It is a matter of when, not if, the legendary midfielder returns to Camp Nou, according to the man who led Barca during their greatest period

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes it is an inevitability that Xavi will one day coach Barcelona.

Guardiola made his name as a trainer at Camp Nou, where he took charge of the first team in 2008, marking the beginning of a golden era for the club that included a treble in his debut season.

Among the many iconic figures that Guardiola had at his disposal throughout his time in charge of Barca was Xavi, who spent 17 years in the first team as he established himself as one of the all-time greats of the Catalan giants.

After a glittering playing career, Xavi, who is considered to embody the tiki-taka philosophy synonymous with the club, spent four years playing with Al Sadd, where he has graduated to head coach of the Qatar Stars League side.

Guardiola believes that the former midfielder has simply taken the first step along a road that will inevitably lead back to the Spanish champions.

“Sooner or later it will happen,” he said of the 39-year-old in an interview with Catalunya Radio. “He is still very young, but it will happen. He understands football and has a lot of passion and dedication. He is brave and says things very clearly.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola has spoken of the hard work that he put in to get Barcelona firing when he first took charge.

“I had a great time,” he said. “Between matches there wasn’t much time to enjoy, but during the process of building the team I saw that the changes worked, and everything was flowing.

“I saw the behaviour amongst the players; the chemistry that grew and their respect for the shirt.

“It was interesting to know how they distributed wages, and everything was going well.”

Since voluntarily stepping down as Barca coach in 2012, Guardiola moved to Bayern Munich, where he enjoyed tremendous success in a three-year spell, and subsequently to his current post at the Etihad Stadium, where he has set a string of Premier League records with the Citizens, including the greatest points total in the top flight during the 2017-18 season.

He is under contract with City until 2021.

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