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‘Xavi likes him a lot’ – Algeria coach Belmadi reacts to reported Bounedjah-Barcelona links

20:06 GMT 07/11/2021
Baghdad Bounedjah - Al Sadd, Barcelona
The Algeria star played with the new Barca coach in Qatar and had a prominent role in helping him win his first five titles

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi believes Al Sadd striker Baghdad Bounedjah has the qualities to reunite with Xavi at Barcelona.

For the past five seasons, Bounedjah has been one of the highest-scoring players at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium and also played with the Spain legend in the last few years of his playing career.

The Algeria striker has already scored 11 goals in nine appearances in the Qatar Stars League this season and he is reportedly on Barcelona’s radar as a replacement for injured Sergio Aguero who is out of action for three months due to a heart issue.

When asked about reports linking the 29-year-old with a move to Camp Nou, Belmadi said as per TSA Algerie: “Baghdad is doing extraordinary things. Baghdad in Barcelona, ​​what do you want me to tell you? Xavi knows better than I… maybe he thinks Baghdad is the first or second choice.

“It can be a surprise for others and not for him since he knows him. He knows how to compare with the squad there is at the moment in Barcelona. God only knows, that would be an extraordinary thing.

“He made history, he scored goals everywhere…He scored the goal of the Afcon final, one of the most important goals in the history of Algerian football. We do not recognise his quality precisely because he plays in Qatar, whereas, in Qatar, there are players who cannot do it.”

Belmadi also revealed Xavi’s admiration for Bounedjah who finished as the Stars League top scorer in the 2020-21 season with 21 goals in 19 games. 

His goalscoring heroics helped Xavi win one Stars League title, two Qatar Cups, amongst other domestic silverware as a manager.

“The current Barca is not the Barcelona of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta. In our timing, I don't know if Xavi has in mind to bring him back to Barcelona, ​​but I know he likes him a lot,” he continued.

“I know he could bring any centre forward back to Al-Sadd, they have unlimited resources, but it wasn't even a dream.

“Out of all the foreigners they have, number 1 is still Baghdad. Xavi appreciates the player, he played with him, he knows his qualities and he knows how to compare with the players with whom he has evolved."

Aside from club heroics, Bounedjah also powered Algeria to their second Africa Cup of Nations title in July 2019 with his second-minute strike that gave them a 1-0 win over Senegal in Cairo.