‘He Has To Stay at the Club:’ Xavi Backs Barcelona Veteran


Getty Xavi is backing Sergi Roberto.

Barcelona coach Xavi has offered his backing to veteran Sergi Roberto who is out of contract at the end of the season and yet to agree an extension at the Camp Nou.

Xavi was asked about the 30-year-old’s future at a pre-match press conference ahead of Barcelona’s La Liga clash against Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday, February 20 and made his feelings clear.

“I’ve said it many times that Sergi is a player who has to stay at the club. Obviously this is something the club has to deal with and his agents and the club need to agree,” he explained. “But I would count on him. It depends on him though, it depends on the economics circumstances of the club, but in terms of football there are no doubts he’s an important player for me and for the future of Barca.”

Roberto is currently out injured after undergoing surgery in December 2021 on a thigh injury. The versatile veteran is expected to be sidelined for four months and is not due back until April.

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Roberto Looking For a New Club?

Talks between Roberto and Barcelona regarding a new contract have broken down and it now seems “inevitable” he will play for another team next season, as reported by Ernest Folch at Diario Sport.

There appears no hope that contract negotiations will resume, and Roberto has already instructed his agent to look for a new club for him as he does not expect to stay, according to Xavi Hernandez at Ara.

The versatile star “is attracted to playing in the Premier League” and has been previously linked with a move to Manchester City which would see him reunited with former boss Pep Guardiola.

Xavi Talks Up Frenkie de Jong

One player who does not appear to be going anywhere is midfielder Frenkie de Jong. The Dutchman has spoken recently about his desire to stay at Barcelona “for many years” and Xavi has also talked up the 24-year-old.

The Barcelona boss told reporters that he feels the midfielder has improved since he arrived to replace Ronald Koeman as coach, but he still feels he can develop into an even better player.

“For me Frenkie is a great player. He’s helping us a lot. He’s made a big step forwards since we arrived. He’s more dynamic, he’s not losing the ball, he works in defense, he gets into the box, he scores goals, he’s Frenkie,” he explained. “He’s a player who can make the difference, he’s destined to be here many years and he’s going to bring a lot to us. In midfield there’s a lot of physical demand but he’s at a great level. He’s very self-critical, self-demanding, he wants to improve and that’s great. He’s going to continue to improve. No doubts.”

De Jong and Xavi are back in action at Valencia next in another key game for the Catalan giants. Barca need a win to move back into fourth place in La Liga after Atletico Madrid and Villarreal both picked up victories on Saturday, February 19.

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