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‘Everyone sees me as a Barcelona coach’ – Xavi responds to talk of Camp Nou return

Blaugrana legend Xavi Hernandes admits wanting to head back to his Catalan roots at some stage, but that he is not looking to oust Ronald Koeman from his role as the current Barcelona coach.

Acknowledging that “everyone sees me as a Barcelona coach”, the Camp Nou legend admits that it’s part of his long-term plans to return to his roots in Catalunya.

Fresh speculation has intensified pertaining to further change in the Barcelona dugout on the back of another Champions League humbling for the Blaugrana as they were simply outclassed 4-1 by Kylian Mbappe-inspired PSG in the last-16 first leg knockout rounds.

Barca coach Ronald Koeman is already being confronted with questions regarding his ongoing tenure as fresh presidential elections, and the spectre of another Barca legend, Xavi, loom.

World Cup winner Xavi, who spent 17 years as an integral, indsipensable part of the first-team fold at Barca in his playing days, has told FIFA’s official website:

“Right now, I’m at Al Sadd and I’m doing well here. I’m at a big club in Asia, in Qatar. It’s the best team in Qatar.

“We’ll see what happens in the future. Everyone sees me as a Barcelona coach, and I really respect Barcelona and Koeman, the current head coach.

“I don’t want to hide the truth – of course I would like to be Barcelona’s head coach. I’ve said it many times.

“But I will always respect the presiding coach and the club. I wish them the best of course. I’ve been a Barcelona fan as long as I can remember.

“There’s an upcoming presidential election, so let’s see which candidate wins in roughly a month’s time.”

The Blaugrana’s former classy midfielder made his competitive debut for the LaLiga giants in 1998 and went on to notch 767 appearances across all competitions with 85 goals scored along the way. The much-loved Camp Nou legend helped to capture eight La Liga titles, three Copas del Rey, four Champions League crowns and two Club World Cups.

Besides having also enjoyed success at two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup with Spain, he finally departed Camp Nou in 2015 to take on a new challenge in Qatar. The legendary 41-year-old midfielder has done admirably as a coach with the acquisition of four trophies in the Middle East, but has never refuted any suggestions that he is predisposed to returning to the Barcelona fold in some other capcity at some stage in future.

As for Koeman, who penned a two-year contract when assuming the reins at Barca during the summer of 2020, he performed creditably in preparing a helter-skelter Barcelona side to be in the hunt for major honours this season, except that recent outings have seen unexpected setbacks suffered in domestic and continental competition.

As things stand, especially with the latest 4-1 humbling by PSG, it looks likely that Xavi could well be the next automatic candidate to step into the Dutchman’s shoes anytime in the near future, with presidential candidate having stated emphatically on a regular basis th at he would be looking to bring back a club legend to helm the managerial role if elected to be the next President this March 7.

Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia