Legendary former Spain and Real Madrid manager Vicente del Bosque has given his backing to Xavi Hernandez to be a success as head coach at Barcelona, whenever his time comes.
Xavi has long been tipped for a return to Camp Nou - where he spent almost all of his playing career - and was a leading candidate to succeed Ernesto Valverde in January. However, it is reported that the four-time Champions League winner, who is currently in charge of Qatari side Al Sadd, turned down the role due to a mixture of factors including a poor relationship with incumbent Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Six months on, as Barcelona ended the domestic season second - behind fierce rivals Real Madrid for only the third time in ten years - new manager Quique Setien's future hangs in the balance.
Speaking to 90min ES, Del Bosque, who coached Xavi during Spain's 2010 World Cup win, backed the former playmaker to enter the dugout at Camp Nou some day - and succeed, too.
"Of course he can be [Barcelona manager]," Del Bosque said. "In all our time as players, some demonstrate a desire to become a coach and he is one.
"The time will come when he will be the ideal man for Barcelona, I have no doubt that he will be and hopefully he will do very well.
"For the Spanish team he has been a hero and also marked the team's style of play. If you have done it from the inside, you can also do it from the outside."
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview, Del Bosque also touched on his favourites for the upcoming summer conclusion of the 2019/20 Champions League - a competition he himself won at Madrid in 2000 and 2002. Unsurprisingly, the 69-year-old gave his backing to the three remaining Spanish sides.
He said: "Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid have managed to maintain hegemony in the last ten years in European football, so it would not surprise me if one of the three becomes the champion."
On Atlético Madrid's shock win over holders Liverpool, he added: "Nothing is surprising. What 'Cholo' is doing at Atlético is very difficult to match.
"So many years, maintaining a competitive spirit, playing well and winning, which is what it's all about."
Read the full interview on 90min ES.