- Former midfielder says he is ‘clear’ he wants to coach his old club
- Xavi names Jadon Sancho and Serge Gnabry as potential recruits
Xavi Hernandez is currently head coach at Al Sadd in Qatar. Photograph: David Ramos – Fifa/Getty Images
Xavi believes he is ready to manage Barcelona but insists there cannot be any “toxicity” in the dressing room.
The midfielder spent the majority of his playing career with Barcelona, from 1998 to 2015, playing more than 700 matches and winning eight La Liga titles. In recent years he has moved into management with the Qatari club Al Sadd, where he finished his playing career.
“I am clear that I want to return to Barcelona, I am very excited,” Xavi said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. “Now that I have seen myself coaching I think I can bring things to the players. But I made it clear to them that I saw myself in a project that started from zero and in which the decision-making was mine.”
Barcelona have already shown an interest in their former midfielder, reportedly approaching Xavi for the job following the departure of Ernesto Valverde, but the Spaniard did not think it was the right time. “I don’t take it back,” he said of his decision. “I have no problem. I don’t hide. I would like to work together with people in whom I have confidence, with whom there is loyalty and who are very valid people. There can’t be anyone toxic around the dressing room.”
Outlining what he would want in his Barcelona team, Xavi labelled several of their current side – including Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué and Marc-André Ter Stegen – as the best in the world in their positions and the midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Arthur as players to “win for 10 more years”.
Asked about possible additions, he said: “I don’t know if Neymar would fit in due to the social issue, but in football terms I have no doubts it would be a spectacular signing. They don’t need many new players: maybe Jadon Sancho [or] Serge Gnabry.”