Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona president Joan Laporta has refused to confirm Xavi Hernandez will replace Ronald Koeman but said he has “very good references” about the Spaniard’s credentials as a coach and “knows very well what he thinks of the team”.
Laporta’s enthusiastic assessment of Barcelona’s legendary former midfielder will be taken as a strong indication he is their preferred successor to Koeman, who was sacked on Wednesday night.
“He is in a very interesting process,” said Laporta of Xavi, who has been in charge of Al Sadd in Qatar since 2019.
“He is developing very well and I have very good references about him, from people close to him and from people that know him better than me.”
“I speak to him often. I know very well what he thinks of the team, his opinions and what he thinks should be done.”
Barcelona’s B team coach Sergi Barjuan has been put in temporary charge and Laporta said the expectation is he will be in the dugout for the games against Alaves in La Liga on Saturday and Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Laporta said they sacked Koeman because “the situation was not sustainable” and the team “were not on course to achieve the objectives of the season which is to win titles”.
He also admitted he should have dismissed the Dutchman sooner.
“Possibly we should have dismissed Koeman earlier and I take responsibility for that,” said Laporta.
“We thought he needed backing but we were obviously drifting.”