It seems like a foregone conclusion that Xavi will return to Barcelona as the club‘s next manager, and the fact that Barcelona directors have gone to Qatar to meet with his current club, Al Sadd, would lend credence to that development. But Al Sadd isn‘t going to let Xavi go easily.
Ahead of Al Sadd‘s match against Al Duhail in the Qatar Stars League, Xavi‘s club indicated that the manager, who is under contract through 2023, is not simply up for grabs at the moment.
“We welcome the visit of the administrative delegation from Barcelona, and we appreciate and respect this,” Al Sadd CEO Turki Al-Ali said in a statement. “The club‘s position is clear from the beginning—we are committed to keeping our coach Xavi with us and we cannot have him leave at this sensitive time of the season.”
Barcelona directors Rafa Yuste and Mateo Alemany were present at the match between the top two sides in the league, where Al Sadd is the reigning champion and most successful club all time (15 titles). Al Sadd, which has former Premier League players like Santi Cazorla and Andre Ayew in its ranks, is just nine matches into its 22-game season, though there is a break until Dec. 20 after Wednesday‘s 3–3 draw. As a result, Barcelona would need to come to an agreement with Al Sadd to pry its former midfielder free and bring him back to Camp Nou. Speaking after the match, Xavi expressed his hope that a common ground could be reached.
“The two clubs are in conversations and we don’t know how it will end,” Xavi told Catalan TV station TV3 on Wednesday. “It is very exciting. I don’t know what will happen.
“I am a very positive person. I believe that common sense will prevail and there will be an agreement. Both clubs know my position, and I hope this can be resolved soon.
“We are all very eager. It would be spectacular.”
Xavi agreed to his new deal with Al Sadd in May, when Barcelona was still in its La Liga title pursuit under Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman was fired Oct. 27, following a defeat to Rayo Vallecano.
Barcelona is currently being led by interim manager Sergi Barjuán, who oversaw the club‘s 1–0 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday. Whether—or when—he returns to Barcelona B duty will depend on how convincing Yuste and Alemany can be in their time in Doha and how relenting Al Sadd leadership may be behind closed doors.
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