Xavi Hernandez may have just turned down the chance to coach Barcelona but “he will be manager one day”, the Catalan club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Wednesday.
Former Barca captain Xavi was approached for the Camp Nou job last week but rejected the offer, preferring to remain as boss of Qatari team Al-Sadd for the time being.
That led to Quique Setien’s appointment as successor to sacked Ernesto Valverde on Monday, the 61-year-old signing a contact until June 2022, with a break clause in 2021, to allow for change after the club’s presidential elections.
Bartomeu believes that in Setien they have found a more than suitable alternative after failing to land their first choice.
“He has shown in the teams he’s been with that he loves the beautiful game, he loves above all the way we like to see the game played and it’s because of this that he was selected,” Bartomeu told Sport website.
But he also had warm words for Xavi, who won the World Cup with Spain in 2010, came through Barcelona’s academy and played 855 senior games for the club.
After an emotional farewell, he joined Al-Sadd as a player in 2015 before being appointed coach last July.
“Xavi will be manager of Barca one day, I have no doubt about that,” he said.
“He is very competent, he is someone with an enormous drive and who knows our football perfectly.”
Valverde was the first coach to be sacked by Barca mid-season since Louis van Gaal in 2003.
Despite the change of management Setien inherits a side sitting top of La Liga, albeit level on points with Real Madrid, and facing Napoli next month in the last 16 of the Champions League.