Newstalk
Newstalk

22.19 16 Jan 2014


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Listen to the full interview via the Off The Ball Football Show podcast.

Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi continues to be an important cog for club and country.

But as the 33-year-old ages, rumours have begun to link him with an exit from the club he has represented since the age of 11.

The latest rumours have claimed that he has agreed a switch to MLS side New York Red Bull's after this summer's World Cup.

To get closer to the truth of the matter, we were joined by our European football correspondent Graham Hunter.

"This story must be credited to a Madrid newspaper called AS and came from a Catalan reporter. It was written last week and has been picked up and used. I've spoken to the reporter and he tells me that it comes extremely well sourced from somebody close to Xavi," said Hunter.

"Xavi gave a very in-depth interview to [magazine Panenka] where he used the phrase 'my objective is to stay at Barcelona but I don't know if I'll be able to achieve that'. He did a promotional ad a couple of days after that magazine came out where he emphasized that his goal was to finish his career at Barcelona but pointed out how difficult that is becoming and how hard it's been for him physically."

Hunter believes that there is "substance to the idea that he is evaluating what comes next." 

Xavi has a fixed contract with the club until 2016 which had not been the initial plan for the club's President during the negotiations and Hunter re-emphasized that "we are in the midst of a phase where a legend is evaluating the way forward" with a move "feasible".

It especially pertinent given that manager Gerardo Martino is trying to mould the club away from tiki taka which goes against the style that suits Xavi and Andres Iniesta. 

Hunter said that Xavi also had latent concerns about the change in style being implemented on the pitch.

"Xavi was the one that went to Martino and said that 'some of what you're doing, we understand. But we're losing our positional play and the elements that make us special. We need to retrench to what makes us good and differentiates us from other sides. And Martino listened and now there isn't a confrontational situation.'"

Graham also discussed the issue about Neymar (who suffered what initially looked like a serious injury) and his transfer which is set for the courts.


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