Xavi Barcelona manager
(Photo by Simon Holmes/Getty Images)

Barcelona Legend Xavi Open to Return as Club’s Manager

Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez said in a press conference Thursday that he would be happy to return to Camp Nou as manager. Hernandez is currently the manager of Al Sadd in the Qatar Stars League after retiring as a player in 2019 and has already declined the Barcelona managerial position twice, citing his lack of experience and the time not being right.

The 41-year-old’s announcement comes on the heels of Barcelona president Joan Laporta extending the contract of current manager Ronald Koeman for another season. The extension was a bit surprising, as Koeman had been on the hot seat since the club’s late-season collapse in La Liga’s title race. Barcelona had two wins, two draws and two losses in the final six games of league play, and the string of failures helped propel rivals Atletico Madrid to a title. Laporta, however, feels that the Dutch manager deserves a bit more time and faith, saying last Thursday:

“We’ve decided to continue with Ronald as first team coach. We are satisfied that the conversations we have held have been fruitful and he’s motivated to remain in the job.”

Xavi’s announcement is not shocking, as Koeman has not inspired confidence in the Catalan club, but the former midfielder officially putting his hat in the ring could signal the start of a new era at the club. He was an instrumental part of Barcelona’s rebirth on the international stage in the 2000s and 2010s, but the club has since found itself crippled with financial problems. It is now roughly 480 million euros in debt and represents the dying vision of Barcelona football. Xavi’s return to Camp Nou could see the club’s identity revert back to the days of Pep Guardiola and tiki-taka football.

At the press conference, he said that a chance to coach his former teammates, including Lionel Messi, would be a “huge privilege”.

“What coach wouldn’t want to train Messi? Who wouldn’t want a joker up their sleeve like Leo, who can make the difference in 0.1 seconds? Physically he is still in good shape. He is still the best. It would be a huge privilege to coach Messi.”

A pairing of Xavi and Messi would once again spell trouble for La Liga and Barcelona’s identity crisis would be solved. For right now, though, Xavi is in no hurry.

“I don’t know when the moment will arrive but, for me, it would be a dream to return to Barca one day. I’m in no rush, honestly, but I hope it happens.”

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