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Al Sadd clings to Xavi “He is at the top of his focus”

Qatari club Al Sadd has played down the chances of coach Xavi’s departure soon to Barcelona to replace Dutchman Ronald Koeman, who was dismissed for the poor results, stressing that he is “completely focused” on his current club.

The Qatar champion tweeted, “In response to what is circulating in the previous days, the Al-Sadd administration confirms that Xavi is linked to a two-year contract with the club and is at the top of his focus to play the team’s upcoming matches to maintain the top of the league and title.”

Xavi, 41, will lead his team on Saturday in a match against Al-Ahly in the Qatari league.

The former midfielder is one of the main candidates to succeed Koeman, after Barcelona’s poor start to the season. They are ninth in the League and made a disastrous start to the Champions League.

Al Sadd’s media official, Ahmed Al-Ansari, repeated the club’s tweet, noting that “there is no official offer from any party at the club’s table. It is assumed that any club that has something of professionalism will negotiate with the other party if it wants a player or coach who has a contract.”

Barcelona President Joan Laporta admitted Friday that he wanted one day during his tenure to sign Xavi to coach his team, “but there are other possibilities” to sign a new coach.

Laporta, who returns to the Catalan club’s presidency, said, “I said it when he went to Qatar, that Xavi will coach Barcelona one day. In fact, I would love for that to happen during my presidency, but I do not know when.”

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Xavi grew up with Barcelona since his childhood and carried his colors in 17 seasons in more than 750 games, before going to Qatar in 2015.

After holding the colors of Al Sadd as a player for four seasons, he supervised his training and led him to the league title last season and the Emir Cup title in the last two years.

The Al-Sadd website quoted Xavi on Thursday before confronting Al-Ahly, commenting on what he considered “press rumors raised in the current period about his departure from the team”: “I am currently focused on my work with Al-Sadd, I cannot talk about anything else.”

Sergey Barguan received the training of the first team temporarily, pending the appointment of an official coach. He will supervise the team at least in two matches against Alaves on Saturday in the local league and against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League next Tuesday.

Laporta revealed that the club’s board of directors dismissed Koeman from his position “because things were no longer bearable” and because the team “was not on the way to achieving the goals, which is winning titles.” He continued, “Most likely, we should have fired Koeman earlier and I take responsibility for that. We thought he needed our support at some point but we were falling down.”

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