Cruyff, Guardiola and Xavi? Extremes and extremists

I still think Xavi will be a good coach. Over the last few months I have seen aspects of football that had not been worked on at Barça for years. But suddenly, since the selection stop, the castle has collapsed precipitously, and all the forward steps the group had taken have been reversed. Against Inter Milan and in a certain way against Real Madrid, the team was again primary, rushed, without offensive or defensive aggression, mentally fragile.

The most worrying thing was what happened in the Champions League. Barça needed to win, but not recover from any defeat, and already from the first minute they came out overexcited, past revolutions. Even footballers like Sergio Busquets, overcome when the break is lost, who need to play with the lines together, accelerated more than the account, decompensating the block and facilitating the fast transitions of the Italians.

Even if it is a difficult exercise, Barcelonism needs to forget the urgent. Many will consider it a chimera, because the club’s bet on the present, mortgaging the future, makes it essential to get results today, but, despite everything, it is essential to be able to avoid the rush or the club may enter a collapse.

When he landed at Camp Nou, Xavi was quickly lined up in the succession line of Cruyff and Guardiola. A coach who returned to Barcelona to sublimate the style, reinforce the idea of ​​positional play and turn the midfielders into central elements again. Moreover, he was precisely the midfielder who excelled in this idea when he played under Guardiola. The elements fit together. Xavi on the bench, Pedri on the grass. But, in recent weeks, the weight of the team has shifted dangerously towards the wings: the ball on the goal line and for Dembélé or Raphinha to play the individual or bombard the area. In fact, researching Xavi’s statements from before coming to Barça, he was already talking about the vital importance of the ends for his idea of ​​play. Obviously, we won’t deny that you need to have players on the wing who are unbalanced – they are a vital piece, but they should be an additional solution, not the main one.

If we look for footballing answers in Xavi’s teachers, we will find that with both Cruyff and Guardiola the wingers were actually strikers – or midfielders – who played open, they were never specialists like Dembélé or Raphinha. Pedro, Villa, Messi (this plays separately, okay), Henry, Eto’o, Stoichkov, Salinas, Txiki, Iniesta… Only time will tell if Xavi evolves the idea of ​​his predecessors or the idea requires d ‘Ansu or Ferran to execute it.


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