Thursday, January 19, 2017

Xavi wants Luis Enrique, Messi and Iniesta to stay at Barcelona

SoccerNews in La Liga 29 Dec 2016

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Former Barcelona captain Xavi is eager for Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and head coach Luis Enrique to remain at the club beyond this season.

The future of Argentina star Messi remains the subject of debate as there has yet to be a breakthrough in discussions over a new contract at Camp Nou.

Current Camp Nou skipper Iniesta has only 18 months left on his contract, while reports in Spain have claimed that Barca have already earmarked potential successors to Luis Enrique, who has refused to guarantee he will extend his own deal that expires at the end of the season.

But Xavi, who won the treble in his last season with the club – and Luis Enrique’s first as coach – in 2014-15, hopes all three commit their futures before the end of the season.

“I’d like to see Iniesta, Messi and Luis Enrique together next year,” he told a news conference. “That would mean that Barca would continue being in very good health.

“It’s normal for Barca to tire out a coach. It’s the biggest club in the world, there’s a lot of pressure, a need to win titles every year…

“There’s a very strong intensity in the work and you notice that. There’s huge fatigue. Luis Enrique looks to be having fun but suffering, too, but that’s the job.”

Barca resume LaLiga duties against Villarreal on January 8, looking to close the six-point gap to leaders Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane’s side remain unbeaten this season and denied Barca a valuable Clasico win with a late Sergio Ramos header.

“It was a fair result,” Xavi said. “The Clasico was balanced, a game for each team. Madrid always fight to the end, they’re historically a big club and they’ll continue to be so. They always cause problems for Barca.”

Xavi was speaking after featuring in Catalonia’s 3-3 friendly draw with Tunisia, with the African side eventually prevailing on penalties.

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