Xavi was denied access to the United States ahead of Barcelona’s pre-season tour of the country
Barcelona boss Xavi was turned away by immigration officials from entering the United States ahead of his team’s 17-day pre-season tour of the country, reportedly due to him having visited Iran on several occasions while representing his former club Al Sadd.
The club jetted off to Florida ahead of a friendly game with David Beckham’s Inter Miami on July 20, with further fixtures planned against Real Madrid, Juventus and New York Red Bulls – but their plans have hit a snag after Xavi was turned away by immigration officials after the club failed to secure the correct documentation.
Xavi’s three visits to Iran in the past five years is understood to have raised the red flag with US Immigration, and he will now have to source extra documentation to explain his repeated visits to the Middle Eastern country which has for a long time had poor international relations with the United States.
It was reported by the Mirror that the relevant documentation was not presented as required ahead of Saturday’s flight and that club officials are attempting to make further arrangements so Xavi can fly out to join his team on Monday.
He is understood to have remained in Catalonia until the bureaucratic red tape can be resolved.
Xavi is the third high profile sports star to have been denied entry to the United States in recent weeks, following reports that Tyson Fury was refused approval by immigration officials on two occasions recently – reportedly due to his ties to alleged mobster Daniel Kinahan.
Fury’s younger brother Tommy was also denied access to the country, forcing the cancellation of his scheduled fight with Jake Paul.
Xavi’s woes, though, are understood to be fixable and it is expected that he will fly out on the eve of Barcelona’s Tuesday fixture with Inter Miami.
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Barcelona on Saturday confirmed the signing of Polish marksman Robert Lewandowski from German side Bayern Munich in the club’s latest piece of transfer business as they ready themselves to mount a challenge to arch-rivals Real Madrid at the summit of La Liga.
The club had already confirmed the free transfer arrivals of Andreas Christensen from Chelsea and ex-Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, while Raphina also joined in a big-money deal from Premiership side Leeds United.
Meanwhile, Manchester City trio John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden were also refused entry to the United States ahead of their pre-season tour. No reason was given by the club.
This comes days after it was confirmed that Chelsea duo N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were also denied by US immigration, reportedly due to not being vaccinated against Covid-19.