La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Qatari table toppers Al-Sadd have made a public attempt to convince manager Xavi to stay at the club as Barcelona look set to appoint the former midfielder. The World Cup winner is the current favourite to take over the reins at the Nou Camp, after the Catalans sacked Ronald Koeman on Wednesday following a dismal start to the season.
Koeman was disposed of by the club after a 1-0 away defeat to Rayo Vallecano left the 26-time La Liga champions floundering in ninth place.
Xavi has enjoyed a trophy-laden two years with Al-Sadd, leading them to consecutive Qatari League Cups, as well as winning the Qatari Stars League last season.
He has also won two domestic cups — the Qatari Stars Cup and the Super Cup — during his time in the Middle East.
And it would appear the club are extremely appreciative of his efforts, posting several photos of the Spanish maestro with the hashtag ‘#XaviStay’ on their Instagram account.
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The World Cup winner currently has two years left to spare on his contract at Al-Sadd, where he reportedly earns £8.5m per year.
However, Xavi is now the favourite to replace Koeman in Catalonia, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
Barcelona currently find themselves in the fire storm of what has been one of the most challenging seasons in their history.
They have fired blanks on all fronts, having also lost their two opening Champions League group matches 3-0 against Bayern Munich and Benfica.
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Their season got off to the worst possible start when they were not able to renew the contract of Lionel Messi, despite the five-time Ballon d’Or winner agreeing a 50 per-cent pay-cut.
La Liga rules surrounding wage caps demanded all clubs to keep their salary spending to 70 per-cent of their annual turnover.
And with Messi on board, they would have exceeded this cap by 40 per-cent. Even without Messi, their salary was still 95 per-cent of their income.
While they have been able to reduce their annual salary by selling Antoine Griezmann and Emerson Royal, Barcelona’s struggles have also extended onto the pitch.
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Their form has seen the team fall to new depths, with three defeats in their last four La Liga matches to Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano, who sealed Koeman’s fate.
The Dutchman’s arrival at Nou Camp in August 2020 was initially greeted with excitement, due to the six excellent seasons he spent at the club as a player between 1989 and 1995.
He provided the central defensive foundations for the club as they went on to win four league titles, the Champions League, and the Spanish cup.
However, his return to the club became a nightmare this summer, as the team struggled to adapt to life without Messi.
Xavi could be the next man to enter the dugout at Camp Nou, unless Al-Sadd’s attempt of a charm offensive is successful in keeping the Spaniard in the Middle East.
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