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Xavi Hernández.. 134 days that changed the face of Barcelona

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Since he sat in the chair of the Barcelona coach on November 6, 2021, to the artistic orchestra that he presented in the heart of the Santiago Bernabéu and winning clean four to four over the traditional rival Real Madrid in the “Clásico de la Tierra” , Xavi Hernández managed to change the face of the Catalan battalion within 134 days.
One of the legends of the Catalan club throughout its history arrived at the Camp Nou on matchday 14 of the League, and the team was then in ninth place, very far from the Champions League positions, and even closer to the areas of descent.

But 4 and a half months did not pass, but ‘Barça’ was not only present in the semifinal battle, but also 3 points behind runner-up Sevilla, with one less game for Barcelona, ​​​​and despite his early departure from the Champions League group stage, he became the most prominent candidate to win the European League title.

The highlight of Laugrana’s improvement under Xavi is in continuity, as the team won 11 games, drew 4 and lost only one, with a total of 37 goals scored by their players, compared to 14 conceded.

Identity that cannot be abandoned:
It is very difficult not to hear Xavi Hernández say words like ‘model’, ‘style of play’ or ‘possession game’ at a press conference. He always talks about a football in which the team insists on being faithful to its “identity”, through advanced high pressure, the search for spaces between the lines, as well as possession of the ball.

The task of recovering the identity created by Dutch legend Johan Cruyff and copied by Pep Guardiola was not an easy one, as Xavi was surprised during his first weeks as team manager by the tactical retreat that hit the team at the time.

The Bernabéu website confirmed that the players began to understand their coach’s style, which was the reason for the team’s success in the last three decades.

Mix of young and old:
When Xavi decided to accept President Joan Laporta’s offer, he made no secret of the “friendship” he had with great players and former teammates Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Serge Roberto and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Xavi did not “sacrifice” any of the old guard, but he also put his trust in the elements that represent the future of the team, such as Pedri and Ronald Araujo.

With the transfer of the explosive youth energy, which lacked the experience of winning titles and big dates, the adults managed to return the smile to the faces of the Catalan fans, who had been absent due to the successive failures of recent years against Juventus, Rome. , Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

Reinforcements of the Winter Market:
In this technical boom, the role of the new agreements with which the Catalan team supported their ranks in the last Winter Mercato cannot be overlooked, despite the salary crisis suffered by the first team due to the repercussions of the outbreak of the pandemic del Corona, but this did not prevent Laporta from entering the winter transfer market with force to support Xavi’s technical options.

The management of the Catalan club spent some 55 million euros, in addition to variables, to bring in the promising winger Ferran Torres from Manchester City, the loan of star Adama Traore from Wolverhampton, and the two great Brazilian stars Dani Alves and the Gabonese Pierre Emeric Aubameyang in two free transfer offers.

In particular, Aubameyang surprised everyone and showed that it was a profitable operation, despite the way he left Arsenal due to differences with Spanish manager Mikel Arteta, but he quickly expressed his goalscoring ability, scoring 9 goals in 11 games with the team. , including the historic double that led Barcelona to a great victory over the clean quartet of Real.

Since the arrival of winter support, Barcelona have scored 40 goals in 17 games this year, an average of 2.3 goals per game, compared to the average for the first half of the season, which was 1.2 goals per game. match.

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