Xavi also reveals how Pep Guardiola is an inspiration to him and discusses his former boss' attempts to win the Champions League with Manchester City
Monday 23 September 2019 12:54, UK
Legendary Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi wants to return to his former club as manager, but is also keen to manage in the Premier League.
Xavi made over 700 appearances for his boyhood club Barcelona and is the third most capped Spanish international footballer, playing 133 times for his country.
The man who was at the heart of the Spain side that won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships ended his incredible playing career five months ago to take his first steps into management with Al Sadd in Qatar, the club he spent his final four years with as a player.
Despite being in the infancy of his managerial career, Xavi admits the ultimate goal is to return to manage Barcelona.
He said: "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.
"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."
Although a return to the Catalan club is the target, Xavi has not ruled out a managerial role in the Premier League should an opportunity arise.
He added: "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 or United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham.
"Also, [Jurgen] Klopp and [Mauricio] Pochettino and Unai Emery, many people who have gone there are doing an extraordinary job."
The 39-year-old was part of one of the best teams of all time, in the form of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona side between 2008 and 2012.
Guardiola guided Barcelona to three La Liga titles and two Champions League wins during his time in charge and Xavi has taken inspiration from his former boss.
Xavi said: "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."
The Champions League title has eluded Guardiola since he left Barcelona with both Manchester City and Bayern Munich, but Xavi, Guardiola's captain in his last triumph in 2011, believes it is the City boss' ultimate title.
Xavi added: "He has been chasing it since he left Barcelona.
"He couldn't get it with Bayern after three semi-finals. This year he had very bad luck against Tottenham due to VAR.
"They are after the Champions League. They had very bad luck. In the end you can win or lose the Champions League due to very small details. He has not been lucky, but I think his goal is to win everything.
"He is doing an extraordinary job, he had bad luck because Liverpool were spectacular and won the Champions League."