Xavi's US visa issue is 'complicated situation', admits brother

Barcelona boss Xavi’s US visa issue is a ‘complicated situation’, admits brother and assistant coach Oscar Hernandez – who hopes a ‘solution’ can be found after Spaniard missed his side’s 6-0 thrashing of Inter Miami

  • Barcelona boss Xavi missed his flight to Miami ahead of pre-season tour
  • ‘Administrative and passport’ issues meant Spaniard was not allowed on plane
  • It meant 42-year-old missed his side’s 6-0 thrashing of Inter Miami on Tuesday
  • Xavi’s brother and No 2, Oscar Hernandez, admits the situation is ‘complicated’
  • Oscar Hernandez took charge of the game but hopes Xavi will be back soon

Barcelona assistant boss Oscar Hernandez has admitted that Xavi’s ongoing issues with obtaining a US visa to enter the States is a ‘complicated situation’, but is hoping for a quick solution.

Hernandez, who is also Xavi’s older brother, had to take charge of Barcelona’s pre-season friendly against Inter Miami in his absence, which saw the Catalan giants run riot with a 6-0 thrashing.

And while Barca’s assistant coach was happy with the performance, he hopes it’ll be his ‘first and last game’ in full charge of the first-team squad.

Xavi’s US visa issue is a ‘complicated situation’, admits his brother Oscar Hernandez (right)

‘Hopefully it will be my first and last game,’ Hernandez said. ‘The situation is complicated and is not easy for Xavi, but let’s hope a solution is found and tomorrow he can be with us.

‘We are very happy, because despite being a friendly, things have been seen. Those at the front have been very switched on and deploying mechanisms that we have worked on. We have to create competitiveness and that is how we will grow.’

Xavi is reportedly still unable to solve his visa problems that have stopped him from gaining entry to the United States. He missed the team flight to the US earlier this week with the Catalan side working on a special visa, having seen his original ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) application rejected. 

Hernandez, who is also Xavi’s assistant manager, oversaw Barcelona’s 6-0 win over Inter Miami

The issue stems from Xavi representing his former club Al Sadd several times in Iran and therefore he requires special permission to enter the US. Travel advice for the USA dictates that if, after March 1 of 2011, an individual has been to Iran or Iraq, they no longer qualify for an ESTA. 

The same issue crops up for those who have been to Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya or Somalia. 

It proved an embarrassing oversight for Barcelona ahead of their pre-season trip to the US and while they were confident of resolving it, Marca reported earlier this week that Xavi remains grounded in Spain. 

Hernandez, who was also an assistant under Xavi at Al-Sadd, will have to take charge of upcoming friendlies against Real Madrid, Juventus and New York Red Bulls if the issue still isn’t resolved.

Barcelona boss Xavi is reportedly still unable to resolve his visa issues to get into the USA

The Spaniard spent four seasons playing for Qatari club Al-Sadd – which causes entry issues

The reason why Hernandez has been permitted a visa and his brother hasn’t is due to the issue focusing on Xavi’s trips to Iran as a player with Al Sadd, rather than as a manager, which would have affected the rest of the coaching staff.

Barcelona absolutely tore through the MLS side in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, with new signing Raphinha shining on his debut. 

Raphinha, who signed for £55m from Leeds United earlier this month, first set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who opened the scoring in 19th minute. He then extended the lead himself six minutes later with a left-footed effort.

Teenage sensation Ansu Fati, who is slowly working his way back into form after a long injury lay-off, scored Barca’s third right before half-time following another pass from Raphinha.

Barca made wholesale changes to their team at the break, changing up all eleven players, but kept dominating and scored three more through Gavi, Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele. 

Barcelona’s new signing Raphinha made it a debut with a goal and two assists on Tuesday

Barca’s Memphis Depay, who has been linked with a move away, was also on the scoresheet

Ansu Fati also scored for the Catalan giants, netting Barcelona’s third goal of the evening

Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong also made an appearance in the second half, replacing new signing Franck Kessie in what was a strong Barcelona team for the friendly at the DRV PNK Stadium.

Watching on from the stands was Barcelona’s newest signing Robert Lewandowski, who completed his £42.5million move from Bayern Munich last week. 

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And while he didn’t get to play, Hernandez believes he will an influential addition going forward.

‘With his arrival we make a huge leap in quality, because he is a top player in the world,’ he said.

‘The club has made a great effort, but we needed a top player. In addition, he is a footballer with a lot of commitment.

Robert Lewandowski exchanges words with Gonzalo Higuain after the friendly on Tuesday 

‘For Xavi and the coaching staff it is a blessing to have so many forwards, because competitiveness is going to make the team grow.’

Hernandez also saved special mention for Ansu Fati, who added his name to the scoresheet against Phil Neville’s side.

‘It’s like a new signing and a signing at a very high level,’ the assistant said. ‘He’s growing a lot, physically he’s getting better and better and we’re very happy, because he’s a reference.’

It was Barca’s first of four games in their US pre-season tour that will continue on Saturday with a Clasico clash against bitter rivals Real Madrid in Las Vegas.




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