Report: Xavi Rejects Barcelona's Manager Job Now, Expected to Take over in June

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2020

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 14: Al-Sadd SC head coach Xavier Hernandez gestures during the FIFA Club World Cup 2nd round match between Monterrey and Al-Sadd Sports Club at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on December 14, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Barcelona's former midfielder Xavi Hernandez has reportedly agreed to become the next manager of the club at the end of the 2019-20 season.

According to Ignasi Oliva Gispert of Goal, he will replace current head coach Ernesto Valverde, although Xavi, who is currently the manager of Qatari outfit Al Sadd, appears poised to take the job when the Blaugrana's campaign has finished.

"[Xavi] respects the current incumbent Valverde and does not want to be the man to force him out of the job," Gispert said.

According to Luis F. Rojo of Marca, Barcelona did offer Xavi the opportunity to take over the club this month, although he opted against leaving Al Sadd.

Ben Hayward of the Evening Standard said Xavi told Barcelona Chief Executive Oscar Grau and Sporting Director Eric Abidal of his intentions when they met recently.

Xavi has confirmed he held talks with Barcelona officials, although he would not divulge the details of the meeting.

"I cannot hide it's my dream to coach Barcelona," he added. "I've said it many times in many interviews. Everyone knows I support Barcelona from the bottom of my heart. But I'm doing my job here. I'm doing my best. I was focused on the semi-final, and now I'm focusing on the final."

Xavi's team were 4-1 winners over Al-Rayyan on Saturday in the semi-final of the Qatar Cup, and they will play in the final on January 17.

As Sid Lowe of the Guardian relayed, Barcelona's pursuit of Xavi while Valverde remains in charge has been public: 

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

This virtually open pursuit of Xavi while Valverde is still there is...erm...classy

Spanish football writer Richard Martin also commented on the number of reports regarding Xavi's imminent or eventual appointment:

Richard Martin @Rich9908

Within the last hour Mundo Deportivo have published a story saying Xavi is not coming to Barcelona now, while Sport have published a story saying he is coming now. I wonder what Ernesto Valverde thinks of it all. What a way to treat one of the most dignified men in football

Valverde has steered Barcelona to two La Liga titles in his first two seasons at the club, and the Blaugrana are currently joint-top of the table. However, he's never been hugely popular with fans.

Valverde has overseen catastrophic UEFA Champions League eliminations at the hands of Roma and Liverpool in recent years, while the team doesn't play with a distinct identity, something that has always been crucial at the Camp Nou.

Xavi, who has made more appearances for Barcelona than anyone, is well-versed in the club's ethos, and his appointment would go down well with supporters. However, he only started his coaching career in May last year, and there would obviously be huge pressure.


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