Xavi involved in clash with Barcelona legend over his future at the club

Barcelona head coach Xavi has told Gerard Pique he is not in his first team plans next campaign and has encouraged him to leave the club, although the defender is keen to stay where he is.

The 35-year-old remains under contract until 2024 and Spanish publication SPORT claim that Barcelona owe him around €40m (£34.6m) in deferred payments.

Nevertheless, Xavi has told the central defender that he is no longer needed and has suggested leaving this summer, leaving some of the money he is owed on the table.

It is not, reportedly, a financial decision, with the Barca manager worried about Pique’s ability to stay fit for a whole season and that he is distracted with a number of business interests.

The former Manchester United defender does not want to leave and has moved to reassure his manager than he can stay fit and remain focused on the club, but Xavi is still unconvinced.

Player and the La Liga club appear to be at a stalemate, though, with Pique refusing to be forced out and SPORT rate his chances of staying this campaign at 99 per cent.

The Spain international remained a vital part of the team last season, playing 40 matches in all competitions and scoring three goals.

But, Xavi wants to replace him with a younger model, with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde mooted as a potential replacement for Pique, although Chelsea are also keen on the Frenchman.

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