Xavi Hernandez has admitted he was close to leaving Barcelona for Bayern Munich in 2008, ‘but then we appointed Pep Guardiola…’
The former Barca midfielder eventually departed Camp Nou in the summer of 2015 but told Marca that he could have gone to Germany a full seven years earlier.
“At Euro 2008, I was told the club wanted to sell me. Real Madrid were winning and us, nothing,” he recalled.
“I go to the national team knowing that if a good offer comes in, the club will sell me. I spoke to my agent and there was an offer from Bayern. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wanted me.
“But then we hired Guardiola and I had a great tournament. Pep told me not to move, that he couldn’t imagine the team without me, and I’ll enjoy it. I was captivated.”
Xavi elaborated on the situation at Barca around that time, when the days of success under Frank Rijkaard were coming to an end.
“I played all but one game, which was against Murcia, when I came on and scored late on,” he continued.
“But it’s funny, if you Google it you’ll find a lot of ‘Rijkaard didn’t trust Xavi.’ No! What happened was the dynamic of the environment was negative.
“Everyone wanted us to have a strong double-pivot midfield. They wanted it like the French, with Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele. They didn’t want us, small and technical.”