FC Barcelona

Joan Laporta confirms Xavi will return to Barcelona as manager

Tom Gott
Xavi is ready to head to Barcelona
Xavi is ready to head to Barcelona / KARIM JAAFAR/GettyImages

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed that Xavi will return to the club as their new manager, hours after he was pictured saying goodbye to Al Sadd's players.

Al-Sadd kicked off Friday with the announcement that an agreement had been reached to send Xavi back to Camp Nou, but that was met with confusion from those in charge at Barcelona as they had not agreed to the terms of his release just yet.

Barcelona denied claims from the Qatari side that they had paid Xavi's €5m release clause, but later in the day, an agreement was reached which will see Barcelona pay €2.5m themselves, with Xavi also agreeing to do €2.5m worth of ambassadorial work for Al-Sadd over the coming years.

He was spotted saying his farewells to Al-Sadd earlier in the day, and late on Friday night, president Joan Laporta confirmed (via Mundo Deportivo) that "Xavi's contract is about to be closed and he will be Barça's coach." He is expected to board a plane on Saturday to return to Spain.

Official confirmation of the move will follow in due course, with Barcelona waiting until their lawyers have finished with the paperwork before formally announcing Xavi's return.

He will be presented to the fans at Camp Nou on Monday, when contract length and other finer details of Xavi's return are expected to be made public.

The legendary midfielder had hoped to get the deal done in time to watch Barcelona in action against Celta Vigo on Saturday, but the delay in negotiations may prevent Xavi from getting over to Spain in time.

However, he will then have two weeks with some of his players during the upcoming international break, after which Espanyol will present Xavi with his first challenge.