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Jules Kounde: ‘Xavi convinced me to join Barcelona’

Jules Kounde: ‘Xavi convinced me to join Barcelona’

Jules Kounde has revealed that Barcelona boss Xavi played a key role in him deciding to make the move to Camp Nou over the summer despite interest from Chelsea.

The Premier League club were thought to be on the verge of bringing in the Frenchman, only for Barcelona to win the race to sign him from Sevilla at the final moment.

The centre-back was finally registered by Barcelona ahead of the league game with Real Valladolid on August 28, and he has impressed for the Catalan outfit early in the season, contributing three assists in five appearances.

Kounde has said that he spoke to ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel about the “project” at Stamford Bridge, but the 23-year-old “simply preferred Xavi’s speech”.

“I spoke to Tuchel, who gave me a speech and explained his project to me. I felt he wanted to convince me to join Chelsea. But I simply preferred Xavi’s speech when he called me and explained his project,” the defender told L’Equipe.

© Reuters

“Before signing for Barca I had a conversation with Xavi. We talked about football. I felt huge confidence. Xavi had a real knowledge of my game and my qualities. He knew me very well and I felt confident.

“When I spoke to Xavi for the first time, he told me that my qualities corresponded to his game plan. Starting plays from the back, making use of my speed and anticipation.

“Xavi told me that he wanted an aggressive team, he told me ‘We are one of the teams that press high, that run the most. I see you in my system’. And I also saw myself playing in that system. I saw myself in that team.

“I’m coming to Barca for a new project, but I wouldn’t call it a rebuilding project. We already have a competitive team.

“In the summer I was interested in being part of this new Barca team. I want to win titles and help Barca to be where they have always been, among the best clubs in the world.”

Barcelona boss Xavi on August 13, 2022© Reuters

Kounde has played as a right-back in all three of his La Liga appearances this season against Real Valladolid, Sevilla and Elche.

Meanwhile, he was also used in that area against Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week, with his only start as a centre-back coming against Viktoria Plzen on September 7.

However, the Frenchman has revealed that he prefers to play in the middle of the defence and is confident that he will soon secure a position in that area of the field.

“Playing as a right-back? I prefer to play as a centre-back. That’s why I chose Barca, because I know that most of the time I’ll be playing as a centre-back,” he added.

Kounde made 133 appearances for Sevilla during his time at Estadio Ramon, scoring nine goals and contributing three assists, winning the 2019-20 Europa League in the process.

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