The focus of Xavi’s Barcelona debut news conference was the club’s DNA. His favored approach, according to him, is “to press high… recover the ball… create chances.” He acknowledged that there was nothing groundbreaking about his beliefs, saying, “I am not discovering anything; that is Barca’s DNA.” Perhaps most importantly, he admitted that he was taking over a team that needed serious work: “We are going to work with them psychologically. We are going to assist them both individually and collectively.”
The manager has been in the position for two full years, and in certain respects, he has succeeded. Barca frequently recovers the ball and presses high. They were victorious in La Liga the previous season despite bringing in and nurturing several young players, indicating that Xavi had restored confidence to a group that was seriously lacking. All of this has also occurred in the midst of the uncontrollably dramatic and financially crippling Blaugrana case and the Negreira legal drama. This work is not simple.
The question of whether Xavi has revived the “Barca DNA” is still open for discussion. What has he done to make Barcelona better, and what more has to be done?
Barcelona regains control of La Liga
This was the ultimate goal, wasn’t it? Only a few teams in the world, including Barcelona, demand a trophy annually. Real Madrid, their La Liga rivals, may be the only team with higher success standards. Enhancement, growth, or any feeling of reconstruction is actually insufficient for a fan base, boardroom, and club that have fostered an atmosphere where achievement is only determined by the trophies and medals players wear around their necks.
Furthermore, the Blaugrana appeared to be as far away from a trophy as they had been in years until Xavi took control in November 2021. This was a struggling team that was losing Lionel Messi, aging in important places, and lacked the kind of mindset that is so important.
Naturally, this shift did not occur right away. For the most of Xavi’s first nine months in charge, Barca was unimpressive. Losses in the Europa League, poor play at home, and a crushing defeat in the Spanish Super Cup final did little to persuade supporters that Barca was back. He came dangerously close to losing his job again.
However, a crushing of Madrid in the March 2022 El Clasico suggested that something could be developing. And by August of that year, Barca had put together a team capable of facing Los Blancos. Although their 2022–23 championship team wasn’t very attractive, their defense was strong enough to withstand the majority of La Liga.
This winning by attrition didn’t keep all the fans happy, but at the end of it all, Barca lifted the Spanish title for the first time in three years. Job done.
Amazing young people
Talent has always abounding at La Masia. In addition to the well-known players like Messi, Xavi, and Andres Iniesta, the Barcelona academy has produced a large number of other dependable players that stand on their own. To differing degrees of success, Luis Garcia, Pepe Reina, Pedro, and Sergi Roberto have all had successful careers in their own right.
Many Barca managers have found it difficult to integrate these young prospects without expecting them to become instant superstars. And Xavi’s found that balance, for the most part.
Although Gavi has established himself as a mainstay in the Barca lineup and may be utilized excessively at this point, Xavi has made sure the young midfield player hasn’t crumbled under duress. Alejandro Balde, a left-back with promise, was wisely utilized as Jordi Alba’s backup until securing the starting position outright at the beginning of the 2023–24 campaign.
He anticipates seeing the same thing from actress Lamine Yamal. Ever since he became well-known in May, the winger has been subjected to comparisons to Messi. But Xavi has made sure he isn’t overburdened with work or asked to perform excessively. Although Yamal’s supporters at Barcelona may think he’s squandered coming off the bench, it could be wise to preserve the 16-year-old’s legs.