Xavi's debut with Barcelona likely to be against Espanyol on Nov 20

The coach will not be in charge for the clash against Celta Vigo next weekend most likely

| sport

Toni Juanmartí

Xavi Hernandez looks set to coach Barcelona for the first time against Espanyol at Camp Nou. Negotiations between the club and Al-Sadd are not over, with the official announcement coming likely on Thursday and Friday. What’s almost certainly ruled out is Xavi taking charge as soon as Saturday in Balaidos, when Barcelona visit Celta Vigo. Sergi Barjuan will still be at the helm.

On Wednesday Al-Sadd face Al-Duhail, second in the league, in a key game for Xvi. Al-Sadd would open up a gap of six points behind them if they win that game. The Doha club want him to stay until that match, and he will.

The game will finish at 10pm Qatar time, two more hours than in Spain. The coach will not be able to travel until Thursday and Barca’s game with Celta is 4.15pm on Saturday.

Xavi will instead have the international break to work with the team and his ‘debut’ will be on Nov 20 against Espanyol.

The presentation of the coach may be delayed until next week so as not to interfere too much before the visit to Balaidos.

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