Xavi leads Al Sadd to Qatar Cup triumph after declining Barcelona offer

By Sports Desk January 17, 2020

Xavi won his second trophy as a coach after leading Al Sadd to a 4-0 success over Al Duhail in the Qatar Cup final, days after turning down the Barcelona job.

Barca icon Xavi confirmed on Thursday that he had declined the opportunity to succeed Ernesto Valverde at Camp Nou.

Valverde was sacked on Monday, with former Real Betis and Las Palmas coach Quique Setien swiftly appointed.

Xavi claimed he turned Barca down because he believed it was "too soon" in his coaching career to take such a job, yet he will have done his credentials no harm with Friday's triumph.

Nam Tae-hee opened the scoring early on for Al Sadd, with Baghdad Bounedjah then doubling their tally after a mistake from Duhail's goalkeeper Amine Lecomte.

Bounedjah helped himself to a second before half-time, with Akram Afif's penalty completing the rout midway through the second half.

Friday's victory secured Xavi his second piece of silverware in charge of Al Sadd, who won the Qatari Super Cup in August last year.

Barca, meanwhile, kick-off the Setien era with a home match against Granada in LaLiga on Sunday.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Rustu Recber hospitalised with COVID-19 Coronavirus: Ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Rustu Recber hospitalised with COVID-19

    Turkey great Rustu Recber has been hospitalised after testing positive for coronavirus, his wife Isil has revealed.

    Goalkeeper Rustu spent much of his club career at Fenerbahce, including a loan stint with the Turkish Super Lig giants during a three-year stay at Barcelona.

    A star of the 2002 World Cup, Rustu played just seven times for Barca - all within the 2003-04 season - but retired aged 39 in 2012 with 120 international caps to his name.

    The 46-year-old's wife Isil posted on her Instagram page on Saturday to inform fans of her husband's diagnosis.

    "I would like to give you more positive news while sharing the truth in the most transparent way, but I'm sorry to say that my husband Rustu is hospitalised with the diagnosis of COVID-19," she wrote.

    "We are shocked by the rapid symptoms that developed suddenly when everything was normal. These are critical and difficult times.

    "May Allah give emergency relief to all patients, including my dear husband.

    "My only request is that people can be a little more conscientious and respectful in the process. In the tests we have done, my daughter and son were negative and only my husband was positive.

    "For this reason, we are at home while he's in hospital, and we are not allowed to see him. In fact, this is the most difficult part, not being able to be with him.

    "Allah is great and is entrusted to him and the Turkish doctors. I hope this will pass."

  • Coronavirus: UEFA president Ceferin concedes 2019-20 season could be lost Coronavirus: UEFA president Ceferin concedes 2019-20 season could be lost

    UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has acknowledged the 2019-20 season across Europe would likely be lost if football is unable to restart by the end of June.

    The 2019-20 season has been suspended indefinitely across most of Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Euro 2020 also pushed back to 2021.

    While leagues are hoping to restart between the end of April and the beginning of June, there is as yet no definite return date and Ceferin has conceded it may be impossible to finish the season at all.

    In that case, UEFA's president has suggested the campaign would have to be considered as null and void.

    "If we don't succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost," Ceferin told Italian publication La Repubblica.

    "There is a plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June.

    "There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs."

    Some matches on the continent, including Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund, were played behind closed doors earlier this month, and Ceferin stated playing games without fans in attendance may be the only solution in order to complete the season.

    "It's hard for me to imagine all the matches behind closed doors, but we still don't know whether we'll resume, with or without spectators," he said.

    "If there was no alternative, it would be better to finish the championships."

  • Coronavirus: LaLiga Fest raises €625k as Pique talks of 'invincible' unity Coronavirus: LaLiga Fest raises €625k as Pique talks of 'invincible' unity

    LaLiga Fest raised more than €625,000 on Saturday as Barcelona stalwart Gerard Pique spoke of the need for unity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Where Saturday nights would normally consist of fixtures in Spain's top flight, the live action was restricted to performances on an internet stream.

    A host of LaLiga stars - including Pique - addressed supporters, while musicians performed at the online festival.

    Fans were encouraged to donate to the Banco Santander Foundation, where the money would be used to buy medical equipment to combat COVID-19.

    There have been over 72,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Spain, with close to 6,000 deaths.

    The total raised ticked past €625,000 as the festival ended, although donations would continue to be welcomed until Sunday afternoon.

    Barca's Pique was the most high-profile star to address those watching, as he claimed players and supporters alike could be "invincible together".

    "Without training, at home and trying to stay in shape, it is not easy," the World Cup winner said. "We will get through it between all of us.

    "It is a difficult situation, but doing something like what LaLiga is doing makes us feel proud of the players and the fans.

    "It is something unique that means any LaLiga fan is able to contribute their grain of sand. I am very happy to be able to participate in such an initiative.

    "There is rivalry when we are on the field of play, but when people need us, we are united.

    "There will be a cost, it is difficult, we will have difficult times. Others will suffer it in person, but we have to make it through together. We are all invincible together."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.