Iniesta urges club to respect Valverde amid 'ugly' saga

Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Barcelona amid apparent attempts to appoint Xavi and club legend Andres Iniesta wants respect for his former coach.

Barca has not confirmed the stories, but it does not sit easy with Iniesta (left), who spent a season playing under Valverde at Camp Nou.   -  Getty Images

Andres Iniesta has urged Barcelona to show more respect to head coach Ernesto Valverde following "ugly" reports it i attempting to line up club legend Xavi as his replacement.

Barca is on course for a third successive La Liga title and remain in the Champions League, but Valverde is under increasing pressure.

Following the 3-2 Supercopa de Espana semifinal defeat to Atletico Madrid in Jeddah, reports of the board's apparent frustrations with Valverde have escalated.

ALSO READ | Valverde admits Supercopa blow will fuel talk about his Barcelona future

Strong speculation has claimed club directors used the trip to Saudi Arabia to open talks with Xavi regarding the possibility of replacing Valverde, but the 39-year-old – who is in charge of Qatari club Al Sadd – is said to have told them he is only willing to take over at the end of the season.

Barca has not confirmed the stories, but it does not sit easy with Iniesta, who spent a season playing under Valverde at Camp Nou.

"What comes to my mind a little, if all this is so, is that the way everything is being done is a bit ugly," he told Onda Cero.

ALSO READ | Xavi decides against taking Barcelona job immediately, claim sources

"I think that there should always be respect for the coach. The boss' situation and position has been left very weakened.

"My relationship with the boss is very good. During the year we have been talking sometimes. Really, beyond whether we like the coach or not, I think the situation is not pleasant for anyone: the coach, the team or the fans."

The Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino have been mentioned as potential alternatives to Xavi if he decides he is not ready to return to Barca.

But Iniesta opted against outright backing anyone, suggesting Xavi and Koeman have positives and drawbacks.

ALSO READ | Xavi to Barcelona: Returning heroes - the hits and misses

"There is a case for everyone," Iniesta added. "In the case of Pep Guardiola, who was at Barca B and then he took over the first team, the one who knows [the team and club] best is Xavi.

"He will have analysed all the variables that there can be and let's see what happens, but Koeman has a lot of experience as a coach and Xavi is starting out now.

"But a lot of times, experience counts for nothing. Both of them have been at Barca and know the club."

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