Nothing has changed: Xavi plays down reports he may stay on at Barcelona

By Sports Desk March 02, 2024

Barcelona boss Xavi insists “nothing has changed” regarding his future following rumours he could reverse his decision to depart the club in the summer.

The former Barca and Spain midfielder, who is preparing for Sunday’s LaLiga game at fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao, announced in late January he would leave his role at the end of the season.

Barcelona have picked up form since then, taking 13 points from a possible 15 to boost their faint hopes of overhauling leaders Real Madrid in the title race.

“As of today, nothing has changed,” Xavi told a press conference.

“There is no more story than that. It all remains the same and we focus on the next game.

“It’s true we’ve done well recently; I see the team training great every day and the group of players is less tense than in the past.

“But tomorrow is a whole new story, here at Barcelona you have a challenge every day.

“The moment of the truth this season is coming, and we feel we have been good over the last weeks.”

Third-placed Barcelona thrashed Getafe 4-0 last weekend to build on recent wins over Osasuna, Alaves and Celta Vigo and a 3-3 draw with Granada.

The Catalan club will return to San Mames just over five weeks after suffering a 4-2 extra-time loss to Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

Xavi is braced for another tough test as his side seek to maintain momentum.

“Athletic is the most intense team in the league,” he said. “And they are confident.

“If we win, it will be a big step forward.

“It’s the perfect game to match them in intensity and rhythm. Against Getafe, we rediscovered our game. Against Athletic, we have to do the same.”

Barcelona remain without injured quartet Marcos Alonso, Alejandro Balde, Gavi and Ferran Torres for the visit to the Basque country.

Xavi also hailed his former team-mate Andres Iniesta during his pre-match press conference.

Iniesta, who scored Spain’s winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final, made the 1,000th senior appearance of his career on Friday, playing for UAE-based side Emirates Club against Ajman.

“Iniesta is the greatest talent I’ve ever seen in Spanish football,” said Xavi. “A thousand games is many.

“I admire him and I love him very much, he is a great friend.”

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