Who Is Xavi Hernandez, FC Barcelona’s New Manager After Ronald Koeman?

Published 11/05/2021, 7:22 AM EDT
Soccer Football – Emir Cup – Final – Al Sadd v Al Rayyan – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Thumama, Qatar – October 22, 2021 Al Sadd coach Xavi REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari


After Frank Rijkaard left Barcelona back in 2008, Pep Guardiola took over the reins at Barcelona. A former central midfielder of the club, he transformed FC Barcelona to the greatest club side fans had seen. Moreover, he won 14 trophies in 4 years and helped them to win an unprecedented six trophies in a season. After sacking Dutch manager Ronald Koeman, they now turn to another club legend to steady the ship, Xavi Hernández.

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A Dutch manager leaving to make way for a Spanish former central-midfielder, the story does sound eerily familiar. But can Barca strike gold twice?

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Who is Xavi?

Attaining legendary status with the club for his performances in central midfield, Xavi won everything at the club.

He came from Barcelona’s renowned La Masia academy in 1992 and developed into a composed playmaker at the heart of their midfield. Significantly, he made 767 appearances for the club. The 41-year-old won 8 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League titles while being a vital cog to Guardiola’s system.

He ended his tenure at Barcelona in 2015 and won 27 trophies; while scoring 85 goals and creating 184 assists. Those are incredible numbers. After he left Barcelona, he went to play in Qatar for his current club, Al Sadd, and became their manager. During his tenure there, he got the team to the AFC Champions League semi-final, which was an outstanding achievement for the club.

His philosophy of one-touch passing is incredible and has shades of Guardiola’s tiki-taka style.

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What can he bring to Barcelona?

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Times have changed at the club ever since he left Spain. Far from the European giants of his time, Barca are now in crisis with financial debts that are over $1 billion, a squad that is considered average, and Camp Nou attendance seeing an all-time low. But all this could change with his arrival at the club.

With Pedri, Gavi, and Ansu Fati, he has the potential to create a new generation of Iniesta, Xavi, and Messi. The trio entertained fans for a long time with their incredible link-up, which was deemed to be unplayable. All the aforementioned young players have what it takes to reach that level.

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Thus, it’s a truly exciting time to be a Barca supporter and have the prodigal son return home. Hopefully, Xavi will be as successful as Pep was at Barca. But return of club legends in management doesn’t always go to plan, Lampard and Pirlo can vouch for that.

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Jacob Gijy

616 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the center the respect he deserves.

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