Xavi’s record at Barcelona: How did the club legend fare in his first season as manager?
After playing over 500 games for Barcelona, Xavi was finally brought back to the club as manager in November 2021.
The Spaniard impressed during his first coaching stint with Qatari club Al Sadd and Barcelona convinced Xavi to return to replace Ronald Koeman after a poor start to the 2021-22 season.
Without former team-mate Lionel Messi to call on, the 42-year-old has had to rebuild a side that’s been strapped for confidence.
sports news look at how Xavi has performed with Barcelona so far and what lies ahead for the manager and the club.
What is Xavi’s record as Barcelona manager?
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As the stats suggest, Xavi’s first season in charge of Barcelona was a mixed one as he was slow to make his mark.
After winning his first two La Liga games in charge, the Spaniard’s first loss came at Camp Nou against Real Betis.
Xavi failed to rejuvenate Barca’s Champions League campaign, drawing 0-0 with Benfica before losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich as the club failed to escape their group.
Barcelona would then be knocked out of the Europa League in the quarter-finals by eventual champions Eintracht Frankfurt.
Xavi’s first El Clasico in charge ended in a 3-2 Supercopa de Espana defeat in January, but he got his revenge two months later in the league as Barca thrashed Real Madrid 4-0 at Santiago Bernabeu.
The win came during a 15-game unbeaten streak for the club in La Liga as they finished in second place despite failing their last two fixtures.
Xavi couldn’t win any silverware with Barcelona in his debut season as the team failed to make a final in the 2021-22 campaign.
How has Xavi improved Barcelona?
Despite mixed results, Xavi left an undeniable mark on Barcelona in his first season in charge.
The team have become more resilient under the Spaniard and haven’t lost an away game in La Liga since his arrival. They also ended a stylishly run horror El Clasico by dismantling Real Madrid on their home turf.
Barcelona were ninth in La Liga when their new manager arrived, but ended the season comfortably in second.
Results aside, Xavi has given La Masia youngsters like Gavi and Nico Gonzalez a real chance to shine with Gavi especially impressing this campaign.
His January signings were also quite effective with Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both providing a much-needed attacking spark at times. Aubameyang arrived out of form from Arsenal but was revived under Xavi, scoring 13 goals in his first 23 appearances for Barca.
Despite some early promises, Xavi knows there’s still a lot of work to do to get the Catalans back on track.
“It hasn’t been a good season, we can’t lie,” Xavi said in May.
“We improved and the second half of the season in La Liga was good, but do we need to strengthen? Yes.
“We can’t have another season without a trophy. We have to be self-critical and work so hard to be competitive again.”
What’s next for Xavi at Barcelona?
Despite significant progress already made, Xavi’s first season as Barcelona manager will end without silverware.
The Spanish manager is no stranger to titles, having won six with Al Sadd, and will be desperate to put things right at Camp Nou over the next year.
Reclaiming the Copa del Rey is a logical first goal for Xavi considering Barca have won the competition a record 31 times before.
Beyond that, challenging Real Madrid in the La Liga title race and a better performance in the UEFA Champions League are essential.
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Barcelona look set for a busy off-season with player moves with the possible signing of Robert Lewandowski emerging as a real game-changer.
“Yes, Lewandowski is an option,” Xavi said ahead of Barca’s last game of the season in La Liga.
“He’s already said he wants to leave, there are negotiations, but he still has a contract with his club. It won’t be easy to be Bayern, but it’s an option.”
Many players also look set to leave Xavi’s squad with Riqui Puig, Samuel Umtiti, Martin Braithwaite, Oscar Mingueza and Ousmane Dembele all linked with potential departures.
Another name that could be added to this list is Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong, but Xavi has made it clear how much he values him.
“For me he is a beast of a player and I told him that,” Xavi said.
“He has the quality to mark an era here. I like him a lot, he’s such a capable player who can dominate games the way we play.
“But we’ll see what the club’s financial situation is. Again, we talk about money, which I don’t want to do, but that’s the way it is.”
Arriving in November last year, Xavi is relishing the chance to spend a full off-season remodeling this Barcelona outfit with his debut season just the start of what he and the fans hope will be a successful reign.