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Xavi on top of Barca wishlist with Valverde under pressure – reports

Doha, Qatar: Barcelona have asked former captain Xavi to take over from the under-pressure Ernesto Valverde as head coach, Spanish media reported on Friday.

The club's sporting director Eric Abidal has reportedly spoken to the boss of Qatari side Al Sadd about arriving on a two-year-deal, with radio station Cadena Ser claiming the former midfielder could return this season if Valverde is sacked.

Al Sadd's general manager Turki Al-Ali refused to rule out a move back to Barca for Xavi.

"The issue of Xavi going to Barcelona is normal and expected because he will be at his club and it's his first home and he must return there in the future, but as of today, Xavi is the coach of Al Sadd," Al-Ali said in a statement.

"Xavi and his team are focusing on tomorrow's match against Al-Rayyan, and we know that a club with the size and professionalism of Barcelona will take to official channels to speak of such matters," he added.

World Cup winner Xavi came through the Catalans' academy and played 855 senior games for the Camp Nou side.

He joined Al Sadd as a player in 2015 before being appointed coach last July.

Valverde's position is reportedly under threat after the Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid on Thursday.

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