Speaking in a candid interview on Cadena SER, former Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic has shed light on his relationship with manager Xavi Hernandez as well as the circumstances leading to his exit from the club.
Pjanic was signed at Barcelona in the summer of 2020, with the midfielder arriving from Juventus as part of a deal that saw Arthur Melo move the other way.
However, the Bosnian international endured a difficult first year in Barça as then-manager Ronald Koeman hardly used the midfielder. Having featured rarely, the veteran star left for Besiktas on loan in 2021 and spent the last season in Turkey.
On returning, Pjanic, to the surprise of many, was kept around by current manager Xavi Hernandez, who viewed the midfielder as a backup for Sergio Busquets.
However, the club’s inability to sell Frenkie de Jong in the summer, coupled with the need to reduce the wage bill saw Barcelona part ways with Pjanic, as the midfielder joined Sharjah FC.
Now, he has opened up on the circumstances leading up to his exit, stating that it was not an easy decision for anyone involved.
“The decision to leave Barcelona was not easy, an extraordinary team with players and fans, everyone feels united,” he said.
“My exit was not easy for anyone, Xavi told me that he wanted me to stay and I did the full pre-season, I convinced Xavi that I had quality, but at the end of the first matches I could not show my value, at the beginning of the season I expected to play more.”
The midfielder elaborated that it was important for him to play regularly, which was not happening at Barcelona. “I was at the biggest club in the world but if I can’t do something I can’t be happy, I love to play,” he said.
Talking about his relationship with Xavi, Pjanic said: “It was exceptional, my relationship with him and the technical staff was perfect, the way he played and how he prepared matches was better than Koeman’s period, the team, as it is clear, has clear ideas and plans.”
Further discussing the difference between the training sessions under Koeman and Xavi, he added: “I was surprised by the training with Koeman, it was without intensity, without tactics and without ideas, we did not prepare well for the matches, but with Xavi it is different, the training is good.”
The former Barcelona ace also spoke highly of young midfield duo Pedri and Gavi, saying: “Pedri is an amazing player, I think Barca has an extraordinary midfield player for the next ten years. Gavi is very young and his quality speaks for itself on the pitch.”
Looking back at his time at the club, Pjanic lamented that he could not achieve more success as a Barcelona player.
“My great pain is that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do for Barça, my first season with Koeman I had a bad time and that’s why I left,” he said.