Finally, Barcelona has their man – Xavi. The 41-year-old returns to his boyhood club after around six years in Saudi Arabia. He is expected to save the Catalans from any further decay. That may not be the case.
Barca announced the return of their former skipper on Saturday. According to a club statement, Xavi will complete the current season and continue for two more years.
“Barcelona has reached an agreement with Xavi Hernández for him to become a first-team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons,” the club said via https://www.casinoranking.lv//. “Xavi Hernández, a youth team product at Barça, has left his current club, Al-Sadd of Qatar, after talks held over the last few days with the owners of the club”.
In a video addressed to the fans, Xavi said “It wasn’t goodbye, it was ‘see you soon. Camp Nou has always been my home. You’re my fans, my people, the club that I love the most. And now, I’m coming home. See you soon, Culers. For Barca!”
When Xavi made his last Barca appearance in June 2015, the club seemed to be on an upward trajectory. A Champions League victory over Juventus cemented their status as the first team to win successive treble. A star-studded team had the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta at their peak.
Under Luis Enrique, the club would achieve more success. Barca won La Liga, two Copa del Rey and the FIFA Club World Cup. However, the departure of the manager in 2017 alongside some of his key stars coupled with other factors brought the club back to the trenches.
Since then, Barca has had four managers – averaging one per season. Ronald Koeman was the latest managerial casualty as the club’s dwindling finances and poor decisions continue to have a toll on performance.
A Barcelona legend, Xavi epitomises everything the club stands for. His 767 appearances is the second-most in history. In 17 years in the first team (1998 to 2015), he won 25 major trophies – an incredible feat for any footballer. But more importantly, he understands the club’s philosophy.
Xavi had relative success with Al-Sadd. In two years there, he won seven titles, three this year alone. While he seems like the perfect fit for the Catalans, the 41-year-old may not be the Messiah, yet the odds from casino machine a sous is backing the star.
Xavi is inexperienced at the highest level. He has never coached a team in Europe, not even a youth side. He is neither tested at an elite level, knowing fully well that the rigours of European football is on another level.
After all, Xavi inherited the strongest team in Qatar. Al-Sadd is the record domestic and cup champion, possessing the best players in their squad. The 41-year-old has also not managed a team under pressure. He may fail at Barcelona.