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Xavi says ‘no’ to Barcelona, eyes summer move

Xavi Hérnandez with Al-Sadd during a game against ES Tunis // MARCIO MACHADO/EURASIA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

After much speculation in recent hours regarding Xavi’s future, reliable outlets now confirm that Xavi will stay with Al-Sadd for the remainder of the season, but could return this summer.

Much has been said in the past 24 hours. Xavi Hérnandez was said to be close to a move back to Barcelona, which would see him take over from Ernesto Valverde with immediate effect. The former Barcelona midfielder went from thinking now was not the time for a move, to then opening the doors for a move. Reports emerged from Qatar on Saturday night, claiming that the deal was ‘done’, and that Xavi soon would be back with the Blaugranas.

This came after days of negotiations between Barcelona, Xavi Hérnandez, and his people. The negotiations were not much talked about initially, but their existence was finally confirmed by Al-Sadd’s sporting director, Mohammed Ghoulam Al-Baloushi, moments before the club’s semi-final against Al-Rayyan in the 2020 Qatar Cup; Xavi’s men ended up winning the game 4-1, and advanced to the final which will take place on Friday. The final was seen as a decisive day by many, as Xavi’s move, if it were to occur, would not take place prior to the final being played.

As the night went on, Cadena COPE claimed that Xavi’s team were drafting up contracts with his representative Fernando Solanas with regards to the Barcelona move. This report has neither been confirmed nor denied definitively, and it would not be improbable that contracts were being drafted, despite Xavi’s move not being made until the summer.
Sunday morning, however, the managerial situation had become more clear. Xavi did not feel that now was the time to leave Al-Sadd, with multiple reports from Spain saying he had doubts whether he wanted to join, and that he was yet to give his final decision despite reports claiming otherwise.

At around noon, the final decision became known. According to multiple outlets, namely ESPN, Cadena SER, Radio Catalunya, Mundo Deportivo, and journalists from RAC1, Xavi has rejected Barcelona’s proposal for an immediate incorporation. However, a rule in the summer is not ruled out, with SER saying that the feeling within the club that he will accept taking over the managerial role in the off-season. ESPN’s Moisés Llorens reports that the parties have agreed to talk about everything again in June, and that Ernesto Valverde will train the team tomorrow, normally.

This was then echoed by beIN employee, Khaled Waleed — who initially said the deal was done — as he went on to say that Xavi at the Sunday morning training session told his players that he was staying until the end of the season, and thus not leaving the Qatari side in January.

So, as things stand, Xavi will not be with Barcelona this season. His decision makes sense, as he could go on to achieve things with Al-Sadd to help kick-start his career, not to mention add to his growing repertoire of experience as manager.

With that having been said, Valverde’s situation at the club seems to have worsened, as he was kept out of the loop with regards to the aforementioned situation. It only seems a matter of time before his days in Barcelona’s driver’s seat are numbered, as his situation is unclear, although he is on his way out of the club, reports RAC1 journalist, Marta Ramón.

However, for now, the team’s next test is against Granada this coming Sunday at the Camp Nou.

Valverde’s current contract with the club runs out this summer, although there is an option that would allow him to stay an additional year: the option can be triggered by either him or the club, but with consensus from both parties, of course. However, as things stand, it seems rather unlikely that he will stay beyond this season.

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