Laporta says Barcelona have other options than Xavi

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Barcelona are considering other possible coaches besides former player Xavi Hernández to take over for the…

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Barcelona are considering other possible coaches besides ex-player Xavi Hernández to replace sacked Ronald Koeman, the club president said on Friday.

Joan Laporta faced a barrage of questions over widespread speculation linking Xavi to the post. Each time, he praised the former midfielder without revealing the details of the job search.

“Xavi’s name is all over the news but Barca have other options,” Laporta said, without naming names.

One of the reasons Laporta is looking for other candidates could be because Xavi’s current employer, Qatari club Al-Sadd, seems determined to show him his contract which ends in 2023.

“In response to what has been circulating recently, Al-Sadd’s management reaffirms that Xavi has a two-year contract with the club and is fully focused on the team’s upcoming games, to maintain our lead at the top of the league. and defend the title. “, he said in a statement posted on social networks.

Xavi, 41, joined Al-Sadd after leaving Barcelona in 2015 after 25 titles in 17 seasons. He played for Al-Sadd until he became the team’s coach in 2019.

Laporta started his second term as Barcelona president in the middle of last season after his predecessor stepped down amid the club’s financial crisis and the team’s poor results.

Laporta said he often speaks with Xavi, who played for Barcelona in Laporta’s first term as president, “as friends” who like to discuss the squad.

“I have never changed what I say about Xavi. Someday he will become Barcelona coach, and I would even like it to be while I’m in charge. What I don’t know, that’s when, “Laporta said.” It is true that the testing reports we have on him are very good. All the contributions and news we have on Xavi are good, even though he is not leading. since a long time.

Koeman was let loose on Wednesday after a 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano that left Barcelona in ninth place in the Spanish league. This follows painful defeats against Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Benfica and Bayern Munich this season.

Barcelona promoted reserve team coach Sergi Barjuan the next day to act as interim coach. Laporta said Barjuan will be in charge of Saturday’s home game against Alavés and possibly next week’s Champions League game at Dynamo Kyiv.

Laporta thanked Koeman, a former Barcelona defender, for taking over the squad at the start of last season when they already struggled to compete with Europe’s top flight.

“Koeman is a man of this club who will always be remembered in his collective memory,” said Laporta. “He also won a Copa del Rey title as a coach, but he didn’t continue because the results didn’t go his way. The situation was untenable. “

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