Camp after the Dutchman was dismissed on Wednesday

Jamie Braidwood
Friday 29 October 2021 13:42
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Barca sack Ronald Koeman with Xavi looking favourite to take over

Pep Guardiola believes Xavi is “ready” to become Barcelona’s next manager and has backed his former midfielder to replace Ronald Koeman.

The Manchester City boss coached Xavi as Barcelona won three La Liga titles and two Champions League medals between 2008 and 2012, and the former Spain international is favourite to take over at the Nou Camp following Koeman’s dismissal.

Sergi Barjuan has been placed in interim charge while the club looks to find a permanent successor.

Guardiola, who like Xavi was a product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy, was an inexperienced appointment when he took charge of the club in 2008 after being promoted from the B-team and said that it should not be a barrier to the 41-year-old’s appointment.

Since retiring from playing in 2019, Xavi has coached Qatari side Al Sadd and is yet to take up a managerial position in Europe.

Koeman was sacked following Barcelona’s 1-0 defeat by Rayo Vallecano this week, a result that left the club ninth in La Liga, while they also face a fight to qualify from the Champions League group stages. If appointed, Xavi would face many of the same challenges that Koeman had struggled to deal with this campaign, such as the club’s debts of over €1billion and their first season without Lionel Messi.

When asked about the possibility of Xavi taking over at Barcelona, Guardiola told a news conference: “First of all I don’t know what will happen. They have an interim manager, Sergi, and I wish him the best of luck, he’s a close friend.

“Xavi, I don’t know what will happen. I’m pretty sure sooner or later it will happen – just in case it happens and he will be the new manager, I don’t have any doubts he’s ready to do the job.

“He knows the environment, which is so important in this role. He knows the game, he has passion. He has more experience now than I had when I took over from the B-team at Barcelona.

“Koeman knows and Sergi knows and Xavi knows and I know, the success depends on the quality and the commitment and the players. People still forget we are responsible for everything but our influence is more minimal than people believe. It’s the quality of the player.

“The success I had was because of the quality of the players. This is the only reason, the quality of the players. The quality of Ronald and Sergi who might have less experience or Xavi of course is really good, I wish Sergi now and if Xavi is the next manager, I wish him all the best and hopefully step by step the team can come back where it deserves to be.”

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