Xavi talks on Barcelona return ‘in final stages’

Talks with Qatari club Al-Sadd on bringing Xavi back to Barcelona as coach have reached the “final stages”, a source close to the negotiations told AFP on Thursday.

Barcelona’s vice-president Rafa Yuste and director of football Mateu Alemany have been in the Qatari capital since Wednesday seeking to secure Xavi as a replacement for the sacked Ronald Koeman.

Xavi, who won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues as a player with Barca, said on Wednesday he was “looking forward to going home” after coaching the Qatari club for three years.

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Xavi is Barca’s first choice to replace Koeman but the Spaniard has two years left to run on his contract with Al-Sadd.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that “the discussion had reached its final stages”.

The source said the deal being discussed involved allowing Xavi to break his contract in return for an agreement that Barcelona will play a friendly match against Al-Sadd in Doha and also that the Qatari team will take part in the pre-season Gamper Cup in Spain.

Barcelona was forced to allow Lionel Messi to leave the club before this season and has admitted it is saddled with huge debts.

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