‘Xavi Told Me He Wanted Me To Stay:’ Midfielder Talks Barcelona Exit


Getty Xavi lost Franck Kessie to injury.

Miralem Pjanic has discussed his summer exit from Barcelona and admitted that manager Xavi Hernandez was keen to keep him at the Catalan giants for the season.

The midfielder moved to United Arab Emirates team Sharjah FC after being released from his Barcelona contract two years early. Pjanic told Cadena SER that he he was happy to have convinced Xavi of his ability.

“Xavi told me he wanted me to stay. I did the whole preseason, I convinced Xavi that I have the quality, but after the first games I couldn’t show my value,” he said. “This start of the season I expected to play a little more, For me it was very important to convince a former player like Xavi, of a lot of class, of a great level, who has won everything, and who knows what a midfielder is. It is a great satisfaction.”

Pjanic moved to Barcelona from Juventus in 2020 but struggled to make an impact at the club and was then loaned out to Turkish side Besiktas. The midfielder returned before the start of the current campaign but says he knew he had to move after again struggling for game time.

He explained, “I was in the biggest club in the world, but if I can’t give something I can’t be happy, because I love playing”.

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Pjanic Rips Former Boss Koeman

The former Barcelona man also went on to criticize former manager Ronald Koeman. Pjanic has previously hit out at the Dutchman for the way he feels he was treated by the manager and has now taken aim at his methods.

“I was very surprised in training with Koeman. There was no intensity, no tactics, no ideas. We did not prepare for the games,” he said. “Preparation and training was good under Xavi, similar to what I was used to at Juventus, for example, where we won everything. Now the sessions at Barca have a lot of intensity. Xavi and his staff were very clear with us at the start of the season. They told us this year we would have to run and go 2000 miles per hour.”

Pjanic has gone on to make a bright start to life with Sharjah, scoring twice in his first three outings for his new club.

Praise For Pedri and Gavi

Another reason for Pjanic’s struggles at Barcelona was the emergence of teenage midfielders Pedri and Gavi. The youngsters have already cemented their places in the starting XI alongside captain Sergio Busquets.

Pjanic has been full of praise for both of the teenage midfielders and expects the duo to shine for a long time with Barcelona.

“Pedri for me is an incredible player. He is going to make his way and I think that Barça has an extraordinary midfielder for the next 10 years,” he said. “Gavi is very young and has a lot of quality. His quality speaks for itself on the pitch and with the experience that Busquets and other players have, they will also help him and make him grow. They are players of a high level, who will be there for the next 10 years, without a doubt.”

Pjanic’s move away from Barcelona did help Gavi. The midfielder’s departure freed up space on the wage bill which played a part in allowing Barcelona to hand the 18-year-old a new long-term contract at the club.

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