Barcelona president Joan Laporta hints at Xavi appointment timeline

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Barcelona club president Joan Laporta has given a hint at his timeline for the appointment of Xavi as Ronald Koeman’s replacement. Koeman was sacked on Wednesday night after a defeat to Rayo Vallecano, the first time Barca have lost to the newly-promoted side since 2003.

Club legend Xavi is the overwhelming favourite to replace the Dutchman, who has left Barca ninth in La Liga.

The former midfielder won eight La Liga titles, three Copa de Reys and four Champions Leagues during his time at the Nou Camp as a player.

He departed for Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015, before taking over as their manager in 2019, leading them to seven trophies since then.

He has developed a reputation for playing in a similar style to Pep Guardiola’s and appears to be the best-placed former player to take charge.

But the 41-year-old has a contract with Al Sadd until 2023, having signed an extension in May, which could complicate matters with Barcelona so cash-strapped.

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Until Xavi’s appointment is confirmed, or even that of a different full-time boss, Barcelona B manager Sergi Barjuan has been handed the job on an interim basis.

Barjuan made more than 250 appearances for the club as a player between 1992 and 2003, returning to take charge of the reserve team this summer.

And Laporta has now hinted that Barjuan will remain in charge until the next international break in two weeks’ time.

Between that break, Barca will play Alaves and Celta Vigo in La Liga, as well as Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, all games Laporta implied Barjuan will be in charge for.

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“Sergi Barjuan will be Barca first team manager for the coming weeks, until we finalise our new coach,” Laporta said.

“We highly value the decision of Sergi, who is a club man and has experience to do this job. He deserves all our confidence.

“Assuming the technical direction at the moment has a certain complexity.  We have full confidence in Sergi until we close the new coach, that if you allow me, we will reserve him.

“The important game is Alavés. I think we continue to be hooked on LaLiga and we cannot give up. LaLiga is still open.

“Tuesday’s game is very important. The one who will sit on the bench in Kiev, in principle, will be Sergi.”

That could mean that Xavi’s first game as Barca boss will be in the city derby against Espanyol on 20 November, though Laporta is focused on giving Barjuan his full support.

“He is a brave man, who is willing to continue as long as it takes. Let’s see how this evolves.  Sergi knows the B perfectly and will make the decisions that have to be made,” Laporta added.

“We have to get more performance from this team that we have, which if we analyse carefully, it should be more competitive. We are in a dangerous drift.”
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