Xavi Returns to F.C. Barcelona

Xavi Returns to F.C. Barcelona
Image © @Xavi Instagram
✍️ Written by
Izel Kohener
🗓 Updated
Aug 8th 2023

Xavi Returns to Barcelona as the New Head Coach

The Camp Nou legend Xavi Hernandez has been confirmed as Barcelona FC’s new Head Coach earlier this week after an agreement was reached to terminate his contract with Qatari side Al Sadd. Xavi has returned to Barcelona after 6 years and will succeed Ronald Koeman, another club legend, who was sacked last week due to teams struggles in LaLiga. An immense challenge is awaiting the legendary midfielder as he takes over the Spanish Giants at its lowest ebb in over a decade.

Xavi Passes up the Brazil National Team to Join Barcelona

After turning down Barcelona twice within the last 2 seasons, at last, the time and place was right for Xavi to return to his home club. Previously, he rejected a managerial role in 2020 due to not feeling ready and not trusting the previous administration under Bartomeu. The new president Laporta was able to convince Xavi to join the team to restore order. Xavi was determined to answer Barcelona’s call at a time of need and passed up an opportunity to join the Brazil National Team under manager Tite to head home.

Barcelona is Suffering Both Financially and Spiritually

The Catalan Side Xavi left as a player in 2015 is unrecognizable, both on and off the pitch, compared to the one he’s taking charge as a manager. Barcelona currently sits 9th in LaLiga, 11 points off the top, with only 1 win in their last 5 league games. They are also potentially in a risk of missing out on the knockout stages of the Champions League if they fail to beat Benfica on Nov 23rd after losing 2 of their 4 games in the group stages.

Spanish LaLiga Table 2021-22                           

       Club                   GP  Points     

1) Real Sociedad     13    28

2) Real Madrid         12    27

3) Atletico Madrid   12    27

4) Sevilla                  12    27

9) Barcelona            12    17

Hop on your favorite sports betting apps to see live odds for the upcoming LaLiga fixtures!

Barcelona’s disappointing performance this season was not a surprise to many as the club has been dealing with huge financial problems so severe that it forced club favorite Lionel Messi out of the door. Club’s current debt makes it difficult to invest in new players and maintain the accustomed skill standard.

The financial mismanagement, over the last couple of years, led Barcelona to betray their higher ideals with morally questioning sponsorship agreements and unseemly high transfer fees.

The line of Cruyffian Succession Re-Established?

Despite the current standings and Xavi’s relative lack of coaching experience, Barcelona fans are hopeful that he can draw on his incredible playing career to restore the clubs stature both in LaLiga and European Football. Comparisons already began with his former coach, with the anticipation that he will be the new heir of the infamous Pep Guardiola to continue the Cruyffian succession.

Xavi, similar to Pep Guardiola, came through the La Masia, Barcelona Academy and was a player when Guardiola took the charge at Barcelona in 2008. The legendary Spanish midfielder was one of the key minds behind Guardiola’s Barcelona and the heart of the Spanish National Team that won 3 International Championships between the years 2010-2016. Both teams displayed an incredible level of exhilarating style and precision that may never been seen again and Xavi was the embodiment of this model.

Can Xavi join the likes of Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane?

While managers like Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane creates a strong case for former players and club idols returning to their clubs as managers, there are many cases to support otherwise. Pep Guardiola’s success in Barcelona encouraged a lot of team owners to mimic the model and appoint former players as managers with the hope of creating a similar impact of the Spaniard. In some cases, like Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid who won 3 consecutive Champions League titles, this model has been proved incredibly successful. Unfortunately there are more cases to prove otherwise, with former football stars like Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Thierry Henry and Clarence Seedorf failing to shine as managers. The question is, which group will Xavi belong to?

Xavi’s Al Sadd Performance was Deemed Successful

Following his departure from Barcelona after 767 appearances, Xavi joined the Qatari side Al Sadd in 2015. He spent the past 6 years in Qatar as a player and then a manager after he ended his playing career in 2019. Although the level of competition he faced was far from what he will encounter in LaLiga, his performance as a manager in Al Sadd was extraordinary. He has attained an incredible 68% winning ratio after 91 games, averaging almost 3 goals scored per game and unbeaten in 36 games in the Qatar Stars League dating back to the previous season. In his short time in charge, Xavi has managed to win 7 trophies, including 1 League title.

The Future is Bright for Barcelona

Against all the negative agenda and administrative chaos, both the Barca fans and Xavi still has room for excitement. The current Barcelona squad has one of the best selections of young footballers in the world, including Ansu Fati, Pedri and Gavi. Xavi, a former youth team product of Barcelona, will have the opportunity to work with these high profile young players and attempt to help them reach their full-potential.

Besides the youngsters, Xavi will be overseeing some former team mates who are approaching to the final years of their careers. Gerrard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, who were previously Xavi’s team mates, are still playing a key role at the club.

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When is Xavi’s Debut as the Barcelona Coach?

Xavi will make his debut as Barcelona manager in a derby clash against Catalan rivals Espanyol on November 20th. The legend will make his return at Camp Nou, with thousands of Barcelona fans coming to watch him in action for the first time in his new role.

Xavi’s first game as the Barcelona manager is expected to be a difficult game as it’s a critical derby clash against their city neighbors Espanyol who are currently level with them in standings. Espanyol never finished above Barcelona in their history and they will be hoping to leverage their rivals bad form to get a head start early in the year.

The Barcelona fans are hoping that Xavi will make an immediate positive impact to end Barcelona’s disappointing outings in LaLiga by defeating their fierce rivals in Camp Nou.

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