Laporta honest on Xavi talks and levels up on Barcelona’s Koeman mistake

Xavi, Al Sadd manager and Barcelona legend

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed talks have been held with Xavi over the him succeeding Ronald Koeman – but is giving little away over whether his appointment is on the cards.

Koeman was finally axed on Wednesday evening, having overseen one of the most turbulent periods in their history. He’s been under pressure for several months, with a fourth defeat in six games, proving the final straw. Indeed, his reign will perhaps be best remembered for the fact that the club’s financial issues forced them to let Lionel Messi depart on a free transfer.

The likes of Mikel Arteta and Brendan Rodgers have both been linked with the vacancy.

Indeed, the former gave a candid interview on Friday morning explaining why he’s not under consideration.

However, it is legendary former midfielder Xavi – currently in charge of Qatari club Al Sadd – who is the heavy favourite for the job.

And in a press conference on Friday morning, Laporta confirmed talks have been held.

Barcelona B boss Sergi Barjuan will take the team on an interim basis, starting against Alaves at the weekend.

“My opinion about Xavi as a manager is he is in a process learning, evolving, I have really good references from close people who know him better than me in that way,” he said at a press conference on Friday.

“We first spoke two months ago when we gave Ronald Koeman this confidence because I understand that we had to give him those months, the team needed some time to recover.

“I have a great relationship with Xavi, I have been speaking with him in the last month. I know his opinion about this squad, what he thinks has to happen. We talk as two friends and in this case my opinion is a really good one.

“I am talking to him because he loves football. But he is a huge Barca fan, it is one of his goals [to manage the team] in his life.

“If he is the one able to manage this squad, I have a great relationship with him. He is a possibility because we will see how everything will continue evolving.

“These are private conversations between friends and I cannot explain what we talked about.”

Xavi as Barcelona manager

It's the prophecy being fulfilled once again at Barcelona with Xavi taking over.

Pressed again if Xavi could soon be named as manager, Laporta stuck to his guns.

“I already told you and I cannot explain anything about our options. It will not be professional and it will affect our plans. I am sorry, but I cannot tell you anything.

“I have always said one day he will be Barca’s head coach but I don’t know when. We have great references about Xavi at Al Sadd.

“All our reports about Xavi are positive. We can talk a lot about Xavi but I cannot give you more details. He is in all the papers, but we also have other options.”

Laporta admits Koeman should have gone sooner

Koeman got a vote of confidence several months ago. However, Laporta accepts he should have been fired sooner in the season.

“Probably, yes,” he said. “Looking back it is easy to analyse, we felt Koeman deserved confidence to recover some injured players and it was a way to motivate the manager.

“I looked for some positives. Probably we had to make an earlier decision, I assume the responsibilities of this decision.

“The situation was not sustainable. We needed to act. We were not on course to achieve the objectives of the season, which is to win titles.”

Barjuan, who played 382 times for Barca in the 1990s and early 2000s, is happy to hold the fort.

“My objective is to win and have this team winning their games,” he said. “We are going to try and reverse the situation and I am going to try and add my grain of salt to change the dynamics of this team and the situation.

“If we see that things are going well then good, but if we need to take different decisions then we will do that.”


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