Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Busquets in charge of his own Barca future, says Xavi

SoccerNews in La Liga 30 Dec 2022

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Sergio Busquets is “fundamental” to Barcelona and head coach Xavi says the club will do what they can to persuade the veteran midfielder to stay at Camp Nou.

The 34-year-old’s deal expires at the end of the season, by which point he will have spent a decade-and-a-half with the senior team.

There have been rumours over the past few months that Busquets, who retired from Spain duty following their last-16 exit at the World Cup, will depart the club at the end of the campaign and make a move to MLS in the United States.

Speaking ahead of his side’s LaLiga derby with Espanyol, Xavi revealed talks have not been held over an extension so far, but he hopes Busquets will be persuaded to stay.

“We haven’t talked about this,” he said. “There are six months of matches left, so we will see how it goes. We are focused on what happens this year.

“We cannot make plans for the following season, but we are waiting for him. It is his decision.

“He has a contract until June and then we will see. It’s more a personal feeling of his. How he sees himself in the team, for me, he is fundamental. It will depend on him, more than on the club and me, but we will try to convince him.”

Barcelona resume their domestic season atop LaLiga, with a two-point cushion, though they may have been overhauled by rivals Real Madrid when they take to the field against Espanyol.

After the uncertainty of the past few seasons, Xavi is working towards making Barcelona regular contenders for silverware again and is confident his side will pick up where they left off following the mid-season World Cup break.

“I have good feelings,” he added. “People are in rhythm, with a winning mentality. I am happy what I have seen [in training] and I hope that we are at least [at the level again].”

While Robert Lewandowski has been handed a temporary suspension of his playing ban amid an appeal, Xavi is still looking to juggle his forward line around the Poland attacker.

Off-season buy Raphinha has failed to showcase the form he enjoyed at Leeds United, due partly to being played away from his preferred right flank.

Xavi acknowledges the Brazilian is being utilised out of his favoured position, but reiterated he believes he can still deliver on the left wing.

“Raphinha is more comfortable on the right, but he can help us on the left,” he added. “He will adapt. I have spoken with him this week, and he is open.”

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