Barcelona: Xavi denies claims that Aguero is to retire from football
On Saturday, it emerged that Kun Agüero has been forced to end his playing career due to a heart complaint, but Barça coach Xavi says that is not the case.
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández has denied reports that Argentine forward Sergio Agüero has been forced to retire from the game. Rumours emerged on Saturday that the Argentina international will hold a news conference next week to confirm he will not resume his playing career.
Agüero has not played since the 1-1 draw with Alavés at Camp Nou on 30 October, during which he was substituted after feeling dizzy and complaining of discomfort in his chest. Barcelona later confirmed he would be sidelined for three months while doctors monitored a suspected heart arrhythmia. The 33-year-old took to Twitter on 12 November to insist he is "positive, as always" amid suggestions he would not be able to continue playing.
Xavi, who oversaw a 1-0 win over Espanyol in his first match in charge, insisted it was not true that Agüero's retirement was confirmed. "What's come out isn't true," he told reporters. "I spoke with him, he's calm and happy. I asked him to come back when he was feeling okay."
Xavi celebrates debut with a win
A Memphis Depay penalty sealed Barça's victory over their city rivals, although they rode their luck in the closing stages as Raul de Tomás twice hit the post and Landry Dimata headed a glorious chance for an equaliser wide.
"I'm very happy with the three points and the effort of the players," Xavi told reporters afterwards. "We're not in the best of spirits and Espanyol created a lot of problems for us. And we deserved the luck with the posts. I'm happy, and I think it was a deserved victory. What couldn't fail, which was the attitude, didn't fail."
Barcelona close gap on Sevilla
The result moved Barça to within eight points of LaLiga leaders Sevilla, who earlier drew with Alavés, after 13 LaLiga matches. Real Sociedad have the chance to reclaim top spot when they play Valencia at home later on Sunday. While a title shot appears unlikely at this stage, Xavi – an eight-time league champion in a glittering playing career with the club – saw no reason to discount a challenge for the trophy. "We're far away but there are matches left. I'm optimistic and why can't we fight for the title?" he said.