Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has denied touting Dele Alli for Manchester City, claiming he never spoke to a UK newspaper nor mentioned the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder.
The Sun published what it claimed were exclusive quotes from Xavi on Tuesday which suggesting that he had spoken to his former Barcelona teammate and manager Pep Guardiola, now in charge of City, who would be interested in signing Spurs’ Alli.
However, Xavi — who now plays in Doha for Al-Sadd — told Barcelona-based newspaper Sport that he “never” spoke to The Sun, and “neither” has he ever publicly discussed Alli.
The quotes prompted a strong response from Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino later on Tuesday, who half-jokingly described Xavi as his “enemy” and accused the Spain legend of trying to help City and disrupt Tottenham’s end to the season when the quotes were put to him.
Former Espanyol manager Pochettino told reporters: “[Xavi’s] in a period when he loves to talk, he’s in Doha and — listen — he was a Barcelona player, he’s my enemy. He tried to destroy our focus to win because he hates me because he’s Barcelona — a player, a fan, you know.”
Pochettino added that he had not trusted “cheater” Xavi since he dived to win a decisive penalty in Barcelona’s 1-0 win over his Espanyol team in 2009.
City manager Guardiola will address the media on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Thursday’s derby against Manchester United.