This time it is: Xavi officially returns to Barcelona. Al-Sadd’s statement on Friday caught everyone at the club by surprise, as the final details were not fully resolved. But the former club legend will indeed return to his club forever.
FC Barcelona confirmed on the night of Friday to Saturday the return to the fold of its former glory. “It’s time to come home. Welcome, Xavi,” Barca tweeted. He will arrive this weekend in Barcelona and will be presented on Monday at noon in a public ceremony at Camp Nou, the club said in a statement.
The Qatari club of Al Sadd, which Xavi had coached since 2019, had announced a few hours earlier that they had reached an agreement with the Catalans and had posted on social networks images of the Spaniard bidding farewell to the players.
After a game of seduction that lasted several years, the marriage is finally celebrated between FC Barcelona and one of the men who best embodies the club. A union awaited by a large fringe of Blaugrana supporters.
After leaving Barcelona in 2015, the brilliant midfielder took charge of Al Sadd, in Qatar, where he ended his playing career (2015-2019) before starting an immediate conversion as a coach. After two years at the head of the Qatari club, he has already won the championship, the national cup and the Super Cup of Qatar.
But above all, in a short period of time, Xavi has managed to install in Qatar principles of play that are dear to him. Those learned in the ranks of Masia, the prestigious Catalan training center, and refined with a trainer like Pep Guardiola: a game of possession, made of short passes in small spaces. In short, the basics of “tiki-taka”, the famous Catalan game launched by icon Johan Cruyff in the 1990s.
Contacted in January 2020 to replace Ernesto Valverde on the Barcelona bench, then the following summer to succeed Quique Setién, Xavi has so far always declined the club’s offers, refusing to take charge of a team without a clear project and without fixed course, but reiterating each time his love for his club of heart.
“I’m not hiding it, and I’ve always said it, my main goal, when it can be done, is Barça. It’s my home, and it would be a dream,” Xavi said in an interview in the daily Marca, in July 2020.
A promising generation is coming
The site is immense. Xavi will have to tune his violins with Laporta, and above all to deal with the huge financial worries that plague the Catalan club, in debt of more than a billion euros. On the pitch, his objectives are clear: sportingly, Barça, current 9th in Liga, nine points behind Real Sociedad and eight from their great rival, Real Madrid, must at all costs return to the top of the standings. He must also try to ensure a qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League, despite the two initial slaps received against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou (3-0) and against Benfica in Lisbon (3-0).
But above all, Xavi must restore his playing identity to the Blaugrana club, based on the young generation with, in the lead, the prodigies Ansu Fati, Pedri, Gavi or Nico Gonzalez, and other early talents like Segiño Dest or Frenkie de Jong.
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‘It’s time to come home’: Barca finally confirm Xavi’s arrival as coach