Speaking in an exclusive interview with La Vanguardia, former Barcelona captain and Spain international Xavi Hernández, discussed managing Barcelona, the current squad and the players he would sign.
Current Al Sadd coach Xavi spoke about managing his former team Barcelona, the world-class players they currently have and signing a Neymar type winger.
On coaching Barcelona in the future
I want to go back to Barça, it excites me, but I made it clear to them that I saw myself in a project starting from scratch, where I make the decisions.
On talking to Barcelona about taking over when Ernesto Valverde was still in charge
I don’t have any problems talking about it, I don’t hide and I don’t take anything back. I’d like to work with people I trust, where there’s loyalty. You can’t have anyone toxic near the dressing room.
On a change at board level
Obviously I’d like to get on with everyone. I’d like to go in with people around me to make a good team. I don’t have anything against anyone, I don’t have a bad relationship with Josep Maria Bartomeu [club president], I get on with Joan Laporta. Víctor Font and I are friends.
On the current squad
A lot of the squad is brilliant. The goalkeeper [Ter Stegen] is the best in the world; Jordi Alba is the best left-back in the world; Gerard Piqué is the best centre-back in the world; Busquets is the best defensive midfielder in the world; Messi is the best player in the world. If you add Luis Suárez, Frenkie De Jong and Arthur Melo, you have a really good base. De Jong and Arthur could be a success at the club for the next 10 years.
On who he would sign if he was head coach at Barcelona
I’d sign wingers, a Neymar type; I don’t know if he’d fit in for social reasons but footballistically I have no doubt he’d be a spectacular signing. Barça can already play inside but they lack wingers like Bayern Munich have. It doesn’t need many additions: maybe Jadon Sancho or Serge Gnabry.
On Barcelona being a religion
Yes, perhaps it is. It’s more than a passion. I couldn’t live without football. I’m a football fanatic, very competitive and I love to win.