Despite recent reports, Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has told new manager Luis Enrique that he is staying with the club and will resume training with the first team on Thursday.
The 34-year-old Spanish international had been the subject of transfer speculation the past few days, being linked with a move to New York City FC of MLS and Al Arabi in Qatar.
But the Spanish press is reporting that Xavi has told Barcelona that he has accepted his role in the squad, even though that means he is no longer considered a “certain starter” by the Catalan club’s new boss.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently insisted to the press that Xavi had “earned the right to decide” over his future. The midfielder has been a part of the club’s first team squad since the 1998/99 season and is currently under contract until 2016.
Although Xavi’s immediate future is clear, there are conflicting reports in the Spanish press saying that the midfielder will re-evaluate his position in January, or that the player will simply remain at Barcelona through the entire 2014/15 season.
Regardless of that speculation, the news of Xavi’s return to the Spanish giants will be heartwarming to Barcelona supporters and its players.
Barcelona centre-back Marc Bartra was despondent at a recent press conference when he was asked his opinion on Xavi’s possible departure from the club:
“If Xavi’s departure is confirmed, it will leave a huge hole in the dressing room,” Bartra told a press conference. “Personally Xavi has helped me a lot, and so it would be very sad news for me if he leaves, but we will respect his decision, he has earned everyone’s respect.”
Luckily for Bartra and the Catalan club, Xavi feels that now isn’t an opportune time for him to leave the club.