Barcelona president Joan Laporta said that he has received various reports and questions about club legend Xavi Hernandez’s credentials as a coach and admitted that the former Barcelona midfielder would be invited one day to train Barca during Laporte’s presidency.
In a press conference on Friday, Laporta refused to confirm Xavi will succeed Ronald Koeman, who was sacked on Wednesday night, and maintained that Barca have “other options”.
Laporta’s enthusiastic assessment of Barca’s legendary former midfielder will be taken as a strong indication that he is the preferred replacement for Koeman.
After a glittering career at Camp Nou, Xavi left in 2015 to play for Al Sadd in Qatar before becoming coach of the team two years ago.
Laporte said, “I said it when he went to Qatar, that Xavi would end up being the coach of Barca, in fact, I would like him to be the coach of Barca during my presidency — what I don’t know is when.”
“It is true the reports we have about him are very good. I have not followed Al Sadd, but we have talked about Barca’s games on the phone. We have watched games together almost. Let me say no more. For all the talk of Xavi, there are also other options. Barca have other options.”
Koeman was fired on Wednesday following a 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano that placed Barcelona in ninth place in La Liga’s table. There were other painful losses to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Benfica, and Bayern Munich this season that changed Laporta’s mind who had promised full support to Koeman at the start of the season.
Barca promoted the coach of the reserved team Sergi Barjuan the next day to act as caretaker coach. Laporta said that Barjuan will accept the charge for Saturday’s match at Camp Nou against Alaves and possibly next week’s Champions League match at Dynamo Kiev.
The president also admitted that he should have dismissed Koeman sooner, adding, “Looking at the situation as of today, it probably would have been the best decision [to terminate Koeman’s contract before].”
Laporta further said, “Now it is easy to say that but that are circumstances that led us to wait. We thought that Koeman needed more time. I take full responsibility but the situation got to a point that was unsustainable.”