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Barcelona president reveals he wants Xavi to continue coaching: ‘I already told him’

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Xavi may have come under severe pressure for the team’s poor start to the season, but it is hard to deny the fact that he has made a tangible difference in his tenure as manager.

Taking over a team in disarray from Ronald Koeman, he single-handedly turned around Barcelona’s 2021-22 season to give the team a respectable second-place finish before leading them to the league title last season.

Constant pressure from the media and sub-par performances from the team, however, pressurized Xavi into announcing his departure from the club at the end of the season.

Barcelona have been on the look for a new coach ever since, but talks have cooled down in recent weeks with a lingering hope that the Spanish tactician may come around.

Speaking in an elaborate interview with Mundo Deportivo, FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta came out publicly to back Xavi and even call for his continuity beyond this season.

“I would like Xavi to stay,” is the quote from Laporta’s presser that stole the headlines, but the president went on to speak in detail about what he valued about the manager and why he favoured his continuity.

On Xavi’s future

Speaking about the manager’s decision to leave at the end of the season, Laporta insisted that while he respected the legend’s decision, he was hoping the situation would turn around.

“I would like Xavi to stay. But I’ll say one thing, we are not talking about it. I’ve already told him that all coaches want to come to Barça, at least I’m receiving proposals from everywhere.”

“I’ve told Xavi that we respect the fact that he will stay until the end of the season. It was his decision,” he added.

Laporta unveiling Xavi as Barcelona coach. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Further commenting on Xavi’s future and the chance the Spanish tactician stays for another season, Laporta refused to provide any guarantee.

“Xavi already knows that I would like him to continue. I have already told him that. I asked him if there was any way he could change his mind, but I saw him under a lot of pressure, I could see it in his expressions.”

“He keeps saying he wants to leave at the end of the season, but we’ll see. Let’s not put that pressure on ourselves right now, right now everything is working,” he added.

On the team’s turnaround

Barcelona have been on a hot streak since Xavi announced his departure. While correlation may not imply causation, the players have indeed stepped up for their coach at a time of turmoil.

Coming off special wins over Napoli and Atletico Madrid before the international break puts the team in a good position ahead of the business end of the season, and Laporta agreed that the team is getting better.

“I’ve told Xavi that we are doing well, we are getting better and better. Look, since Xavi announced his departure, we’ve won again and we’re winking at each other as if to say that something can happen here.”

“This is how it is going, it’s going better and the objectives are being achieved,” he added.

On Xavi’s faith in La Masia

The Barcelona president then went on to heap praise on the manager for his confidence in La Masia which has paved the way for innumerable young stars to play for the first team.

“This is one of the positive aspects about Xavi as a coach. He will be remembered for this and hopefully more. He has had the courage. Xavi comes from La Masia and he always says one thing: ‘La Masia never lets you down’.”

“He refers not only to talent but to what you have to give in a game. Lamine, Fermín, Cubarsí, Fort, Balde, Gavi, Pedri or Araujo,” he added, citing the names of players who have flourished under Xavi.

pau cubarsi barcelona
Xavi’s latest La Masia discovery Pau Cubarsi. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Laporta went on to explain how the manager took special care of every minute given to young players after a thorough reading of the situation. Through the example of Marc Casado, Laporta said,

“The other day Xavi gave the debut in the league to Casadó, who had already been called up for many games. Xavi has to be recognised that nothing is improvised. Xavi told us that he would make Casadó play at the right time.”

“And against Atlético, Casadó came on for a few minutes and gave the level that was expected of him. Xavi has studied and planned everything very carefully. It comes from his personal experience to decide when a player should come on,” he concluded on Xavi’s knack with talents.

On a replacement

With Xavi’s future away from Barcelona as it stands, Laporta went on to address what he expected of a new manager should the club be forced to make a new hiring.

“If Xavi leaves, what profile do we want for the coach position? We are very clear about that here. The coach who comes in will have to adapt to our structure. That’s how Barça has to work.”

“It can’t be that every time a coach comes in, the structure changes and that will be a fundamental premise. Barça is above coaches, players, presidents and directors,” he added, emphasising that there would be no change in philosophy.

Finally, he concluded that any new manager must have a style that sits harmoniously with the skillsets Barcelona currently possess, saying,

“Beyond the fact that the new coach will have his own footballing ideas, which must fit in with the footballing idea that we have, this genuine way of playing that Barça has, which we think is the best way to compete and win.”

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