Xavi Hernandez denies New York link
Xavi Hernandez has dismissed speculation that he could be set to leave Barcelona for one of the two New York-based MLS clubs.
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On the cusp of his 700th senior competitive appearance for Barca, as well as his 34th birthday, Xavi has been linked with a summer move to either the new Manchester City-linked franchise New York City, or New York Red Bulls, where he could join up with his former Blaugrana teammate Thierry Henry.
Sources have told ESPN that the Red Bulls made an enquiry about the veteran midfielder, while Manchester City dismissed the link to their nascent Stateside venture as speculation.
However, the Spain international told Mundo Deportivo that he has not spoken to anyone about moving to the Big Apple.
“Nobody has made me any proposition,” he said. “I know nothing else about New York apart from that it is very cold there. Henry has not called me, nor have I spoken with him. I do not have his telephone number.”
The Catalan playmaker did, though, admit that he almost joined Bayern Munich in 2008, only for Pep Guardiola -- having just taken over as Barcelona coach -- to persuade him to stay at the Camp Nou.
“It was pretty serious,” Xavi said. “There was even a meeting with a Bayern coach and [FIFA agent Giovanni] Branchini. There was not time for anything. Pep grabbed me and said I could not go, that he had in mind for Barca to revolve around some certain players, including me, that I could not leave the club. And I was not wrong. It was another good decision, as my desire is to retire here at Barca.”
Xavi believes it is ironic now, with Guardiola having taken over as Bayern boss last summer after leaving Barca the year before.
"And who was going to say this,” Xavi said. “Now it is Pep who is at Bayern, these are the turns that football takes. It is incredible.”
Guardiola is the best tactical teacher he has ever had, Xavi added.
“He revolutionised Barcelonismo and world football,” he said. “He brought us to excellence through his demands. We played at an unsurpassable level. He is the coach with whom I have learned most tactically. He said to us, 'if you pay attention, we will win'. An interventionist. He anticipated everything.”