MADRID: Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said on Saturday that he still retained the club’s trust, despite a steady stream of media reports that Barca president Joan Laporta may be minded to sack him.

“I understand the noise but that changes nothing,” Xavi told reporters after a training session ahead his side’s game against Rayo Vallecano, where the Catalan side is looking to hold on to second place in La Liga.

The manager added that his focus was on winning the three points and “the team has an extraordinary base to compete.” “We’ll sit down with the president and if we have to talk about anything, we’ll do that. But everything is the same as it was three weeks ago. If there are any changes we’ll let you know”, he said about rumours of Laporta’s loss of confidence in him.

Despite being a club great and winning LaLiga last season, Xavi has been under pressure this season after Barcelona failed to catch Real Madrid, who have already secured the title.

In January Xavi said he would resign by the end of this season, but last month he sat down with club officials and agreed to honour the last year of his contract until mid-2025 — with a series of unspecified conditions set by the club.

However, Xavi told reporters on Thursday that the club’s situation is difficult, especially in economic terms, and it was tough to compete with the likes of Real Madrid, in comments that reportedly angered Laporta.

The club has a bloated wage bill and a 1.6 billion euro ($1.7 billion) renovation project is underway at the Camp Nou stadium.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2024

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