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Xavi talks Ousmane Dembele, Dani Alves and Riqui Puig ahead of Copa del Rey clash

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona Training Session Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Xavi faced the press on Tuesday to discuss Barcelona’s next game which is a trip to Linares Deportivo in the third round of the Copa del Rey.

The Barcelona boss spoke about Ousmane Dembele’s future, Memphis Depay and Ansu Fati, as well as Joan Laporta’s comments that “Barca are back.”

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Linares

It’s a difficult, complicated match. It’s just the one game. Linares plays at home and will be extra motivated. We have analysed them, they are a good team, they have a manager who has been there a long time. Barca B won there, we’re going to compete and try to advance. These are always tricky games and sometimes go to extra-time and penalties. Our objective is to win.

Xavi on Dembele

It doesn’t depend on me, or the club, it depends on his agents. So we will wait for the news. The situation is what it is. Ousmane, I think, needs to make an effort and think about his future so it all depends on his efforts.

Xavi on the Copa del Rey

I think we view this competition the same as the others. We will go for the win and try to win the cup, regardless of our position in the league. Absolutely, the cup remains an objective for us. We want to end up becoming champions.

Xavi on Coutinho leaving

No I haven’t spoken directly to Philippe about this. He’s a good professional and helps us out. The truth is that if we want players to come in, some have to come out. We have managed to register Alves. We are still waiting for Ferran. But yes clearly in order to continue to register player we must sort things out.

Xavi on Laporta’s comments

I agree with the president. I am optimistic, I am close to him. I like his ambition. Yes we’re back, we are working on it. Things are getting better, the results are there. We are close to our objective of getting back to the Champions League spots. It’s not easy but we are working hard to put Barca back where it belongs. I’ve been an optimistic since birth and I think we are on the right track.

Xavi on Ricard Pruna

He’s been here for two weeks. He’s back with us. He’s fundamental for us. He’s a person of confidence, he’s a friend of mine. He’s the No. 1 in his job. He has a good relationship with the players and I’m very happy to have him with us.

Xavi on Dani Alves

I see him very well, very fit. He trains very well with a lot of intensity. He is a competitior and an excellent professional. I think he’s ready to play every three days and we’ll need him. We’ll need his crosses, his final passes, his depth, his talent. For me he’s a versatile player and despite being 38 he’s going to help us a lot.

Xavi on Ter Stegen’s save

I joked around with him saying even I could stop that ball, But of course he needed that. For me he’s one of the best in the world. Sometimes goalkeepers can fail. Perhaps it’s true he’s been a little bit below par. But it’s normal after a few years if you dip a little bit the critics come. He’s continuing to prove to everyone he’s still one of the best in the world.

Xavi on Dembele part 2

I’m just waiting. I think that our sporting project is the best for him and he won’t be happier anywhere else than here. It’s a question of time. We will see what he decides. I still hope he’ll make an effort.

Xavi on Neto’s future, if he’ll play tomorrow

I just spoke with Neto about his situation. We will decide tomorrow. I haven’t given the squad sheet yet because I’m still waiting for Alves to be official. He’s very aware of the situation at the club. We will see.

Xavi on Memphis and Ansu

No they will not be ready for tomorrow. They are training with some normality with the rest of the group. The sensations are very positive but they still need 3, 4, 5 training sessions to be 100%. If it’s not Granada it will be the next match.

Xavi on Riqui Puig’s lack of continuity

He is helping us a lot. I’m very happy with his performance. He gives us a lot of fluidity on the pitch. His final pass, his ability to create chances. There are situations in the game that he understands very well. He played a great 90 minutes against Mallorca and he’s very important to the team. But there’s a lot of competition, particularly in the midfield. He’ll play a lot of minutes.

Xavi on Morata

I already talked about hypotheticals and I’d rather avoid that and talk about the players that are here. Morata and Haaland are not my players. If Morata comes to Barca then I’ll answer your questions.

Xavi on Yusuf Demir

He’s part of the team right now. We are also negotiating with his agents, but for now he’s part of the squad and he’ll train with us.