It was only fitting that Barcelona secured their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League after a gruelling match at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.
After all, fans have suffered as much as the players over the past two years when the team suffered back-to-back group stage eliminations.
The scenes at the stadium after the full-time whistle were celebratory with fans finally seen with smiles decorating their faces. The dressing room, crowd, players, and administration were all ecstatic in equal measure, yet, one incident caught the light of the media.
Laporta and Xavi share a moment
As highlighted by Toni Juanmarti of SPORT, Barcelona president Joan Laporta shared a heartfelt hug with manager Xavi Hernandez after the final whistle on the night.
Laporta made his way to the Catalans’ dressing room after the win to celebrate and share the moment with the manager and his team.
The president’s gesture goes on to show that he fully trusts in Xavi for the project ahead.
Laporta, Deco, and Rafa Yuste have all publicly maintained that their faith in the manager is total, and in the process, have supported him through some difficult times.
This week, there were speculations that Laporta visiting the Barça Atletic dressing room after their game against Cornella was seen as his move to back Rafa Marquez as Xavi’s successor and put pressure on the latter.
Stepping stones to success
Despite enjoying a relatively strong start to the season, Barcelona’s performances on the field quickly fell off in the period that followed.
The devastating defeat in El Clasico only added salt to their wounds and triggered a further downfall in terms of results.
Barcelona’s win over Porto was the first time the Blaugranas displayed grit and character since the fateful night, and must be seen as the first of many stepping stones to success.
Xavi will hope his men keep up their form, for the two upcoming league clashes could make or break their bid to defend the league title.