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Xavi tells Braithwaite, Puig, Umtiti, and Mingueza they are not in Barcelona’s plans next season

Barcelona head coach Xavi has told four players — Martin Braithwaite, Riqui Puig, Samuel Umtiti, and Oscar Mingueza — that they are not in his plans for next season.

Xavi insisted that he had spoken to the quartet early to allow them to have enough time to arrange their future, and that he felt “emotional” about the conversation.

He also revealed that he had held similar conversations with a handful of other players, but declined to name them.

“I feel bad for some, but I have to make decisions,” he declared on Saturday morning. “They would have very few opportunities, I don’t want them to be bitter. It will be hard for them to play and they will be happier at other very important clubs. It’s the reality and the decision is to say these things.”

In response to a question, he then confirmed that Braithwaite, Puig, Umtiti, and Mingueza were among the players spoken to.

“It was important to talk with them, so they have enough time,” Xavi said. “We have to be honest, speak to their face and let them know the club’s intentions.

“They took it with a very good disposition, they made me get emotional, giving me thanks. It was very good, that’s the truth.”

Having been appointed as Barcelona boss in November after Ronald Koeman was sacked, Xavi has led the team to second in La Liga, with the Catalan club looking as if they might miss out on Champions League qualification at one stage. With their European place secure, Xavi can now reshape the squad in his image.

Puig, 22, and Mingueza, 23, are both products of the club’s La Masia academy.

Once rated as the future of Barcelona’s midfield, Puig has seen opportunities dwindle due to the emergence of Pedri, Gavi, and Nico Gonzalez. Mingueza, a Spain international, has made 18 La Liga appearances in defence this season, with most of his starts coming under Koeman.

Danish striker Braithwaite, 30, was signed from Leganes in 2020, but has since only scored five goals in 44 appearances.

Umtiti, 28, has suffered due to the emergence of Ronald Araujo, who has become Xavi’s favoured partner for Gerard Pique at the heart of the Barcelona defence.

Barcelona finish their season at home to Villarreal on Sunday evening.

(Photo: Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

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