FC Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez has spoken to the club’s sporting director Eric Abidal and chief executive Oscar Grau about coaching the team but has not made a decision.
A club source told Reuters on Sunday that Xavi, coach of Qatari club Al Sadd, is focused on Friday’s Cup final against Al Duhail.
“He has decided against accepting or declining Barca’s offer,” the source said.
Current club coach Ernesto Valverde has come under pressure since FC Barcelona’s 3-2 defeat by Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup last week.
But he will still take charge of their next training session on Monday, the source added.
Valverde has led Barca to back-to-back league titles and his side top the standings on 40 points after 19 games, level with second-placed Real Madrid.
The coach’s position has long been fragile, however.
This was due to his presiding over shock UEFA Champions League exits to AS Roma in 2018 and Liverpool in 2019 after taking a three-goal lead in each tie.
Xavi, who had a glittering 17-year career with Barca and is their leading appearance maker, has only been in management since July when he took over Al Sadd.
He had joined them as a player in 2015 after leaving the Catalans.
The 39-year-old’s record in charge of the club reads 15 wins, 10 defeats and two draws in all competitions and his side are third in the 12-team top-flight.
Xavi confirmed on Saturday that he had spoken to his former Barca team mate Abidal.
He admitted his desire to coach the Catalans while also committing to Al Sadd and saying he respected Valverde.
“I cannot hide it’s my dream to coach FC Barcelona, I’ve said it many times in many interviews, everyone knows I support Barcelona from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
The former midfielder is known for his passion for a style of football based on possession famed by ex-Barca coaches Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola.
He made a record 869 appearances and scored 97 goals for his boyhood club.
Xavi lifted 25 trophies with Barca, including four UEFA Champions League crowns and eight La Liga titles, and also won the 2010 FIFA World Cup with Spain plus two European Championships.
(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)https://nnn.ng/xavi-undecided-on-offer-to-coach-barca-club-source-says/
Spurs sign Bale on loan, Reguilon on permanent deal
Tottenham Hotspur have signed winger Gareth Bale and left-back Sergio Reguilon from Spanish champions Real Madrid, the English Premier League (EPL) club announced in a statement on Saturday.
Bale returns to his former club on a one-year loan deal, with British media reporting that Spurs will pay 20 million pounds in wages and fees for the 31-year-old Wales forward.
Reguilon, who spent last season on loan at Sevilla, arrives for a reported fee of 30 million euros (35.51 million dollars).
Bale made more than 200 appearances for Spurs between 2007 and 2013, scoring 56 goals with 58 assists before his then world record move to Real Madrid for 100 million euros.
He won four UEFA Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles with Real Madrid.
But he has divided opinion amongst the club’s fanbase, with some supporters frustrated by a perceived lack of commitment from the Welshman and his poor injury record.
Bale was poised for a move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last year before the deal fell through.
He endured his worst season at Real Madrid in 2019/2020, scoring only three goals in all competitions, and barely featured in their run to the Liga title.
His growing rift with manager Zinedine Zidane intensified when he did not travel with the squad for a UEFA Champions League clash against Manchester City last season.
The signings of Bale and Reguilon follow the arrival at Spurs of Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Ireland defender Matt Doherty and former England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Aguero could be out of action until November, Guardiola says
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero could miss the first two months of the 2020/2021 English Premier League (EPL) season, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Guardiola said this was because Aguero was yet to train with the club since suffering a knee injury in June.
The Argentine was sidelined for the last 12 matches of Manchester City’s 2019/2020 campaign, including their two UEFA Champions League fixtures in August.
Guardiola said the 32-year-old may not be fit until November.
“We knew the injury was difficult,” Guardiola said.
“He still hasn’t had one training session with us and Sergio is not a guy who regains his physical condition quickly.
“He has been out for a long time. So, maybe in one or two months he will be ready.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Whirlwind Bayern Munich dismantle Schalke 8-0 in season opener
Treble winners Bayern Munich crushed Schalke 04 8-0 with a hat-trick from Serge Gnabry and a superb debut from Leroy Sane on Friday.
It was a sensational start to the new Bundesliga season and the win sent an ominous warning to potential challengers.
Also, it was the biggest opening win in Bundesliga history.
Bayern Munich showed they had lost none of the sharpness which helped them to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy less than a month ago in dominant fashion.
Gnabry grabbed his first goal for the hosts with a fine turn and shot in the fourth minute in what turned out to be a one-sided affair.
It stretched Bayern Munich’s unbeaten run to 31 games this year, having now won the last 22 matches in a row.
Schalke 04, without a league win in 17 consecutive matches since January, were helpless against Bayern Munich’s lightning-quick game.
Leon Goretzka found plenty of space to drive a low shot past goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann in the 19th minute.
“You can see that the team was already strong last season,” said Sane, who joined from Manchester City. “The team is still hungry in spite of winning the treble last season and to have such a start is outstanding.”
Bayern Munich finished their season in August when they added the Champions League to their Bundesliga and German Cup titles and then had only a short preparation for the new season.
Last season’s top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski found the net with a 31st minute penalty kick to become the first player to score in 10 successive appearances against the same Bundesliga opponents.
Gnabry then scored twice from Sane’s assists in the 47th and 59th before Thomas Mueller made it half a dozen after Lewandowski set him up with an impressive rabona kick.
Sane then capped his superb Bayern Munich debut with a fine finish from a counter attack in an empty Allianz Arena.
This was after the city had banned spectators due to rising coronavirus infection numbers in the region.
A little later substitute Jamal Musiala drilled in goal number eight to become the youngest ever Bayern Munich goalscorer in the league at 17 years old.
The result piled more pressure on already-embattled Schalke 04 coach David Wagner, who has been under intense scrutiny during their winless run this year.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Laloko wants 25% of local players in Super Eagles
Laloko made the call on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , in reaction to Nigeria’s latest FIFA rankings released on Thursday.
Nigeria is placed on the 29th spot in the world and third in Africa, behind Senegal and Tunisia, in current FIFA ranking.
Laloko said it was wrong for the current team handler Gernot Rohr to constantly feature foreign-based players while home-based players were left to their fate.
According to him, such situation has negatively affected Nigeria’s previous rankings.
“It is not proper for us to go and select players from Europe and play all of them when we have players at home.
“We need a policy that will allow 25 per cent of the players in the national teams to come from our local leagues.
“Do Rohr and his assistants watch the leagues? They don’t; they do what they like at the expense of the country, and the way the coach is assembling only foreign players, I can only wish him well.
“Nobody is playing football now, otherwise how can we be 29th. Our friendly matches and preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), will determine the actual position where we are.
“I will suggest that we wait until we play friendly matches and proceed to the AFCON; for me, our current ranking is fake, so let us play first because no country is playing now.
“So how did we arrive at 29th? Time will tell,” Laloko said.
He urged the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), to regularly monitor the activities of the coach, noting that gone were the days when coaches folded their hands and watched players train.
He explained that football had gone scientific and not the usual running round the field with players.
“How long are we going to do that? There are new ways of coaching and I have never seen that during Super Eagles training,” he said.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Donald Ugwu