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‘Xavi likes him a lot’ – Belmadi reacts to Barca links with Algerian goal machine

Baghdad Bounedjah
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The Algeria manager offered his views of reports linking Baghdad Bounedjah with a move to FC Barcelona.

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Djamel Belmadi has said new Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez likes Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah a lot.

Bounedjah worked under Xavi during the Catalan’s two-year spell in charge of Al Sadd. In their time together, he supplied 62 goals and 25 assists in only 75 appearances on route to seven trophies. They also played alongside each other in Qatar before the manager hung up his boots

With Xavi now back at Barcelona, reports have suggested Bounedjah could follow his old boss to Camp Nou.

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Could Baghdad join Barcelona?

“Baghdad is doing extraordinary things. Baghdad in Barcelona, what do you want me to tell you? Xavi knows better than I… maybe he thinks Baghdad is the first or second choice,” Belmadi told TSA Algerie.

“It can be a surprise for others and not for him, since he knows him. He knows how to compare with the squad there is at the moment in Barcelona. God only knows, that would be an extraordinary thing.”

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‘Xavi likes him a lot’

The Alegria boss added: “The current Barca is not the Barcelona of [Lionel] Messi, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta. In our timing, I don’t know if Xavi has in mind to bring him back to Barcelona, but I know he likes him a lot.

“I know he could bring any center forward back to Al-Sadd. They have unlimited resources, but it wasn’t even a dream. Out of all the foreigners they have, number 1 is still Baghdad.

“Xavi appreciates the player, he played with him, he knows his qualities and he knows how to compare with the players with whom he has evolved.”

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Bounedjah, who famously scored the match-winning goal in Algeria’s 2019 AFCON final victory over Senegal, is under contract at Al Sadd until June 2024.

The 29-year-old is currently preparing for a World Cup qualifier against Djibouti on Friday.