La Liga: Xavi hoping to restore former Barca glories

06 November 2021 13:35:09 CET
Xavi has been confirmed as new Barca coach

Legendary midfielder Xavi has been confirmed as the new manager of Barcelona, penning a contract until 2024, as the club look to rebuild following a challenging start to the 2021-22 campaign.

Barca are 1/1 to beat Celta Vigo, who are 11/4 to win, with the draw 5/2, on Saturday, a match you can follow on our European Soccer Live Streaming Highlights.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are 12121/1 to win the Champions League - a competition Xavi won four times as a player with the club.

Barca dismissed another former player in Ronald Koeman at the end of October following a league defeat to Rayo Vallecano.

At the time the club had picked up only 15 points from 10 La Liga fixtures and had lost 3-0 to both Benfica and Bayern Munich in the group stage of the Champions League before edging Dynamo Kiev.

I'm coming home. See you soon.

Xavi

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Sergi Barjuan has since been in the interim manager's position for Barca, leading them to a 1-1 draw with Alaves and another 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev.

But the Catalan giants have now confirmed their new permanent appointment with Xavi set to be officially unveiled on Monday. He will be in charge for the rest of the 2021/22 season and has signed a deal covering two more campaigns afterwards.

Release clause met

Xavi has been manager at Qatari club Al Sadd for two years but his release clause was met by Barcelona this week, meaning he will leave his current side with immediate effect.

Following the news of his impending appointment as Barca boss, Xavi addressed fans in a video online. He said: "It wasn't goodbye, it was 'see you soon'. The Camp Nou has always been my home.

"You're my fans, my people, the club that I love the most. And now, I'm coming home. See you soon, Culers. Forca Barca."

Following the summer sale of six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, who moved to PSG on a free, and given the club's off-field financial concerns, Barcelona represent a long-term project right now and that is why Xavi could be a great fit.

Academy product

A product of the club's La Masia academy himself, Barca will especially hope he can aid the development of young talents such as Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati, while the fact he did so much for the club during his playing career surely means there will be patience from the fans.

In his 17-year tenure, Xavi won 25 titles and played 767 games before joining Al Sadd, initially as a player, in 2015.

Xavi was the heartbeat of one of Barcelona's all-time greatest sides under Pep Guardiola, playing alongside the likes of Messi and Andres Iniesta, and few know the values of the club as well as him.

It is no secret that the Barcelona manager's position has long been a target of Xavi's and the Spanish talent's cause was no doubt helped by the fact he has spent the last few seasons gaining experience as a head coach, meaning he does not go into this job cold.

Top-four aims

Xavi's short-term aims will be focused on getting Barcelona back into top-four contention in La Liga at the very least and continuing the resurrection of their sub-par Champions League group stage campaign.

Following their successive wins over Dynamo Kiev, they are now at least second in Group E in Europe's elite club competition but they are locked in mid-table obscurity in Spain's top flight with only four wins from 11 games.

Xavi will also be tasked with getting the best out of Barcelona's summer signings who have so far failed to excel.

Memphis Depay has five league goals to his name but has plenty of work to do to come close to making up for the goals lost to Messi's departure, while free agent Eric Garcia and loan player Luuk de Jong are yet to impress.

Sergio Aguero's future at the club, meanwhile, remains uncertain due to an ongoing health issue.

Laporta always knew

Previously club president Joan Laporta had said: "I have always said one day [Xavi] will be Barca's head coach but I don't know when."

The inevitable has now come to fruition and all eyes will be on Xavi in the dugout when he takes charge of his first Barcelona game, which will likely be at home to rivals Espanyol on 20th November after the international break.

As far as continental commitments are concerned, the club then face a home clash with Benfica and an away encounter with Bayern Munich in their remaining Champions League group stage matches.

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