Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 27 September 2020

Xavi keen to wait for Barcelona manager role, demands club make Lionel Messi 'happy'

Club legend was approached in January but rejected the opportunity, believing there are issues that need to be resolved

Xavi Hernandez is expected to become manager of Barcelona one day. AFP
Xavi Hernandez is expected to become manager of Barcelona one day. AFP

Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has said it is still not the "right time" for him to return to his boyhood club as manager, citing institutional problems at the Camp Nou and a desire to gain more experience.

Xavi, who is manager at Qatar's Al Sadd, rejected the offer to coach Barca in January when they sacked Ernesto Valverde, and even though current manager Quique Setien's role is far from secure, the Catalan is still unwilling to return for the time being.

The former Spain midfielder alluded to some of the problems president Josep Maria Bartomeu has faced, including a scandal involving the hiring of a social media monitoring firm and fallout from a pay-cut the club introduced in April.

"There's a lot of external noise around the club, a lot of issues off the pitch and I don't think now is the right time," Xavi told the magazine Icon.

"In January I told them it wasn't the right time and they haven't contacted me since. I'm delighted to continue to gain experience and challenge myself and of course it'll be a privilege for me to one day coach Barca."

Xavi also urged Barca to hand a new contract to Lionel Messi, whose current deal expires next year, amid reports the Argentine is disillusioned with Bartomeu's leadership.

"He has earned it, he should have an automatic clause," Xavi said of the club's all-time top scorer. "Messi needs Barca and Barca need Messi.

"They have to make him happy, because a happy Messi will win more trophies. He has done what Pele, Cruyff, Maradona and Ronaldo all did but over a period of 15 years and in the modern era.

"He is at an incredible level physically, tactically and technically and continues to be the best player in every game."

Messi will need to be at his best once again on Friday when Barcelona take on German champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon.

The winners of the match will take on either Manchester City or Lyon for a place in the final.

Updated: August 13, 2020 01:55 PM

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