Andres Iniesta says the prospect of taking on a joint coaching role with Xavi at Barcelona “doesn’t sound too bad”.
Former midfielder Xavi was one of the candidates to take over from Ernesto Valverde, who was sacked as head coach following the 3-2 Supercopa de Espana semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid.
The Al Sadd boss confirmed he held talks with his old club but turned down their offer as he considered it too early in his coaching career.
Quique Setien has since been installed on a two-and-a-half-year deal, but it remains widely expected that Xavi will return to Camp Nou in future to take charge of the first team.
Iniesta, whose midfield partnership with Xavi was a cornerstone of one of Barca’s greatest eras, likes the idea of reuniting with his old team-mate in the dug-out.
“The Xavi-Iniesta tandem doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s not possible right now,” he told El Partidazo.
“I think Xavi will sooner or later be at Barca, but I don’t know at which moment.”
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Iniesta, who spent 22 years at Barca after joining as a youngster, thinks the idea of former stars coming back to the club can only be a positive.
When asked about the prospect of another ex-team-mate, Carles Puyol, taking up a role of sporting director, with Xavi as coach and Gerard Pique as president, Iniesta said: “I truly believe those players, one day, should be at the club, although I don’t know in which role.
“Firstly, because of their abilities, and then because of what they represent and the good they can do at the club where they have spent their lives.”
Iniesta caused a stir when he described Barca’s conduct as “ugly” when Valverde was dismissed this month.
The former Spain star has moved to clarify his comments, saying: “People who know me know it’s very difficult for me to criticise the way Barcelona do or don’t do things. Maybe the word ‘ugly’ is strong, or everyone can use it to say I’ve given a bit of attention to Barca, as I read, but it’s not like that at all.
“If you like, take away the word ‘ugly’ for any other. What I believe is that the manner wasn’t correct – even [president Josep Maria] Bartomeu recognised that. That was just one way of saying it.”
Iniesta, who confirmed he spoke with Valverde following the news, now hopes to see Setien enjoy success with his commitment to possession-based, attacking football.
“I’ve spoken with him [Setien] one time,” said the Vissel Kobe man. “He had long since been tipped to coach Barcelona…I think he’s a coach, and everyone agrees with this, who has a way of understanding and watching football with a lot of possession, and who likes to play well and attack.
“I believe, and I hope, he can have a great period.”