GOAL - Robin Bairner
There is no imminent prospect of Xavi going to Barcelona as coach, according to Al-Sadd general manager Turki Al-Ali.
Following a 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana, a match in which their opponents scored twice in the last few minutes, Camp Nou boss Ernesto Valverde’s position is reported to be extremely fragile.
Xavi has been hotly linked with a return to Barca, where he spent 17 years as a player, becoming an icon of the club and synonymous with their tiki-taka brand of football in the process.
Al-Sadd, however, say that their coach is fully focused on the forthcoming Qatar Cup match against Al-Rayyan on Saturday.
“The issue of Xavi going to Barcelona is normal and expected because he will be at his club and it’s his first home and he must return there in the future, but as of today, Xavi is the coach of Al Sadd,” Al-Ali said via a statement published on the club’s official website.
“Xavi and his team are focusing on tomorrow’s match against Al-Rayyan, and we know that a club with the size and professionalism of Barcelona will take to official channels to speak of such matters.”
During his time with Barca, Xavi made over 750 appearances for the club and scored 85 goals. His illustrious career was marked by eight La Liga titles, three Copas del Rey and four Champions League victories.
At international level, he played a key role as Spain dominated the world game at the beginning of the previous decade, helping them to win the 2010 World Cup as well as European Championships in both 2008 and 2012.
After leaving Barca in 2015, he departed for Al-Sadd, where he spent four years as a player, notably winning the Qatar Stars League in the 2018-19 season, his final campaign as a professional.
Since moving into management during the summer, the 39-year-old has faced a steep learning curve. He has overseen 26 matches in charge of Al Sadd, which have typically been goal-laden.
Indeed, their last four fixtures have produced 24 goals, 14 for his side and 10 against.