Valverde backs retiring Xavi for Barca coaching role

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The midfielder will move into coaching after retirement and the current Blaugrana boss believes he would be suited to the job at Camp Nou

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has no doubt that Xavi has the potential to take the top job at Camp Nou in the future.

Xavi confirmed on Thursday he will retire from playing at the end of the season and move into coaching, having left Barca at the end of the treble-winning 2014-15 campaign to join Al Sadd in the Qatar Stars League.

One of the most decorated players in football history, Xavi won 19 major honours during a 17-year stay with Barca, including eight La Liga crowns and a remarkable four Champions League titles.

And Valverde, who looks well placed to guide the club to the treble in only his second season in charge, paid tribute to the retiring great in a media conference on Friday.

"He's one of the best midfielders of recent years, he played the position game, no pass was inconsequential," Valverde said ahead of Saturday's trip to Celta Vigo.

"Xavi is one of the best players in the history of football. It was amazing to watch him play.

"I think that everyone expects Xavi to be a coach and he has the profile to be at Barcelona or wherever he is. I wish him luck, of course."

Xavi has the playing pedigree Barcelona seem to look for in a manager.

With the exception of Gerardo “Tata” Martino, every Barcelona head coach since Frank Rijkaard took over in 2003 has played for the club, at the least in their youth set up.

Xavi joined Barcelona B as a 17-year-old in 1997 and made his Liga debut for the first team in October 1998, where he played alongside a future Barcelona coach in Luis Enrique.

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The midfielder went on to represent the Catalan giants 505 times, before leaving to play in Qatar in 2015, saying he was going to work on his coaching qualifications while playing for Al Sadd.

In his retirement announcement Xavi paid homage to the Barcelona way and said it had influenced his coaching style.

“My philosophy as a coach reflects the style we developed for many years under the influence of Johan Cruyff and La Masia, and that has its greatest exponent on the way of playing football in Barcelona.”

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