The defender explained why he chose to sign for Barcelona this summer
In an interview in the newspaper L'Equipe, Jules Koundé acknowledged that Xavi Hernández's words were crucial for him to agree to sign for Barcelona and reject other proposals that, in principle, were more economically attractive and sportingly a safer bet. But the French defender was surprised by the knowledge that the coach had of his game and what he aimed for with Kounde, and was excited to come to a young Barça under full remodelling.
"First, I come to a huge club, which has known good times and which, lately, has had less,” said Kounde.
“I come to a project that I would not call reconstruction, because we already have a competitive team, but rather, being upturned. I was interested in being part of this new wave, in search of titles, and to put Barça back where it has always been, among the best clubs. Then there was the conversation with the coach. We talked about football, mainly. I felt a real confidence from him, that he had a real knowledge of myself, my game and my qualities.”
Xavi was insistent and told him what he wanted from him on the pitch. And he justified it because he understood that his incorporation was essential because of how he wanted to play. Koundé was already captivated by the coach for how he made Barça improve last season.
"When I talked to him he told me that my qualities correspond to his game plan, starting from the back, playing high, using my qualities of speed and anticipation. He also wants an aggressive team: we are one of the teams that presses high, that runs more. He saw me in this system and I too, I saw myself in this team that I saw make a pretty crazy rise up the table. With Sevilla we were fifteen points ahead of them in the middle of the season and Barça, with Xavi, had a superb second half. I saw him play a lot, I saw the changes he made and what direction he was going in. I liked it."
Barça battled with Chelsea over his signing, and Koundé also spoke with Thomas Tuchel, now fired, and said that he was not able to seduce him as Xavi did.
"I spoke with Tuchel and I also felt that he wanted me to come but I simply preferred Xavi's speech", he added.