Luis Suarez has warned his former team-mate Xavi Hernandez to resist the temptation of taking the Barcelona job, saying ‘there is a war that hurts the players’ raging at the Nou Camp.
With Ronald Koeman’s job hanging by a thread following a disastrous start to the season, Barcelona legend Xavi is one of the names in the frame to take over.
The former Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo and Belgium manager Roberto Martinez have also been mooted as potential successors.
Barcelona lost 3-0 to Benfica in their second Champions League group match on Wednesday night having also lost their opener to Bayern Munich by the same scoreline.
Though Koeman’s side are unbeaten in LaLiga after six games, they have won only three and dropped points to Cadiz and Granada.
Uruguayan striker Suarez, 34, was deemed surplus to requirements by Koeman in the summer of 2020 but went on to inspire his new club Atletico Madrid to the title.
He is still in touch with several members of the Barcelona squad and urged Xavi to be cautious because of the tension between Koeman and president Joan Laporta and other issues behind the scenes.
He told Diario Sport: ‘At Barca, there is a war that hurts the players. I personally recommend to Xavi that he waits. This is not the ideal time to go to the club.
‘He is intelligent and know the difficulties of the club and he must wait for the right moment.’
Xavi currently coaches Al Sadd in the Qatari Stars League, the club where he finished his playing career after he left Barcelona in 2015. He guided the club to the league title in 2020-21.
In the wake of Wednesday’s humiliating loss in Portugal, Catalunya Radio linked Pirlo to the job, saying Laporta was an admirer of the Italian.
Pirlo endured a nightmare rookie managerial campaign with Juventus last year in which they finished only fourth in Serie A.
Despite this, reports suggest he is well regarded in Barcelona and he would represent a cheaper hire than either Xavi or Martinez because is is currently a free agent.
Suarez, meanwhile, will aim to inflict further misery on his old club when Atletico host them on Saturday evening.