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Messi? It would be a huge privilege to coach him – Xavi ready for Barca job

By Sacha Pisani
Xavi and Lionel Messi

Barcelona, June 11: Xavi is eyeing the Barcelona job and an opportunity to coach superstar captain Lionel Messi, insisting he is ready to work at Camp Nou.

Barca great Xavi has long been linked with the head-coaching role and he was strongly tipped to return to the club before president Joan Laporta opted to retain Ronald Koeman.

Xavi signed a new contract with Al Sadd in May, tying the 41-year-old to the Qatari side until 2023.

But Xavi, who held the record for most Barca appearances before it was broken by Messi this past season, has his sights set on taking charge at some stage.

"I am always on the market," Xavi said during a news conference on Thursday. "The club decided to continue with Koeman and I wish him the best.

"In these last four months, I have not had any contact with [president Laporta] or anyone from the board.

"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.

"I understand people may think I am not ready, but I want to make it clear that I am.

"I know the club, the environment... I am coaching at a professional level, not kids, and I feel prepared. People also criticised [Pep] Guardiola and [Zinedine] Zidane before they took charge at Barca and [Real] Madrid.

"But Koeman's the coach now and you have to respect that. I don't want there to be a permanent debate about that."

Xavi played alongside the likes of Messi, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets at Barca, where he won eight LaLiga trophies and four Champions League titles among other honours.

"For me, it would be an advantage [to work with them]. I'm in a situation at Al Sadd where I am coaching players I played with and I think it helps, because you know them," Xavi added.

"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."

Xavi has guided Al Sadd to Qatar Stars League (2020-21), Qatar Cup (2020 and 2021), Qatari super Cup (2019), Emir of Qatar Cup (2020) and Qatari Stars Cup (2019) success since becoming coach in 2019.

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Story first published: Friday, June 11, 2021, 5:00 [IST]
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