Xavi’s Revolution is in Full Swing at Barcelona
FC Barcelona legend Xavi Hernández took over as manager from Ronald Koeman this past fall, following the Dutchman’s sacking in October. Koeman left the post after a slew of poor results and performances on the pitch, which culminated in a fragmented dressing room and discontent amongst the fanbase. In five short months, Xavi has rejuvenated the club by unifying the current squad and bringing in proven talent that improves the team for now and in the future.
This new managerial direction comes at a perfect time. Over the past fourteen months, Barcelona have been in a period of transition. In January 2021, their president resigned, which was followed by a complete change in leadership on the board level. This change in direction at the top coincided with the departure of Lionel Messi to Paris Saint Germain during the summer transfer window. Messi is widely considered Barcelona’s greatest ever player and arguably the greatest player of all time. Any team would miss a player of his caliber as he’s irreplaceable, but this paved the way for Barca to evolve. The club is entering a new era both on and off the pitch, and it appears Xavi is the final piece of this jigsaw puzzle. New President Joan Laporta deemed Xavi to be the right man to take the club forward, and recent results indicate that he’s made the right managerial decision.
Where Xavi is particularly thriving is in the recruiting department. After being in the job for two months, Xavi and the club looked to strengthen the squad during the January transfer window. The first player recruited to the new project was Dani Alves, one of the greatest and most decorated wingbacks of all time whose currently in the twilight of his career. The Brazilian previously played for Barcelona during one of the club’s most successful periods between 2008-2016. The second player that Xavi convinced to join was Ferran Torres, a top attacking Spanish talent who transferred from Manchester City. The third player who joined in January was Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, a prolific forward who arrived from Arsenal. All three players have already made sizable contributions to the team, especially Aubameyang, who now has ten goal contributions in eleven matches played thus far. This blend of youth and experience in recruitment is a very strategic move by the Spanish coach.
Over the last twelve games in all competitions, Xavi has led Barcelona to nine wins, three draws, and zero losses. During that span, the club has scored thirty goals and conceded ten. This fantastic run of form was most recently extended at Real Madrid‘s stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu, where Barcelona beat the current league leaders 4-0.
Barcelona is now one of the most in-form teams in Europe. They’re heating up at one of the most critical times of the season and look poised to finish in a Champions League position. Xavi has played a crucial role in the club’s ability to stabilize and excel during a chaotic period. It will be interesting to see how the club will continue to build on this progress after this season.
Image from supersport.com