Xavi 'clear' that he wants to return to Barcelona

Spaniard, currently managing in Qatar, says he won't tolerate 'toxic' dressing room

Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 to play out the remainder of his career in Qatar. AFP
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Xavi says he is ready to take on the Barcelona job should the Spanish champions come calling.

The Spaniard enjoyed a trophy-laden career with the Catalan club before seeing out his playing days in Qatar.

He joined Barca's famed La Masia academy in 1991 before progressing to the first team where he would play more than 700 matches, winning eight La Ligas, four Champions League titles and was a vital cog in the Spain teams that won successive European Championships and the 2010 World Cup.

Xavi left Camp Nou in 2015 to move to the Middle East and spent for years with Al Sadd before taking over as manager last summer.

"I am clear that I want to return to Barcelona, I am very excited," Xavi said in an interview with La Vanguardia.

"Now that I have seen myself coaching I think I can bring things to the players.

"But I made it clear to them that I saw myself in a project that started from zero and in which the decision-making was mine."

Barcelona have already made their interest in Xavi known with club officials having flown to Doha to sound out their former player about replacing Ernesto Valverde before he was sacked in January.

Xavi said he would "love" to manage Barca, but did not fill the time was right with the club eventually appointing Quique Setien as Valverde's replacement.

On that decision, he added: "I have no problem: I don't hide, I don't take it back.

"I would like to work together with people in whom I have confidence, with whom there is loyalty and who are very valid people.

"There can't be anyone toxic around the dressing room."

Xavi said any Barca side under his guidance would retain the services of club captain Lionel Messi, as well as former teammate Gerard Pique and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen - the best in the world in their respective positions, he says - as well as midfielders Frenkie De Jong and Arthur.

In terms of acquisitions, Xavi said bringing Brazil superstar Neymar back to Catalonia from Paris Saint-Germain would be a "spectacular signing", while also expressing his admiration for Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho and fellow Bundesliga star Serge Gnabry of Germany and Bayern Munich.