Doha, Nov 3 (EFE).- Qatar’s Al Sadd said Wednesday that they were not prepared to release coach Xavi Hernandez from his contract so the former Barcelona captain can return to Camp Nou as the manager.
FC Barcelona vice president Rafael Yuste and director of football Mateu Alemany met in Doha with Xavi’s representatives ahead of a Qatar Stars League match between Al Sadd and Al Duhail.
Afterward, sources close to the negotiations told Efe that the Barça executives were hopeful of being able to announce Xavi’s signing as early as Thursday.
Minutes later, however, Al Sadd CEO Turki Al-Ali poured a large bucket of cold water on the prospects for a deal in the near future.
“We welcome the visit of the administrative delegation from Barcelona and we appreciate and respect this,” Al-Ali said in a statement. “The club’s position is clear from the beginning. We are committed to keeping our coach Xavi with us and we cannot have him leave at this sensitive time of the season.”
The Qatari club released the statement as Alemany and Yuste were sitting in the stands at Garafa Stadium watching league leaders Al Sadd battle second-place Al Duhail.
Following the match, which ended 3-3, Xavi told a television interviewer that he was “very enthusiastic and very hopeful about going home” to Camp Nou.
“The two clubs are in conversations,” he said, acknowledging many that he had been in contact with Barcelona many times since the club fired coach Ronald Koeman a week ago and identified the former captain as their preferred candidate to take charge of the squad.
While Xavi has two years left on his contract with Al Sadd, he said Wednesday that the pact includes a “small rescission clause” which could provide the basis for an agreement between the clubs.
Xavi, 41, was just 11 when he entered the Barcelona youth academy, La Masia, and went on to play 17 seasons with the first team, winning LaLiga eight times and the Champions League on four occasions.
The midfielder, who finished third in the Ballon d’Or voting in 2010 and 2011, retired as a player in 2019 after winning four trophies with Al Sadd. EFE lu/dr