BARCELONA, Spain (AP)Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has missed his team’s flight for a preseason tour of the United States because of problems with his passport, the Spanish club said Saturday.
The club said that the coach ”will be able to (travel) in the coming days” and plans to join his team in Miami, where it will start its two-week American tour featuring preseason games against Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter Miami and the New York Red Bulls.
The club said that Xavi was unable to travel on the team flight on Saturday ”due to administrative reasons and his passport.”
Spanish sports papers AS, Mundo Deportivo and others reported that U.S. authorities asked Xavi for additional documentation because of three visits he had made to Iran when he was player for Qatari club Al-Sadd. Barcelona declined to comment to The Associated Press about the reports.
The U.S. government has no formal diplomatic relations with Iran, which it considers a state sponsor of terrorism.
Xavi played for Al-Sadd after leaving Barcelona in 2015 until his retirement as player in 2019. He then coached Al-Sadd until he returned as Barcelona’s coach in November.
Barcelona’s Twitter account posted videos of several of its players boarding an airplane at the Barcelona airport on Saturday.
Barcelona will play Inter Miami in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 19. It will then face fierce rival Madrid in Las Vegas on July 23, before playing Juventus in Dallas on July 26 and the NY Red Bulls in New Jersey on July 30.
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