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Xavi given permission to return to FC Barcelona as manager

Xavi
Xavi encourages his players during the Amir Cup final between Al-Sadd and Al-Rayyan at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on October 22, 2021 / Karim Jaafar / AFP via Getty Images

Former FC Barcelona captain and midfielder Xavi Hernandez has been given permission to leave Qatari Stars League side Al Sadd to rejoin the Catalan club as manager.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Xavi, who has long been linked to a move back to Camp Nou to manage his former team, met with Al Sadd officials on Thursday to discuss his departure to return to Barça. The club fully agreed to let him to leave, only under the condition that he remains in the charge of Al Sadd for Saturday’s match against Al Ahli and next Wednesday’s game against second-place Al-Duhail.

All that is left is for Barça and the Qatari club to discuss and agree on Xavi’s move, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

This comes following the sacking of former Barça manager Ronald Koeman by club president Joan Laporta after Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga. Koeman leaves the Blaugrana in ninth place domestically with 15 points, trailing league leader Real Madrid by six points.

Barça also sits in third place in Group E of the UEFA Champions League with three points behind Bayern Munich in first (nine points) and Benfica in second (four points).

In the meantime, Barça announced Thursday afternoon that Barça B head coach Sergi Barjuan will serve as the interim manager of the first team for the near future.

“His interim position as first team head coach shall end as soon as the club has hired full-time head coach to replace the dismissed Ronald Koeman,” the statement reads.

Barjuan was introduced to the first team during Thursday afternoon’s training session at the Ciutat Esportiva, and he will speak alongside Laporta in a press conference tomorrow at 1:00 pm CEST. He will likely be in charge for Barça’s games against Alavés on Saturday in LaLiga and Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday in the Champions League.

In Barjuan’s absence from Barça B, the club announced Thursday that Albert Capellas will fill his role as interim manager of the Segunda División B side.

Capellas served as assistant coach of Barça B from 1999 to 2003, and he has since served as an assistant coach for Vitesse, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Borussia Dortmund, Brondby, and Chongqing Dangdai Lifan. His latest role was manager of the Denmark U-21 team.

Xavi has spent six years, four as a player and two as manager, with Al Sadd. His managerial CV includes seven trophies with the club.

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