Brazil head coach Tite said the Selecao were interested in Xavi joining their coaching staff before the Barcelona great returned to Camp Nou as head coach. Xavi has been tasked with restoring the fortunes of embattled LaLiga giants Barca following his appointment as Ronald Koeman's successor on Saturday.
The 41-year-old spent 17 trophy-laden seasons at Barcelona before moving to Al-Sadd in 2015, eventually taking charge four years later. After returning to Catalonia, Xavi revealed he turned down the opportunity to join Tite's Brazil ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
As Brazil – six points clear atop the standings – prepare for Thursday's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier against Colombia, Tite addressed the country's interest. "I don't have too much information on Xavi to do a deeper analysis," Tite told reporters and then added: "I know him from inside the pitch. And some information from the press that is superficial. I don't know him with the depth I have with my colleagues that I spend every day with. We have to be careful to talk about it."
"What I can say to you is that they talked to me about it. Rogerio Caboclo talked to me about that possibility. And he said that he would talk to Xavi. And I said yes because he could bring, as an assistant manager, the baggage of what he experienced inside the football field. Plus the experience he had outside it. As a captain, the conduct he had as a leader, and I could see it even from far away. He could bring his leadership, correction, knowledge, ideas", explained Brazilian boss.
He also mentioned: "From that moment, what happened I don't know. Rogerio [Caboclo] told you about everything. But, yes, this was talked about. And right afterwards, they talked about Muricy [Ramalho]. And, yes, they talked about it. Yes, he was requested. And this is the second stage because Muricy is the one now."
Brazil are unbeaten through 11 World Cup qualifiers on the road to Qatar 2022, though the focus has been on Gabriel Jesus leading into the Colombia clash.
Jesus has not scored for the Selecao since the 2019 Copa America final against Peru, but Tite backed the Manchester City forward. "Gabriel is an attacker," Tite said. "He is either nine or seven. Either he is on the side, as a wing, aggressive. Or he is the one infiltrating. From the depth pass. He has both characteristics. He has this history in the national team."
"Go back in time. When I took over in the game against the Equator, he was that player, he did a sequel. Then, he played on the side with [Roberto] Firmino and [Philippe] Coutinho inside. We didn't have Neymar. He has this versatility. He is a player who has the physical and technical virtues to perform one or another function. Sometimes, scoring a goal is from the opportunities you have.", he detailed.
And finished: "It reminds me of Edmar, a player I used to play with. I always thought that there are phases that the ball hits, hits, and I score. And there are some moments when I am in the right place, I follow the move, but the ball doesn't come. He will appear. In the last match, it appeared. And it had, in the great defences from the Uruguayan goalkeeper [Fernando] Muslera, two or three accurate finishes. That is what I want from an attacker. That is what the specific work has been given and what Gabriel Jesus can give."