Barcelona present Xavi as new manager as club looks for stability during rocky era

FC Barcelona have turned to former club legend Xavi as manager. After officially appointing him over the weekend the new manager and club legend was presented at the Camp Nou on Monday. During what’s been a complicated, inconsistent, rocky and drama-filled era, current president Joan Laporta turns to a man who has made a name for himself in the coaching ranks while managing in Qatar. 

The 41-year-old, who played for Barca’s senior team from 1998 to 2015, had coached Al Sadd since 2019. He played for the Doha-based team from 2015 to 2019, scoring 25 times in 117 games. As a manager, he coached 102 matches and won more than half, registering an impressive 65.7 percent win percentage, going 67-17-18. He’s won seven titles as the manager, including the Qatar Cup in 2020 and 2021. 

He replaces Ronald Koeman, who was sacked after a miserable start to the season with Barca in ninth place in La Liga and struggling against top competition in the Champions League, while also failing to produce an entertaining product on the pitch.

Things haven’t been doing too well at Barca since Ernesto Valverde’s departure, with police raiding the club earlier this year resulting in the arrest of then president Josep Bartomeu, and to make matters worse, arguably the greatest player ever, Lionel Messi, was forced to leave the club over the summer. Messi’s move to PSG was due to the abusive spending and undeniable mismanagement of funds at the club, which combined with new financial regulations in La Liga, meant Barca could no longer afford the player’s salary. 

While Xavi has quite the tall task ahead, he at least has something to work with in terms of talent. The squad has an exceptional base of young players like Pedri, Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig and more to work with, and the key will be complimenting that base with signings that can add something to the team after so many questionable transfers.

One player to keep an eye on under Xavi’s watch is French winger Ousmane Dembele, who Xavi said can be the best player in the world.

CBS Sports will have more on Xavi’s arrival at Barcelona shortly. 

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