Xavi rejected Brazil to wait for Barcelona

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Xavi Hernandez has said he wanted to be back with Barcelona so badly he passed on a chance to coach Brazil.

Xavi, who turned down the Barcelona coaching job last year because he felt he wasn't ready, rejected the invite from Brazil in the off-season.

His decision paid off and about 10,000 fans were at the Camp Nou to welcome home Xavi, hoping he can turn the club's fortunes around.

"We spoke with the Brazilian federation," he said at his official presentation at Barcelona on Monday.

"The idea was to be an assistant to (coach) Tite and to take over the squad after the Qatar World Cup.

"But my desire was to come to Barcelona.

"I waited until the right moment and I think this is the right moment. I feel I am very well prepared now."

The 41-year-old, who has signed a contract until June 2024, was hired last week to replace Ronald Koeman, who could not get Barca going this season.

"I am very excited," Xavi told the fans.

"We are the best club in the world and we will work hard to be successful.

"Barca can't be satisfied with draws or losses. We have to win every match.

Xavi is now in charge of the club where he spent 17 seasons during his playing career, racking up 767 appearances across that period - a tally only surpassed by Lionel Messi (778).

However, he takes over with the club in ninth place in La Liga, second in their Champions League group, mired in financial difficulties and with a squad shorn of Messi and depleted by injuries.

"We need you," Xavi told the fans.

"Especially during the bad moments. We are in a difficult situation as a club. We need you more than ever."

At a subsequent press conference he said he would lean on advice from previous Barcelona coaching greats to help restore the club to former glories.

"Many times I think about advice from the likes of Frank [Rijkaard], [Louis] Van Gaal, [Johann] Cruyff, [Pep] Guardiola, Luis Enrique and my father," he said.

"Guardiola in particular was a reference for me as a player and a manager. I think he's the best manager in the world.

"If people want to compare me with him, that's a positive."

Manchester City boss Guardiola tipped Xavi to be a managerial success at Barcelona but distanced himself from comparisons with his former teammate and player.

"I wasn't the heir to anybody and Xavi doesn't have to be my heir... With his class, dedication and effort, I'm sure he'll improve the club's situation," Guardiola, who was present at the Camp Nou on Monday, said.

Xavi played for Barcelona until 2015, helping them win 25 trophies, including the Champions League four times and La Liga on eight occasions.

He had been at Al-Sadd since leaving Barcelona, first as a player and then as coach for the past two-and-a-half years.

with DPA

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