Barcelona boss Xavi vouches for ‘very good person’ Sheikh Jassim to do ‘good job’ at Man Utd
Barcelona boss Xavi believes potential Manchester United owner Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani would do a “good job” at Old Trafford.
Last Friday, the Qatari banker confirmed he had made an offer to buy the Red Devils as the Glazer family consider selling the club.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe has also made a bid to buy United, who are preparing for Thursday’s crunch Europa League knockout play-off second leg against Barcelona.
Xavi ended his playing career in Qatar playing for Al Sadd between 2015 and 2019, then took his first steps in management at the Doha club before taking over at Barcelona two years ago.
The Barca boss was asked for his thoughts on state-owned clubs in the wake of Sheikh Jassim’s offer for United. He said: “It’s the rule of the offer.
“I have a good relationship with the Sheikh and he’s a serious, responsible person and I think he would do a good job.”
Pushed on those comments, Xavi – who said he knew Sheikh Jassim from his time in Qatar – said: “I know him so well. I think he’s a very good person with responsibility, serious.
“I think it would be a very good option for United.”
Meanwhile, United defender Raphael Varane says he is confident his side can take the “next step” under Erik ten Hag by beating Barcelona.
The 2018 World Cup winner joined the Old Trafford giants in the summer of 2021 alongside Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the campaign that followed was one to forget for all connected to the club.
United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and floundered under caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick as they stumbled home sixth in the Premier League – a wretched situation that Ten Hag has rapidly turned around.
The former Ajax boss has improved the culture and quality at Old Trafford, meaning the club are still fighting on all four fronts as they prepare to host Barca in the Europa League knockout play-off on Thursday.
“I think in the last month we grow a lot,” Varane said. “We are playing with more confidence and tomorrow the atmosphere will be electric, so we have to manage our emotions and stay calm and believe.
“I think we improved a lot already as a team and the next step is to beat teams like Barcelona. It’s a great, great challenge for us and a great opportunity.”
Asked about the difference between this season and last campaign, Varane said: “I think first of all it’s the confidence and secondly I think it’s the discipline.
“I think tactically we are following exactly the rules and we know exactly how we want to play, how we want to manage the game.
“The quality is in the squad and I think with a little bit more experience and mentality of competition and winning mentality we already improved a lot.
“That is maybe the difference between this season and the last season.”
United’s confidence was clear last Thursday at the Nou Camp, where Ten Hag’s men impressed in a 2-2 draw that could easily have been a victory.
“I think the first game against Barcelona was a very good game, top level – two offensive teams who want to press high on the pitch,” former Real Madrid defender Varane said of the first leg.
“The level was very good and it was a good result for us. Obviously in the first half we could maybe score more goals but in general we played with character and personality on the pitch, which was very important.
“I think for the second game we know exactly how we want to play. We want to play with passion, discipline on the pitch and belief.
“I think we have a good team and we are ready for that challenge.”
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