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Xavi talks Lewandowski, player exits, De Jong and Dembele ahead of Villarreal

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi has faced the press ahead of his team’s final La Liga game of the season on Sunday at home to Villarreal.

The manager spoke about Robert Lewandowski, players who will be leaving the club, and opened up on Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong.

Here, for the last time this season, are the best bits:

Xavi on Villarreal

I’d like to see the team competitive, brave, with good sensation and play a good game. We want to end the season with good sensations. Villarreal are probably the best team we’ve faced in La Liga this season. They made it very difficult for us. Unai Emery does a very good job and there’s a lot at stake for them tomorrow.

Xavi on Barcelona’s season

I’d say we have saved a situation that could have been a lot worse. We improved, we competed, we had to have faith. It hasn’t been a good season. We haven’t done enough. We have improved that’s obvious, we’ve played some great games. We have to make some adjustments, bring in new players for next season. Now we have to focus on rebuilding the team.

Xavi on next season

I’ve talked to the president, there is confidence, and he has said we’ll be able to reinforce the team. We will see what we can reach. I’m not the one to talk about money. I’m here to talk about football.

Xavi on Mbappe & Real Madrid

I don’t know, ask me about Barca! I would say I want him to be happy. He has his own decision to make. We are not part of this equation.

Xavi on talking to players who have to leave

I have already talked to some this week. I’ve talked with four or five players. They know my thoughts, my decision. From there we need to see how our plan goes. I’ve talked to them about minimum objectives. Now is a good moment to start talking about these things and making the decisions. I’ve told some of the players I’m sad they won’t continue in the team next year.

Xavi on Mbappe & Haaland

We can’t compete in that sense. We wanted to be in the race for Haaland but we couldn’t, Mbappe as well. The president’s been very clear in his words. The situation is what it is. We need to look forward, we can’t look back. We need to stay strong, stay together and move forward, strengthen our squad however we can.

Xavi on if he’s going on holiday

No, no. It’s about being here regularly. I’m very thankful. I find it stressful but I enjoy it. I’m very involved. I love the sport, the team, I won’t stop working no. We have a lot of work to do and we welcome it.

Xavi on Lewandowski

Yes, he’s one of the options. He said publicly that he wants to leave. It comes down to the negotiations between the club. He still has one year on his contract and it’s not going to be easy. He’s one of the options, yes.

Xavi on Dembele

It could be his last game yes or maybe he could extend his contract. Negotiations are ongoing. We will be optimistic. I hope he can stay. He’s helped us a lot during these six months, he’s a decisive player, he’s had lots of assists, he’s been excellent in many games. When he hasn’t played we’ve missed him. I like him as a football player. We will have to see, it depends on the negotiations. Yes tomorrow could be the last game for Ousmane and several other players.

Xavi on if he’s talked to Braithwaite, Umtiti, Riqui & Mingueza

Yes and some I’ve also talked to some other players as well. But I’m not going to say publicly. It’s down to every player if they want to announce it or not but I’ve already talked to them yes. I think it’s important for the players who aren’t staying to have options, to have time to think about their future. And obviously the players we want to continue. We do need to transmit to the players the intentions we have at the club.

Xavi on how players have reacted to talks

I think the response has been good. Some have been thankful. In the end I have to make decision. I’m clear. At other clubs they will have more opportunities. Here it will be hard for them to have opportunities to play. So they are going to another place where they can feel more important. It’s a tough situation but it’s part of the job, part of my responsibility.

Xavi on Frenkie de Jong

Here we are talking about the economic situation again. For me he’s a great football player. I’ve told him, I think he can make the difference. He can be part of an important era. We’ll see what the situation is. I really like Frenkie. He’s very capable, the way he dominates the game. He can definitely help us but we have to see what the situation is.

Xavi on if he’d rather keep Frenkie or sign a new player

The message is if we sign new players they have to improve what we have. They need to be players who can play lots of minutes and fight for positions. They can’t be players who we know won’t play. We need players who can compete with starters, that’s what we are looking for.

Xavi on Barca Femeni

Of course I want to wish them the best of luck. It’s an extraordinary final. I’ll watch it at home. I want them to win. I wish the best in the world. To bring the title back to Barca, it won’t be easy because Lyon are a rock. They have won lots of titles. I wish them the best.

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