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BARCELONA

Xavi confirms new contract was sorted a few days ago: “It’s done”

The Barça coach confirmed in Friday’s press conference that his contract renewal will soon be made official. Xavi will add an extra year onto his existing deal, taking him to 2025 with the option of another year (2026).

Update:
The Barça coach confirmed in Friday’s press conference that his contract renewal will soon be made official.
Alejandro GarciaEFE

Barcelona coach Xavi faced reporters on Friday to look ahead to Saturday’s visit from Celta. During his press conference, he confirmed that he has extended his contract and the renewal will soon be made official. Xavi will add an extra year onto his existing deal, taking him to 2025 with the option of another year (2026).

What kind of game are you expecting tomorrow?

We’ve settled in (at temporary ground, Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys) and feel at home - more or less as though we are at Camp Nou even though it’s not Camp Nou. We have won all of our games there and go into this one in a good moment of form. Celta have fewer points than they deserve. They are a good, hard-working team, and Rafa Benítez is doing a good job with them. We struggled against them last year. It is important to win the game and feel good.

Was your late arrival to the press conference anything to do with your contract renewal?

I did warn that I would be here at 1:30 p.m... The renewal was sorted out a few days ago and will be announced shortly. I already said it was practically done.

Can you confirm the new expiry date?

It’s done. We will let you know in good time. Let’s see if we can sort out a window for this evening… (laughs).

How do you feel about the new contract?

We arrived in very adverse circumstances. Remembering that time, and comparing it to where we are now, you get the feeling that things are much better. We still have work to do, we’re only halfway through but it’s a building and learning process. In our first year, there were glimpses of what we could do. This should be the season where we are playing well and getting results. I feel supported by the president, especially during the difficult moments. I’m full of confidence. The staff have grown too, the players are enjoying it. It’s a good moment, but we need to stay humble because the whole thing could turn around at any moment.

Is the improvement in the team’s game down to you, or something that the players have done?

Having Gündogan and Cancelo is an advantage. Then there are players who are being a little more daring. Frenkie is comfortable, Oriol has given us a lot. It’s evident that the squad has improved. That also helps Lewandowski. And that’s all very positive.

Do you think the team could win some big competitions this season?

I won’t win anything by saying that. We have to go step by step and not get carried away with ourselves. The objective is to maintain the level of football we are playing and get results. After that, we’ll see. Trying to predict what will happen is pointless and won’t help us in any way.

Celta usually play with five at the back. Will you be playing with wingers or an extra man in midfield?

The most important thing, as always, is to open up the pitch. Create space, and have players who are constantly moving. And also to attack through the middle. It’s always good to have alternatives. We need to have variants, different options to crack open defences. We hope to have some alternatives tomorrow.

Would you like Barça to be league leaders this weekend?

It’s always important to be among the top teams and if we win tomorrow, we’ll put pressure on Madrid. But what matters is what is in our hands, what we can control.

Will you be asking Laporta to sign João Félix?

Its too early for that. Let’s wait and see. A lot of things can happen between now and the end of the season, but we’re delighted with him. I think he’s happy and that’s important too. Him and Cancelo. Hopefully they’ll be able to help us this season.

Can you see yourself coaching Barça for the next 15-20 years?

I think 15 years would be quite difficult. This is Barça and the demands are extremely high. I know where I am but there are moments when I have been through tough times. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. I’d love to be here for 15 years. I’m very happy - but 15 years would be a tough task.

Do you have a message for those who doubted you?

I’m not going to send messages to anyone - even to those who thought this would all turn out badly. I’ve always had faith that we could turn this around. I’m not the kind of person who sends messages, and especially not to rivals. I prefer to have respect, to work and continue with all the hope in the world.

When was your happiest moment as Barça coach?

When we really starting believing was during the Spanish Super Cup in January. I think that was the turning point - the moment when the players realized that we could achieve great things. Once the players starting having belief, the coaching staff gained credibility. I think that was a key moment.