Barcelona denied it, but Xavi was close to becoming their coach in January.
Here is how the deal broke down.
Xavi was the favourite candidate to replace Valverde who was sacked by Barcelona after series of unimpressive performances. The club legend and current Al-Sadd manager has long been thought of as a future manager of the Catalan side and the club’s interest in appointing Xavi as his successor was a terribly kept secret.
Eventually, however, the responsibility fell on Quique Setien, with the club able to reach an agreement with the 40-year-old. But why? Where did it all go wrong? There were as many as eight reasons as to why he rejected Barca’s advances, the primary one being that he wanted to defer his arrival to the summer, according to El Larguero.
The club and the manager are also said to have disagreed over the level of control which would be handed over. Xavi, it’s thought, wanted the final say over virtually all sporting matters – namely transfers – while the club’s hierarchy wanted him installed in a strictly coaching capacity.
Another condition imposed by the would-be head coach was the installation of former team-mate Carles Puyol in a director of football role similar to that currently held by Eric Abidal.
Xavi also reportedly requested:
- ‘Global control’ of grassroots football and the club’s ‘global vision’
- To bring back former technical director Joan Vilá
- To bring in Jordi Cruyff – son of the legendary Johan and current manager of the Ecuador national team
- Changes to the medical services at the club
- A coaching role for his brother Oscar Hernandez