Ernesto Valverde believs former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has what it takes to be the coach of the Catalan club one day.
On Thursday, the Barcelona icon announced his retirement from playing football to focus on a career in coaching.
The current Blaugrana coach talked up the possibility of the legendary no.6 having an illustrious career in the dugout.
“I don’t know if he’s the best player, but he’s one of the best there have been in the history of football,” Valverde said.
“I think that everyone expects Xavi to be a coach and he has the profile to be at Barcelona or wherever he is.”
Valverde has admitted that he will be rotating his Barcelona squad against Celta Vigo on Saturday ahead of the Champions League return leg with Liverpool.
The Catalan side are 3-0 up from the first leg of their semi-final and travel to Anfield to face Jurgen Klopp‘s men on Tuesday.
“We’re treating this game [against Celta] the same as the others,” Valverde told the press.
“We’re going to try to get three points. We’ve put in lots of effort in the last three weeks and we’re going to make changes because it’s necessary to.”
Despite their comfortable lead over Liverpool from the first leg, Valverde isn’t taking any chances before playing them again.
“It’s clear that we got a good result, but the tie isn’t over – far from it,” he said. “We know this because we watch Liverpool regularly, we know what they’re capable of.
“Although there will be time to worry about [Liverpool], I know we can’t lose focus on the tie, but now we have to concentrate on [Celta].”
Liverpool face Newcastle at St. James’s Park at the same time on Saturday as their intense title race in the Premier League continues.
“I don’t think we have an advantage because they play in the Premier League,” Valverde said. “Last week they had one more day of rest than us.”
Jasper Cillessen could replace Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal against Celta.
“I could use [Cillessen] in these games,” Valverde said. “Each time there’s a possibility, he’s played a match, like he didn’t last year. We’re happy with him, he’s a great goalkeeper and I know that the goalkeeper position is very special.
“Marc‘s performances have been at such a high level. He’s had an extraordinary season. He gives us a calmness from the back and allows us to settle on the pitch. When we open us, he lets nothing get past him.”
Malcom is another fringe player who is expected to play at Balaidos and his coach is happy with the season he’s having.
“[Malcom] has improved, as much playing as training,” he said. “He hasn’t had as many opportunities as others and he’s good enough to be here. He’s adapted well, and he’s been great when he has played.
Barcelona haven’t won at Balaidos in over four years, with two losses and a draw in their last three trips to Vigo.
“We lost here last year,” Valverde said. “We made changes in the league and cup, I remember. It’s the first opportunity to change the dynamic.”
Source : marca.com