No one has said no to club since I arrived

Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez said not a single player has said no to the club since he was appointed coach after being asked about a recent meeting with Erling Haaland.

Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland reportedly met with Barca manager Xavi in ​​Munich last Tuesday, where he is recovering from an injury that has kept him out of action since January.

– ESPN+ viewers’ guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access

Xavi has neither confirmed nor denied the meeting, with ESPN reporting that Barca, along with Real Madrid and Manchester City, are among the teams vying for the Norway striker’s signature this summer.

“Is that confirmation [of the meeting] or a question?” Xavi laughed in a news conference on Wednesday when asked what feeling he got from Haaland about his willingness to move to Camp Nou.

“Look, it is always a good moment to sign for Barcelona. For me, this is the best club in the world. And, honestly, not a single player has said no to Barcelona since I have been here [as coach].”

Asked how he convinces players to sign, Xavi added: “You explain how we play and how we train. You tell them that here they will touch the ball 40 times a game instead of 20.

“I try to let them know about the club and about how wonderful the city is. I transmit that it is a golden opportunity for any player and the style of play will make them a better player.”

Xavi was speaking ahead of the first leg of Barca’s Europa League round-of-16 tie against Galatasaray at Camp Nou on Thursday.

Despite an upturn of form since Xavi replaced Koeman — they have won four games in a row, climbed to third in LaLiga and knocked Napoli out in the previous round — the coach said Sevilla, not Barca, are the favorites for the Europa League .

Barca will be missing the suspended Gavi against Galatasaray, while Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti are still injured. Xavi also said he will make changes to “freshen” things up against the Turkish side.

Speaking before Xavi, player Frenkie de Jong reaffirmed his desire to stay at Barca following rumors about his future.

“I feel good here,” he said. “We are in good form and I feel comfortable. I want to stay [at Barca] And, above all, improve. I still think I can give more. I am working hard and speaking with the coaches to improve.”

De Jong, who joined from Ajax for €70 million in 2019, has been criticized at times this season for his performances, with some speculation even suggesting he could leave the club in the summer.

“It does not hurt a lot when people criticize [me],” he added. “But a lot of people aren’t watching the games, that’s why people speak.

“If a journalist, for example, says Frenkie de Jong has not been good, people will think that. They are not watching the games. That’s the problem.”

Xavi has praised De Jong’s improvement since the turn of the year and the Dutch international explained that it’s the fruit of a lot of video work and analysis with his coach.

“We are seeing videos about situations in the game, where I can do better or where I did good,” he said. “It’s about how to find spaces, where to ask for the ball, these kinds of things.

“Or where I could give the last pass to give an assist or to enter the box to score. Things like this. And it depends on the game I have played.”


Leave a Comment