A little under a year ago, Sergi Roberto was whistled off the pitch by Barcelona fans as they succumbed to a 0-3 defeat at home to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.
The La Masia graduate had been torn to shreds by the deadly duo of Leroy Sane and Alphonso Davies on the night and was greeted with boos and whistles from the home support.
Not long after, the 30-year-old picked up yet another injury which required him to undergo surgery. At this time, Roberto had less than a year left on his contract. And even though talks over a renewal had already been held with his agent, Josep Maria Orobitg, the club had decided not to go ahead with it.
But, at this crucial juncture, manager Xavi Hernandez intervened in the situation and convinced the club to do otherwise, reports Mundo Deportivo.
The 42-year-old club legend took over the reins of the club from Ronald Koeman in November last year, at which point Roberto had already been injured.
While he did make the bench for one game under the new management, Roberto soon decided to go under the knife to address his injury. The surgery meant that the versatile defender would not play a single minute of football for the remainder of the campaign.
Despite the situation being as it was, Xavi showed tremendous faith in Roberto and managed to convince the club to hand him a short-term extension.
The manager appealed to director Mateu Alemany that the 30-year-old can be a backup in four positions (three slots in midfield and at right-back). At the same time, he also communicated to the player that he needs to work hard and build himself back to become a key player for the team.
Eventually, Roberto signed a new one-year contract with Barça in June, extending his stay at the club until 2023. And slowly he is also starting to repay the faith shown in him by Xavi, having managed a goal and an assist already in just five games this season.
Roberto even captained the team in the most recent game against Viktoria Plzen, although he did come off at half-time with a knock. He has looked determined and purposeful in his performances so far and Xavi will hope that his former teammate will continue on the same path for the remainder of the season.