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Three reasons why Xavi should consider staying at Barcelona

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Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Xavi Hernández’s era at Barcelona has been an adventure full of highs and lows, happy moments but also painful ones – a rollercoaster full of emotions.

The Spanish coach started the managerial job at Barcelona on November 6, 2021, following Ronald Koeman’s departure.

Back then Xavi, with the few resources he had, showed that FC Barcelona could compete and that he was just a few signings away from making the step up.

Xavi’s Barcelona had very positive peaks in his first full season, of course, winning La Liga, the Spanish Super Cup, and having the best defense in Europe, but Barcelona did not seem to be on top of their performances overall.

The second full season came with higher expectations, but instead of improving, everything collapsed.

Injuries, lack of players in important positions, media pressure, predictable tactics – in short, an accumulation of things that brought Xavi’s Barca to a standstill.

It seemed that the Spanish manager lost the confidence of the players. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, in other words.

Xavi finally announced his departure from Barcelona at the end of the 2023/24 season on January 27, 2024, following the chaotic 3-5 defeat to Villarreal in La Liga, leaving Barcelona 10 points behind Real Madrid.

With this announcement, the club’s mindset has changed altogether.

On several occasions the four-time Champions League winner insisted that announcing his decision to leave was a positive thing for the club, considering that it liberated them from pressure. And he was not wrong.

The Blaugranas are unbeaten in 9 games in all competitions since that announcement, including a Champions League quarter-finals ticket.

It is clear that something has changed, and that time is proving him right.

Even though the Spanish coach has said that he will not change his mind -even if he wins the Champions League- Xavi should seriously think about staying beyond this season.

On January 27 the best decision for Barcelona and Xavi was the announcement of his departure, whereas now on March 12 the best decision is for him to stay.

And here are three reasons for that.

1. Players fight for Xavi

Fighting for every ball will be a battle only for the player who truly believes in a coach, and otherwise, if the players see the coach doubting and do not believe in him, it is an issue that cannot be easily fixed.

fc barcelona celebrate
Barcelona celebrating their Champions League quarter-finals qualification after eliminating Napoli 4-2 on aggregate. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Xavi currently has the best thing that can happen to any coach: players who believe in him. The club’s flight to success may be bumpy, but the players have shown most of the time that they believe in Xavi and his ideas.

Players who speak at press conferences appreciate the coach and are there ready as soldiers when they are called to war.

2. Xavi has been crucial with signings

It is no secret that Barcelona has not been at its best financially or sportingly in recent years.

In addition, many world-class players such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar Jr. have left.

When Xavi arrived, there were not many positive aspects at the club to motivate big stars to come to the Catalan club. But for Xavi it was not impossible – he made it happen.

Xavi played an important role in Lewandowski’s arrival. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

The Barcelona coach was key in all of the club’s signings, even when competing against economic titans in Europe such as Chelsea and PSG.

But Xavi’s words were worth more than millions of euros. Xavi was key in convincing players such as Jules Koundé, Robert Lewandowski, and João Cancelo.

He even convinced İlkay Gündogan, who left Manchester City’s treble-winning side to join Barcelona.

3. Xavi has not had a healthy team

Perhaps the most obvious reason, and which may not be entirely positive because it shows one of Xavi’s weaknesses in not being able to adapt his team to eventualities such as injuries.

de jong barcelona injury
De Jong getting carried of the pitch after getting injured on March 3 against Athletic Club. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Nevertheless, the Catalan club has not had one or two players injured, it has been almost all the players – something that rarely happens.

The reality is that Xavi has not had a consistent healthy team to grow, something that has generated many delays in applying his ideas on the field.

Conclusion

Now the million-dollar question. Would a new coach do better than Xavi?

Maybe yes, maybe not – we will only know when it happens. There are big names rumored to take over the managerial job at Barcelona; Hansi Flick, Roberto De Zerbi, or Thomas Tuchel.

But if you analyze the case of the Spanish coach by looking at the big picture, perhaps Xavi has not been so bad after all.

Does he have things to improve? Definitely. But he surely has been important for the improvement of the club – especially considering the circumstances he arrived in.

Xavi is a legend of the club, has been generous with his salary in the current situation, has already won titles, and has shown that a team with the available players can compete at a high level.

Whatever the future dictates, Xavi should sit down and think about staying.

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