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Xavi hints at Premier League managerial role – but would want "a big team"

Xavi

Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi Hernandez says he would be open to a managerial role in the Premier League.

Xavi made 767 appearances and won 15 major trophies at Barcelona (opens in new tab), before joining Qatari outfit Al Sadd in 2015.

The midfielder played for the reigning Qatari champions for four years, before being appointed head coach earlier this year.

Xavi has been earmarked as a future Barcelona boss and was again linked with the role after the Blaugrana lost 2-0 to Granada on Sunday.

And while the World Cup winner insists his dream is to return to the Camp Nou, he would also welcome the chance to manage a club in England’s top flight - although he did not name Liverpool (opens in new tab) as a potential destination.

"I don't hide it: my goal is to return to Europe and return to Barca. It is my challenge ahead, but I'm still learning in this project and I'm also enjoying it,” he told Sky Sports.

“My idea, which also happened to me as a footballer, is to be in Barcelona. Training this type of team would be a privilege and the greatest privilege for me would be to return to Barca.

That is my goal, but obviously, who doesn't like the Premier League? The football atmosphere, the packed stadiums and the people who play in the Premier League say it's extraordinary.

“Obviously if I had to choose, I would choose a big team, [Manchester] City (opens in new tab) or [Manchester] United (opens in new tab), Chelsea (opens in new tab), Arsenal (opens in new tab) or Tottenham (opens in new tab).

“Also, [Jurgen] Klopp and [Mauricio] Pochettino and Unai Emery, many people who have gone there are doing an extraordinary job.”

Xavi also heaped praise on former team-mate and manager Pep Guardiola, who guided Barcelona to three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues from the dugout.

Guardiola has since enjoyed success at Bayern Munich (opens in new tab) and Manchester City, and Xavi says his former boss is someone he looks up to.

“Pep Guardiola is the best coach in the world and I am a novice. The comparison happened as a player but now we can't be compared.

"I am in love with Pep Guardiola's football. Now I have started as a coach, I see the different methodologies. You can win playing football in different ways, but I like the one of City and Guardiola the most. I follow the Premier League a lot and I like it.

“Guardiola is a reference for me. As a player he already was, because we played in the same position, we spent three years together in Barcelona as players and then four magnificent years with him as coach.

“He is a brilliant, demanding, passionate, obsessive person, that's why he's doing so well. It transmits a lot to the footballer. I learned a lot and enjoyed my time at his side.”

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Greg Lea
Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).