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Barcelona director Deco talks Xavi, Laporta, Messi, Yamal, Cubarsi, Frenkie, Rafa Marquez



Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona director Deco recently sat down for an interview with Catalunya Radio during which he discussed a plethora of topics ranging from the club’s current situation to their search for a replacement for Xavi and everything in between.

Kicking things off, Deco touched on Barça’s 1-1 draw against Napoli in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg, saying:

“Against Napoli, we wanted to come away with the win, but this is the Champions League. Even if you’re bad in the league, it’s different. Against Getafe, we got players back and played well.”

On Laporta and Xavi

Deco was then asked about Barcelona president and his monumental anger after Barça’s game against Granada, where he threw plates of pastries in the VIP box after the match ended 3-3.

“The president is hot-blooded, but we are all different. Everyone has their own reactions,” he remarked.

“I am also human and when a match is over sometimes I don’t want to have dinner. The family suffers because in football we always want to compete. But it’s human, sometimes you are in a better mood and sometimes in a bad mood.”

The chat then moved to Deco’s relationship with manager Xavi Hernandez, with it being suggested in the past that the two have had problems. Addressing the matter, he said:

“It’s been years since I’d seen Xavi, but he’s never changed. As a coach he has bad days, like everyone. We are always asked about our relationship, but it’s a good one,” Deco said.

“I have a lot of respect for Xavi as a player, also as a former player. He was the best midfielder in the world. He has gone through several processes. And I also have respect for him as a coach, he came with a complicated situation and he has won a league.”

On Xavi’s decision to leave Barça at the end of the season, Deco revealed that he wanted the 44-year-old to continue, saying:

“I would not like Xavi to leave, we renewed for him because we believed in the long-term project. But he has said personal things and he has his reasons. I have the same opinion as the president, I would like Xavi to stay.”

On whether there is a chance of Xavi changing his mind and staying, Deco said: “Xavi’s decision was his, and if he changes, it has to come from him. If we win the Champions League, we don’t rule out talking to him, we will consider it.”

On Xavi’s replacements

Xavi will leave Barcelona.
Xavi will leave in the summer. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

On the hunt for Xavi’s replacement, he added: “We are not talking about the profile of the new coach, because we are not looking for one yet. The season is not over. We have to try to win titles but also build a team. This team still has a cycle, there are a lot of young players. There are some people who have given up on the season.

“We live more in the present, it’s not that we are not planning, but we need to know the economic conditions, what the players think…. It’s not that easy.

“Regarding the renewals, the new coach doesn’t change the planning. There are players who are club projects. We want to go far in the Champions League, win the league, so there is still a season and we have to take it easy.”

Further elaborating on the matter, he added: “We have to take into account, the players, the contracts…. The name of the coach depends on many things. There are not so many great coaches available. There will be moves but we will make the right decision with what we have.”

Barcelona Atletic’s Rafael Marquez has been talked about as a possible replacement for Xavi, but Deco ruled it out, saying: “Rafa (Márquez) is growing as a coach, the club needs people of quality in the youth ranks, professionals of a high level.”

Highlighting what Barcelona will look for in a manager, he added: “Regardless of the style of each coach, Barça has a similar style of football for all the coaches at the club. The coach has to respect Barça’s idea of football, quality football, playing well.”

“We like Guardiola’s City because they play good football. We like Real Sociedad because they are a very competitive team. Barça’s game has to go that way.”

On Barcelona’s youngsters

The sporting director also spoke about the rise of youngster Pau Cubarsi, saying: “Cubarsi has impressed with his maturity, his games with the Juvenil in the Youth League, the World Cup. We are trying to let them compete.”

“A great job was done in grassroots football. You don’t have to sign if you have a Cubarsí in the youth system, but you have to give them time, to get them ready.”

“In football you have to play on merit. The more quality, the better. It’s important that Lamine has competition, because it makes you grow, just like Cubarsí, especially at Barça. But we have to help them so that the process of maturity and growth is easy.”

Deco then highlighted how having Ludovic Giuly for competition helped Lionel Messi during his formative years at Barcelona and that is something that he wants for the current crop of talent.

“Messi grew up in a competitive environment. Having Giuly was good for Leo, Ludo gave us things that Messi didn’t give us at the time. But the time has come. The idea is to look after the young players,” he said.

On transfer plans

Deco wants Frenkie to stay at Barcelona for many years.
Deco wants Frenkie to stay for many years. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

There has been a lot of talk about Barcelona needing to sell players in the summer, but Deco insisted that the club are not actively trying to offload stars.

“The idea is not to sell anyone, on the contrary, to try to strengthen ourselves. We don’t need many things, but we don’t want to sell. We are counting on everyone,” he said.

“Frenkie, Pedri, Gavi, Araujo are players for the present and the future. They have contracts and they have to stay for more years. We also have players of competitive age, we want to maintain the balance of the squad.”

Deco also touched upon Frenkie de Jong’s recent outburst at the media for spreading speculations about his future as well as the meeting that took place between him and the midfielder’s agent.

“What we talk about with the agents we can’t make public, I like to keep it internal. About Frenkie, he is human like us. If they say something that is not true, it is normal for him to get angry. He has every right to speak out,” he said.

On De Jong’s situation at the club, he added: “I think he is happy. But I understand that they want to win, that’s good, that’s what we want. The profile of players we want for Barça is those who want to win, not those who want to play for the club. We want Frenkie to stay for more years.”

About the Dutchman’s salary, he said: “I can’t answer about Frenkie’s salary. I arrived this season. But nobody has told me that we can’t pay his wages and we have to sell him.”

On him joining Barcelona

Deco also discussed how his appointment as Barcelona’s director came about, saying: “When Mateu left, it wasn’t easy but I accepted the president’s offer. I had built something important.

“If it wasn’t Barça, maybe I wouldn’t have made the decision. I don’t think too much about whether what I have done is right.”

“I am trying to do my job well. I want to leave something important as part of the process. I don’t know if I’ll be here for a year, two, three… I’m not worried about it. I’m thinking day by day,” he added.

“It would be a dream to win the sixth (Champions League). But Barça will win another Champions League. We have to work hard,” concluded Deco.

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