Al-Sadd manager Xavi has confessed he rejected the chance to take over at Barcelona for a second time as he did not believe the timing was right.
The legendary former midfielder has long been seen as a future manager of Barcelona and was one of the heavy favourites to take over from Ronald Koeman this summer, with new president Joan Laporta making no secret of his desire to evaluate all his options.
Eventually, after weeks of speculation, Laporta confirmed that Koeman will remain in the dugout for the upcoming season. With the uncertainty now over, Xavi took the chance to sit down with La Vanguardia to discuss his stance on the Barcelona gig.
“Fortunately or unfortunately I have said no to Barcelona twice, due to different circumstances: family, professional and contractual,” he admitted. “And of course it was very difficult because I am a Barcelona fan, but it was not the [right] time.
“Whatever comes will come, it will be evaluated and we will decide. [Offers] arrived years ago, but it was not the time. Barcelona came and it was not the time. There is no hurry. Xabi Alonso said the other day that he wants to coach in his own way and I can relate to that.
“I land in Barcelona, they wait for me at the airport and as soon as I arrive people send me messages. ‘But haven’t they told you anything?’ Well no, firstly because they already have a coach who is Koeman, who must be respected, and also because I’m not in a hurry.”
Instead of heading to Camp Nou this summer, Xavi put pen to paper on a new contract with Al-Sadd, committing himself to the Qatari side until 2023 with a deal that is believed to include a clause which would allow him to join Barcelona if they come calling again.
Aside from Barcelona, Xavi has had no shortage of offers from across the globe. As noted by AS, both Borussia Dortmund and the Brazilian national team recently reached out to the 41-year-old, who wasted little time in shooting both down.
Instead, Xavi has stressed that he wants to keep honing his skills with Al-Sadd before the stars finally align and take him back to Camp Nou.
“I’m open, I’m not fooling anyone,” Xavi concluded. “I’m preparing myself for this, but you have to respect Koeman, a club legend with another year on his contract.”