‘A complete team’ – What people have said about Xavi’s Barcelona

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Barcelona manager Xavi sits on the bench during the game against Valencia on February 20, 2022 at the Mestalla Stadium.

Since taking the Barcelona job in November 2021, Xavi has helped create a much more promising outlook for the Spanish giants.

Barcelona were languishing in ninth spot when Ronald Koeman was sacked but have since moved up to third, three points behind second-placed Sevilla.

Xavi has earned rave reviews for his work in the dugout and Barcelona now seem like they are finally on the right track after a couple of difficult seasons.

We’ve taken a look at what ex-players, pundits and managers have said about the manager’s work so far.

Ronaldo

“I follow Spanish football and I love it,” Ronaldo told reporters after Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Real Madrid. “With the crisis that Barca has had very recently, they have improved a lot with the arrival of Xavi.

“Now I have seen a great team live, a very aggressive and vertical team, which presses with the traditional qualities of Barca. This Barca looks very good, they were amazing in the Clasico.

“Football is not as simple as people think. Managing a dressing room, managing people, it entails problems and you have to know how to manage it well. Xavi is doing very well.”

Gary Lineker

“It’s really beginning to look like Xavi will be the elite coach many of us thought he would be,” Lineker tweeted after that 4-0 win.

Joan Laporta

“Xavi has responded magnificently well to the opportunity that Barcelona have given him because he is a coach who knows the club, who loves the club, who respects the club’s decisions and who has the personality not to be influenced,” the Barcelona president said to their official media.

“He is clear about how we have to play and he is a hard worker, he loves football and that makes him live constantly what Barcelona is and what the team is. I’m very happy to have a coach like Xavi.

“I am convinced that he is a coach for many years to come and that he will give us a lot of joy.”

Raul

“Xavi has been a coach since he was a player,” the Real Madrid legend recently told Marca. “He’s doing very well right now, he’s in the midst of a good present and a very good future.

“Time will put everyone in their place. He has passion, that’s the most important thing. He knows the club. I’m sure he’ll do well.”

Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona manager

READ: How the La Liga table would look if it began when Barcelona hired Xavi

Cesc Fabregas

“I like this Barcelona a lot, I’m enjoying it because they had good players, but they didn’t give the sensation of danger…of being able to win,” Fabregas told Marca. “The rivals could beat Barca without doing much. Xavi is recovering all those aspects.”

Steven Gerrard

“With the appointment of Xavi, I think it was a masterstroke by Barcelona to appoint him,” Gerrard said after playing against Barcelona legends in a charity match at Anfield.

“He obviously knows the style – what all the Barcelona people want to see – and after some challenging times it looks as if they’re getting back to where they need to be.

“It was obviously a huge result against Real Madrid. As a fan of Barcelona, from afar, it’s really good to see them back and firing well.”

Carlo Ancelotti

“Barcelona’s identity never changes, as the club has a clear style,” Ancelotti told reporters earlier this month.

“Xavi fits in with that style well and the team have improved a lot under him. They’re a complete team and are playing well. My opinion is that he is doing a good job.”

Ivan Campo

“He has raised the team again, a team with joy,” the former Real Madrid defender told Radio Marca in February.

“Because of the people who have come and the way of playing that he has brought so special to Barca, and those old players with a lot of experience who have regained that positive energy that Xavi gives off when it comes to making a team and the way of seeing football.”

Dani Alves

“With Xavi we talked about football. Now, he speaks for the group,” Alves told the Tot Costa program on Catalunya Radio in January. “I knew that Xavi would be version 3.0 of Barca.

“He has inherited a tough situation but he has the same philosophy as Guardiola, the same style. Football is not just about winning titles. Here we seek to revolutionise football.

“[Johan] Cruyff did it and then [Pep] Guardiola. Barca is love for the game and must return to that.”

Pedri

“He transmits security to us in everything he does, as he knows exactly what he wants the team to do, and the players understand perfectly,” Pedri told Marca.

“We know we have to be able to control the game through possession and that is what he insists upon the most.”

Graham Hunter

“The most fundamental thing about Barcelona’s upturn in fortunes is that Xavi has made the team competitive again and started the long process of reinstating the once-sacrosanct principles of possession and position,” Hunter wrote in a piece for ESPN.


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