Xavi all set to take over as Barcelona manager

Al Sadd say deal has been agreed between clubs after payment of his release clause

Former star midfielder Xavi Hernandez is all set to take over as Barcelona manager after Al Sadd agreed to release the ex-Barca player.

The Qatari club's CEO Turki Al-Ali said in a statement that Xavi will be allowed to become Barcelona’s next manager following the payment of his release clause.

"The Al Sadd administration has agreed on Xavi’s move to Barcelona after the payment of the release clause stipulated in the contract. We’ve agreed on cooperation with Barcelona in the future. Xavi is an important part of Al Sadd’s history and we wish him success," Turki Al-Ali said in the statement

"Xavi informed us a few days ago of his desire to go to Barcelona at this particular time, because of the critical stage his hometown club is going through, and we understand this and decided not to stand in his way."

Xavi had been coaching in Qatar since 2019 and will rejoin the club where he enjoyed huge success as a player.

Barcelona had sacked coach Ronald Koeman after the defeat to Rayo Vallecano.

Koeman, 58, was under pressure after his side lost to Real Madrid and this latest defeat, then their fourth in six matches, proved the final straw for the board.

World Cup and double European Championship winner Xavi progressed through Barcelona's La Masia academy and spent 17 years as a first-teamer at Camp Nou.

He went on to captain the team and become one of the most celebrated players in the club's history before leaving in 2015 to join Al Sadd initially as a player.

Xavi turned down the chance to coach Barca in January 2020 after Ernesto Valverde was sacked, but he has continued to be linked with the job.

Koeman had led Barcelona to third place in La Liga and won the Copa del Rey in his first campaign, but they have struggled this season after being forced to part ways with Lionel Messi as their budget was slashed amid financial issues.

Barca are languishing in ninth spot in the league on 16 points from 11 games, nine points behind leaders Real Sociedad and eight behind Real Madrid.

The Catalan club are second in their Champions League group behind Bayern Munich with six points from four matches, despite losing their opening two games.

Xavi is set to replace caretaker manager Sergi Barjuan who was appointed after the club sacked Koeman.

"My main objective, when I can do it, is Barca," Xavi told Marca last year. "It's my home, that's the dream."

Updated: November 5th 2021, 11:54 AM