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‘Xavi will be Barcelona coach one day’ – Bartomeu backs club icon, but supports Setien for now

5:00 AM EST 1/16/20
Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona logo
The Camp Nou president expects a familiar face to occupy the dugout at some stage, but a new appointment has complete backing in the present

Xavi may not have returned to Camp Nou as successor to Ernesto Valverde but the club legend “will be the coach of Barcelona one day”, says club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Ahead of taking the decision to make a change in the dugout, the Blaugrana icon was sounded out.

Xavi is cutting his coaching teeth in Qatar after hanging up his boots, with the World Cup winner calling the shots at Al-Sadd.

Talks were held regarding a homecoming in Catalunya as Valverde was edged towards the exits.

The decision was taken not to make such a sizeable jump at this stage of the 39-year-old’s managerial career, with the reins instead handed to former Real Betis boss Quique Setien.

Barca are fully committed to their new appointment, despite there being a break clause in his contract, and will back him on and off the field with whatever he needs.

There is, however, acknowledgement from Bartomeu that Xavi will be brought back to familiar surroundings at some stage.

He told Sport: "The door is open to many coaches, but now we have a manager, Quique Setien.

"He's signed for two-and-a-half years and I've explained the break clause in 2021 due to elections. If a new president wants to change the manager, they can.

"But, clearly, Xavi will be the coach of Barça one day, I have no doubt. He is very capable, he's a person that perfectly understands our football, he's hugely keen to do it and one day he will.

"But now it's Quique Setien and I think and I hope it goes really well because he's arrived full of motivation and he's said he will follow our philosophy and style of play. 

"There will be variations, of course, he will have his nuances, but I think with the players and talent we have, plus Quique Setien, it will go really well. 

"However, I also want to say that Ernesto Valverde's done a magnificent job. We're grateful for the success and the trophies, his way of being, his talent, his professionalism and above all his intelligence.

"He's left many good things at the club but it was the moment to give a new impulse to the team." 

Setien’s first game in charge of the reigning La Liga champions will see them take in a home date with Granada on Sunday.