By Mukwuzi Joseph
Xavi Hernandez has pleaded with Qatar outfit Al Sadd to allow him to make an “emotional” return to Barcelona to take over as the club’s new manager.
Officials from the Camp Nou are confirmed to be in Doha with a view to negotiating his release from his current outfit and replace Ronald Koeman after his sacking.
Widely viewed as one of Barcelona’s greatest ever players, the four-time Champions League winner appeared to say his farewell to the Al Sadd faithful during Wednesday night’s 3-3 draw against Al-Duhail.
Following the game, Xavi made no secret of his desire to leave the club and return to Catalunya, revealing: “I’ve been talking to Barca for days, it’s done.
“I’m really looking forward to going home, I hope it happens. It would be spectacular and exciting.
“But now it depends on the conversations between clubs, they need to reach an agreement. Barca is coming to talk, we are all eager and excited. We’ll see if it ends up being done.
“It is a matter of common sense. It has to happen [Al Sadd letting him go]. I feel very emotional about it.”
Having spent 17 seasons at the Camp Nou as a player, winning eight La Liga titles in the process, Xavi will be a popular appointment among the Barca fanbase.
Xavi’s departure from Al-Sadd appears imminent, with club captain Abdelkarim Hassan conceding his manager’s exit looks likely.
“Everyone is sad because of Xavi’s departure, but he will coach a big team like Barcelona,” Hassan explained.
“Xavi presented a new idea to Qatari football and Al-Sadd players and helped us as a great player and coach, and his ideas led us to achieve a lot despite the criticism. We will miss him a lot.”
Should the deal ahead, Xavi would be taking over a Barcelona in disarray languishing outside the top-six.
Currently sitting in ninth, Barca are eight points behind fierce rivals Real Madrid and nine points adrift of league leaders Real Sociedad.