Xavi says it is ‘not the right time’ to become Barcelona coach

Forty-year-old rejected the offer to manage his former club back in January

Richard Martin
Thursday 13 August 2020 11:38
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Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi manages Doha club Al Sadd
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi manages Doha club Al Sadd

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has ruled out coaching the club in the near future, citing institutional problems as a reason to bide his time and remain in his role with Qatar’s Al Sadd.

Xavi rejected the offer to coach his former club back in January when they sacked Ernesto Valverde, and even though current manager Quique Setien’s role is far from secure, the Catalan is still unwilling to return for the time being.

The former Spain player alluded to some of the problems president Josep Maria Bartomeu has faced, including a scandal involving the hiring of a social media monitoring firm and fallout from a pay-cut the club introduced in April.

“There’s a lot of external noise around the club, a lot of issues off the pitch and I don’t think now is the right time,” Xavi told the magazine Icon.

“In January, I told them it wasn’t the right time and they haven’t contacted me since.

“I’m delighted to continue to gain experience and challenge myself and of course it’ll be a privilege for me to one day coach Barca.”

Xavi also urged Barca to hand a new contract to Lionel Messi, whose current deal expires next year, amid reports the Argentine is disillusioned with Bartomeu’s leadership.

“He has earned it, he should have an automatic clause,” Xavi said of the club’s all-time top scorer.

“Messi needs Barca and Barca need Messi.

“They have to make him happy, because a happy Messi will win more trophies. He has done what Pele, [Johan] Cruyff, [Diego] Maradona and Ronaldo all did but over a period of 15 years and in the modern era.

“He is at an incredible level physically, tactically and technically, and continues to be the best player in every game.”

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