Two months after rejecting Barcelona, former midfielder Xavi Hernandez has reiterated his desire to coach the La Liga champions in the future, but suggests he will not return until a different board brings a new sense of direction to the club.
Xavi is in charge of Al-Sadd in Qatar and turned down an approach in January after Barca sacked Ernesto Valverde, which led to the surprise appointment of Quique Setien.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, Xavi said Neymar would be a "spectacular signing" and singled out former Spain defender Carles Puyol and the one-time Dutch winger Jordi Cruyff as people he would like to work with.
"I would sign wingers, like Neymar - I don't know if he would fit in due to the social issue, but football-wise I have no doubts it would be a spectacular signing," he said of the Brazil star who played for the club from 2013 to 2017 before joining Paris Saint-Germain.
"They just need wingers like Bayern's. They don't need many new players: maybe Jadon Sancho, Serge Gnabry.
"I would like to work with people in whom I have confidence, with whom there is loyalty," Xavi added. "We are talking about Carles Puyol, who was captain of Barca, and Jordi Cruyff, a very good businessman with a lot of experience as a technical secretary."
The relationship between Barcelona's board, led by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, and the players has remained tense, with Lionel Messi's public criticism of technical secretary Eric Abidal among a number of off-field controversies.
"I am clear that I want to return to Barca, I am very excited," said Xavi, who was asked if a change of board would be needed for it to happen. "Obviously I would like to be in tune with everyone," he said. "In the dressing room there can't be a negative or toxic atmosphere."
"Everything has to fit," Xavi added. "I would like to come in with people from my environment that could form a good team."
Pushed on whether working with the current board would be a deal-breaker, Xavi said: "It wouldn't be definitive, but I insist I would like to have total harmony. I don't know if that can happen... I have nothing against anyone, and I don't have a bad relationship with Bartomeu.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Karim Jaafar