The Xavi Era in Barcelona: A Start With Ups and Downs

The historic Catalan footballer took over as Culé coach at the beginning of last November and has had more than one difficulty in this period.

Xavi Hernández directing FC Barcelona

The departure of Lionel Messi, the economic crisis and the dismissal of Ronald Koeman have meant very hard blows for a Barcelona that knew how to be one of the best teams of the last decade. Photo: Miguel Ruiz - FC Barcelona

Nicolás Donoso Álvarez

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Leer en español: La era Xavi en Barcelona: un inicio con altos y bajos

The departure of Lionel Messi, the economic crisis and the dismissal of Ronald Koeman have meant very hard blows for a Barcelona that knew how to be one of the best teams of the last decade with many of the best footballers in the world. In the opportunity to revive and start again, the club decided to bet on the signing of Xavi Hernández, a historical idol of the club who, at 41, is living his second experience in his emerging career as a technical director.

Xavi spent his last years at Al Sadd in Qatar, where he was first as a player. In 102 directed matches he achieved 67 wins, 17 draws and 18 defeats, achieving a 65.7% performance and 4 local titles.

His arrival in Barcelona has not been easy, since in nine official commitments he has had a mixture of positive and negative results, with 4 wins, 2 draws, and 3 falls. With some instability in the local competition and with a painful elimination in the Champions League, Xavi's Barcelona is in a process of reinvestment and reconstruction.



A roller coaster of results

Although it is still premature to make a finished diagnosis, Xavi's start in this new stage as Barcelona's technical director has been irregular. He made his debut on November 20 with a victory by the smallest difference against Espanyol in the Catalan derby, but then obtained good results such as the victory against Villareal. Likewise, he had defeats such as the fall against Real Betis as a local or the win against Bayern Munich that ended up eliminating Barcelona in the group stage of the Champions League, a competition in which Barcelona was not left out in this instance more than two decades ago.

Also read: The Dark Side of the Qatar World Cup 2022

That was a very difficult blow to assimilate for a team that, until not long ago, was used to being the protagonist in all the competitions it played, which implied that its presence in the next round of the Champions League was practically certain. Well, currently nothing can be taken for granted with a painting that goes through one of the most difficult moments in recent years.

The retirement of Kun Aguero, a very hard blow

At the age of 33, in his first season as a Barcelona footballer and with just minutes played, Sergio Agüero hit the world of football and Xavi, who was counting on him for this entire process. The Argentine announced his retirement from professional activity after retiring with discomfort in the Barcelona game against Alavés. Days later, it was confirmed that he had an arrhythmia that, initially, would leave him on sick leave for three months. However, he later announced that he must quit football due to heart problems.

His retirement meant for Xavi, for example, having to play in the last league games with the young Ferran Jutglá as center forward in the absence of Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong, and hinting that Barcelona will need a new forward who can replace Kun since the club suffers from a specialist in this position and at times it is difficult for him to convert the chances that are generated.

Mix of experience and youth on campus

Something that Xavi has started to bet on is the quarry, either out of necessity or conviction, the truth is that the DT has given prominence to players like Gavi, Nicolás Gonzáles, Jutglá, Ezzalzouli, and Alejandro Baldé, adding to this "youth patrol" to other talents who had already had minutes since last years such as Riqui Puig and Ronald Araújo. And he hopes to be able to count on Ansu Fati and Pedri, two of the most promising young footballers in the world and who are currently in recovery processes and with their brand new and recent signing, Ferrán Torres, who arrived from Manchester City.

All this youth has been joined by the presence of iconic players of the club such as Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Marc André ter Stegen , who hope to be of support to promote and facilitate the development of footballers. younger.

Doubts about the continuity of names like Memphis Depay, Ousmane Dembélé, Frenkie de Jong, Samuel Umtiti or Clément Lenglet probably have Xavi with more than one question, but knowing that this is a new process that begins and will take time to obtain results. positive, for the moment, that mix of experience and youth in the squad seems to be the most immediate solution for a coach who has returned to what was his home for most of his life.