Craig Burley explains why Lionel Messi is the deciding factor behind Ernesto Valverde staying or leaving.

Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has decided to turn down the opportunity to immediately replace Ernesto Valverde as the club’s head coach, sources have told ESPN.

Following two days of phone calls and meetings, Al Saad manager Xavi told Barca sporting director Eric Abidal and CEO Oscar Grau that he was open to the possibility of joining the club next season.

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Barca’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu will be busy on Monday given that he has a long overdue meeting with the club’s board in the afternoon where he will discuss everything that took place in Doha.

Sources told ESPN that Valverde’s job was not in immediate danger following the SuperCopa exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid, but Barca changed their minds and sent Abidal and Grau to Qatar where they met with Xavi on three occasions and also held a meeting with the injured Ousmane Dembele.

Xavi, who has been linked with the Barca job ever since he stopped playing for the club, prefers to start the new project from scratch and not go behind Valderde’s back. On Saturday, Xavi said he respected Valverde a lot.

Valverde is expected to take training on Monday morning with his squad in preparation for the La Liga match next weekend against Granada at Camp Nou.


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