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4 months ago

Barcelona star says he won’t return to club while Xavi is manager

A Barcelona outcast has ruled out playing for the club again while Xavi is manager.

Barcelona’s rejuvenation under Xavi has hit the breaks somewhat this season, with the reigning La Liga champions currently eight points off the pace in the title race.

Sunday’s humiliating 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final was the latest setback suffered by the former Barca and Spain midfielder, and the pressure is no really mounting at Camp Nou.

The 43-year-old can take great credit for the work he has done with the club, especially when you consider the financial and on-field mess Barca were in when he arrived in 2021. Despite that, not everyone connected with the club is his biggest fan.

Sergino Dest was one of the most exciting young prospects around when he joined Barca from Ajax in 2020; the Catalonian side agreed a deal worth up to £23.8 million and gave the then-19-year-old a contract with a €400 million buy-out clause.

However, after showing initial promise Dest fell down the pecking order and his situation only worsened under Xavi last season. In a bid to revive his career the right-back joined PSV Eindhoven on loan last summer, where he has helped the Eredivisie side win all 17 of their games.

Despite impressing in the Netherlands, the USMNT star has ruled out returning to Barcelona while Xavi is still coach.

When asked if he could return to the Camp Nou, Dest told VI: “Only if the situation changes there. Xavi is still there now. So at the moment no, that will be too difficult.”

Xavi fumes on the touchline. Image: Getty

On the subject of his future, he continued: “I think Barcelona, PSV and I have something to say about that. And right now it’s too early to talk about that. Every player has his goals and every player wants to play at the top, that also applies to me.

“In the long term I would like to return to the level where I came from. But a season like this, I just have to enjoy it. So I have my full focus at PSV at the moment. And at the end of the season we will look further. Maybe I’ll stay, maybe I’ll go.”

Dest could well be available for transfer in the summer, as could two other Barcelona stars. According to reports, Xavi would be willing to let one of Ilkay Gundogan or Frenkie de Jong go to raise funds to sign another deep-lying midfielder.