If all those who attended Xavi’s farewell after 17 years at Barcelona had one thing clear, it is that the talented midfielder would one day be the Catalan club’s coach. Heir to Pep Guardiola On the field of play, he also saw immense success on the benches. Because the idea was the same, the defense of the model, the DNA, the possession, the love for the ball, the offensive bet based on pressure and fast circulation. The same successes that his teacher achieved are now expected from Egarense. The sextet that Guardiola won with the same squad he inherited in 2008, after a corridor to Real Madrid (4-1) at the Bernabéu and a year without titles, they leave no excuses to Xavi, which is required to return the illusion to the stands and the pride of belonging to Barcelona. For now, the coach throws balls out. “I am very focused on my work with Al-Sadd and I do not want to talk about anything else,” he said at the press conference he offered yesterday on the occasion of today’s game against Al-Ahli
However, Xavi will take on the greatest challenge of his life at Barça without a professional background to support him. Two years in Qatari Al-Sadd is his only experience. He accumulates more merits and stripes as a footballer and captain of Barcelona than as a coach, although his speech is impeccable. It is true that his debut on the bench could not have been more successful, with seven titles in two years (Sheikh Jassem’s Cup in 2019, Qatar’s Crown Prince Cup, Stars’ Cup, and Emir’s Cup in 2020, and Crown Prince Cup, League and Emir Cup in 2021), but the level of the Qatari league is lower. What’s more, Xavi has not been able to release his record at an international level, since in Al-Sadd he has not won any continental title.
In addition to the doubts generated by his ability to direct a liner like Barcelona and at a time as complicated as the current one, there are numerous criticisms he has received for his defense of the Qatari regime, which is sold as a moderate and open country. , but actually more like a medieval monarchy than to a democracy, which is governed by Islamic law and where there are no political parties or elections. The press suffers heavy censorship. The seven newspapers that are published in the country are in private hands, but they belong to members of the royal family. On public radio and television censorship is exercised normally, although not always on strictly political issues. «In general there are many prejudices and there is a lot of unfounded criticism. It is a small, hospitable and generous country. Qatar is not democratic but its system works better than Spanish», Xavi has stated on more than one occasion, generating some outrage. In 2017 he already affirmed that in this emirate “people are happy and are delighted with the royal family, they take their photographs in the car, they give them a salary for being from there, they take care of their citizens …”. Something that contrasts with the complaints about the working conditions of its foreign workers, which border on exploitation.
Position on Catalonia
Xavi has also gotten wet on political issues such as secessionism in Catalonia and the illegal referendum on October 1. «I have wet myself in favor of the right to decide. In a democratic state, as Spain is supposed to be, the people have the right to decide. Why don’t they let it do it? AND I do not say if I am independentist or not. What I say is that it is an injustice that there are political prisoners, “he argues when asked about Catalonia.
Married to Nuria Cunillera in 2013, he is the father of Asia (2016) and And (2018), both born in Qatar. Xavi has found happiness in Doha. First as a player, when he arrived in 2015 after lifting the Champions League with Barcelona. It was his last game before joining the Emir’s club. There he gave continuous master classes, achieving four titles as a player. Later as a coach, he has had all the facilities and resources to develop his game idea.
His mission will now be to enlarge his brilliant record, with 34 titles as a player (25 with Barcelona, five with the national team and four with Al-Sadd) and seven as a coach with the Arab team. But his immediate challenge is more mundane: get Barça into the Champions zone and reach the eighth of the European competition.