Monday, December 6, 2021

Luis Enrique welcomes Xavi back to Barca – I hope he wins many things!

SoccerNews in La Liga 5 Nov 2021

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Luis Enrique welcomed the imminent appointment of Xavi as head coach of Barcelona but doubts he can offer any worthy advice to the Camp Nou legend.

The long-awaited return of Xavi now appears a formality after Al Sadd announced Barcelona had agreed to buy the 41-year-old out of his contract.

Spanish newspaper Sport has reported Barcelona and Xavi are planning to split the cost of buying the coach out of that deal with the Qatar Stars League team.

Barcelona have encountered major financial problems but are optimistic Xavi will be the man who leads a turnaround of their fortunes on the pitch.

Heading into this weekend, they sit ninth in LaLiga after 11 games, having won just four times in the competition. A trip to face Celta Vigo in their test on Saturday, with Xavi reportedly set to be presented on Monday.

Spain boss Luis Enrique played for Barcelona from 1996 to 2004, overlapping with the early years of Xavi’s playing career, and later coached the team from 2014 to 2017, winning a stack of trophies including two LaLiga titles and a Champions League.

“It was almost an announced rumour that Xavi would have the chance to come back to his home. Hopefully he will have a great time there, hopefully he will be able to win many things with Barcelona,” Luis Enrique said at a news conference on Friday, after announcing Spain’s squad for their upcoming international fixtures.

“It’s true that I have been in the dressing room at lot at Barcelona, but also at ​​Sporting [Gijon] and Real Madrid. And as a coach I’ve also been in many dressing rooms.

“But in this one, specifically, Xavi has been there much more than me. I think he will almost be able to give me tips.”

Xavi played 767 games for Barcelona, which is a tally only beaten by Lionel Messi (778), whose close-season exit to Paris Saint-Germain has left Barcelona reeling.

In all, Xavi won LaLiga eight times and the Champions League on four occasions before ending his long association with the club in 2015, having played in a treble-winning campaign under Luis Enrique.

Now Xavi is heading back to the Catalan giants, reportedly on an early morning flight from Qatar on Saturday, and is already being portrayed as a saviour.

There could be bumps along the way, given Barcelona’s current crop of players does not match up favourably against the teams that Xavi played in while previously with the Blaugrana.

Al Sadd even referred to the “critical stage” at Barcelona as they announced Xavi’s exit.

Luis Enrique said: “I hope it goes very well for him and that he can achieve many things with a club as big as Barca.”

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