Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez said he is focused on his role as manager of Qatari outfit Al Sadd, amid speculation that he could succeed Dutchman Ronald Koeman at his former club.
LaLiga side Barcelona sacked Koeman after a defeat by Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday and have since appointed "B" team coach Sergi Barjuan as interim manager.
Barca president Joan Laporta indicated on Friday that talks with the 41-year-old Xavi, who enjoyed a trophy-laden 17-year spell at the club, had advanced but no agreement had yet been reached.
"I'm currently focused on my work with Al Sadd and I cannot talk about anything else," Xavi, whose side are preparing for a Qatar Stars League game against Al Ahli on Saturday, told a news conference on Friday.
In May, Xavi signed a contract to extend his stay in charge of Al Sadd for another two years.
He turned down the chance to coach Barcelona in January 2020 after Ernesto Valverde was dismissed, but was linked with the top job at the Camp Nou, even after Koeman succeeded Quique Setien.
"In response to what is circulating recently, the #AlSadd management reaffirms that Xavi has a two-year contract with the club," Al Sadd tweeted https://twitter.com/AlsaddSC/status/1454180156105494533. He "is fully focused on the team's upcoming matches, to maintain our lead at the top of the league and to defend the title."
Barcelona are ninth in LaLiga with 15 points from 10 games, nine points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad, and trailing second-placed Real Madrid by six points. They host Alaves later on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)