Xavi Hernandez said on Tuesday that his Barcelona club needs to rebuild after a difficult season, but he declined to say whether Robert Lewandowski was a transfer target.
The Catalan giants ended 13 points behind La Liga winners Real Madrid, with their season ending with a 2-0 home loss to Villarreal on Sunday.
In all competitions, Barcelona have lost four of their last nine games.
The following morning, they were on a plane to Australia for their first encounter, a friendly against an A-League All-Star team coached by former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and captained by former Manchester City defender Jack Rodwell.
Sergio Busquets, Dani Alves, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay, and teenage star Ansu Fati are among the 20 players Xavi has brought to Sydney.
Gerard Pique and Pedri, the young forward, were both absent.
“We need to improve a lot next season, we’ve improved a lot since November,” Barcelona midfield legend Xavi stated after being appointed in November with the squad in ninth place.
While he helped them resurrect and achieve their most crucial goal of qualifying for the Champions League, they were eliminated in the Europa League quarter-finals and the Copa del Rey last 16.
“I believe we are on the right track; we must remain optimistic.” But, at the at least, we need to fight and win the Champions League next season,” Xavi added.
“We’re putting together a new team.” Of course, we have a strategy, and we need to be competitive next season. We can’t go another season without winning a championship.”
Bayern Munich forward Lewandowski, who was the Bundesliga’s top scorer for the sixth consecutive season, has been linked with a move to Barcelona.
His agent, Pini Zahavi, informed German newspaper Bild this week that the striker wants to leave Bayern, with Barcelona apparently giving him 32 million euros ($34 million).
When approached by AFP, Xavi Hernandez refused to confirm his interest.
He stated, “I cannot confirm Lewandowski or any other names. Of course, we’re putting in the effort, and it’s clear that we need to improve.”
“It’s just a matter of time,” he said of the introduction of new players. “If we have to make an announcement, we will make it, but now is not the time.”
Barcelona squad for All Stars match: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ronald Araujo, Sergio Busquets (capt), Ousmane Dembele, Dani Alves, Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati, Adama Traore, Luuk de Jong, Jordi Alba, Frenkie de Jong, Samuel Umtiti, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gavi, Alejandro Balde, Alvaro Sanz, Arnau Tenas, Mika Marmol, Jandro Orellana, Anontio Aranda.