Will coach Xavi Hernandez restore Barcelona's lost glory?
Xavi Hernandez's return to Barcelona is undeniably symbolic because it comes at a time when the one of the world's greatest football clubs appears to have lost its former glory.
It's official. Xavi Hernandez, the legendary Barcelona midfielder also popularly known as 'Maquina' (the Machine)', has accepted the Spanish football giants' offer to become their head coach till 2024 following the sacking of Ronald Koeman.
In a tweet, FC Barcelona welcomed their hero home, who had departed the club in 2015 to join Qatari club Al Sadd. Xavi Hernandez will now be presented as the La Liga club's new coach in an open event set to take place at Camp Nou on Monday (November 8). Barcelona received the green light to sign Xavi on Friday (November 5) after paying the release (reportedly around 5 million euros) in his contract with Al Sadd.
Xavi Hernandez's return to Barcelona is undeniably symbolic because it comes when one of the world's greatest football clubs appears to have lost its former glory. The 41-year-old Barca legend made 767 appearances for the Catalan club, including eight La Liga titles and four Champions League victories. Even as a midfielder, Xavi embodied Pep Guardiola's 'tiki-taka' passing style that saw Barcelona win the treble in 2009. Xavi was undoubtedly the defender of the faith at Camp Nou in a team that saw Lionel Messi as God.
Xavi Hernandez, known for his top-notch ability to read the game, had earlier expressed his desire to return to Barcelona, a club that he has been part of since the age of 11. In an interview with sports daily Marca in 2020, Xavi had said that returning to his 'home' is his 'dream'.
Considered as one of the greatest midfield maestros of all time, Xavi Hernandez's return to the Catalan club's fold has sparked massive excitement among fans, who are hoping that the legend will revive Barcelona's current La Liga show. Concerns have been growing that Barcelona may fail to finish in the top four as they currently sit at 9th in La Liga.
Xavi Hernandez's appointment as a head coach comes when Barcelona's debts a tune to 1.35 billion euros. Another challenge staring at the Barca legend is to rebuild a team without Lionel Messi, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Fans will also hope that Xavi can infuse a new vigour in the team's style of play, which received massive criticism during the Dutch coach Ronald Koeman's tenure.
Xavi Hernandez's first game will be against Espanyol on November 20 after the international break.