Xavi Hernández, day one at Barça


It is done and already signed. It is closed and announced, but at dawn, around 1:47 a.m. Xavi fly to Barcelona together with Rafael Yuste, Barça sports vice president, and Mateu Alemany, director of soccer, to stamp his signature as the new Barça coach until 2024, his official presentation being set for next Monday at noon. “I arrive with a maximum demand. We are Barça, the best club in the world,” he said at the Doha airport accompanied by his family, back home.

Shortly before getting on the plane on the way to Barcelona, ​​where he will see on television Balaídos’ duel against Celta, Xavi already revealed the keys to his project. “The first thing I want to do is talk to the players and explain my idea to them,” said the new Barça coach, relieved that everything was closed, albeit with suspense.

A suspense because that pact between Al Sadd and Barça, revealed by the Barça leaders in Doha in a private conversation with journalists, does not specify, however, how the five million euros claimed by the Qatari team will be paid in a day full of tension, where Al Sadd wanted to make it clear that I would not release it if it did not receive that amount.

“We have all done our part to make it possible. I am very grateful to the club, very, very grateful, really.”

“They have come to Doha and We have all done our part so that it could be done. I am very happy, very excited and very positive, “Xavi recalled without giving any clues about how the talks have unraveled.” I am very grateful to the club, very very grateful, really, “he added.

In its official statement, issued at dawn from Friday to Saturday, Barça indicates that “Xavi has disassociated himself from Al Sadd in Qatar after talks held in recent days between the coach, Barça and the Asian club. “But he does not provide any more details or throw any element on the controversy that involved that exit.

“I have also experienced bad situations at the club. It is not the best moment in the club’s history. But I want to talk to the players and explain my idea to them”

Xavi has not been concrete either. He wanted to look further. “I have also experienced bad situations at the club. It is not the best moment in the club’s history. But I want to talk to the players and explain the idea I have,” said the new coach. “I want to work hard, to be a team. It is a group effort. From now on with great desire and enthusiasm to do things well, but I need to talk to the players.”

The president of the Qatari club resigned from his commitments and refused to give Xavi any facility to return to Barça. Even though he had promised it. In the last meeting they had, he stuck to the clause, without lowering it one euro. Not only that. Al Sadd gave the first version of this case. A version that irritated Barça, to the point that it denied, through some spokesmen, the veracity of the Qatari club’s announcement.

Unexpected statement

“Al Sadd has come to an agreement for Xavi to go to Barcelona after payment of the clause stipulated in his contract“, revealed Turki Al-Ali, the club’s CEO, opening a source of tension in the conversations because he agreed to Xavi’s departure because he was motivated” by the critical stage that the club in his city is going through, so we understand it and We decided not to stand in their way. “A generosity, a magnanimity, which did not correspond to reality later.

Hours of tension

But nothing was that easy. Not much less. That statement, issued on the Qatari club’s social networks (11:46 am), caused serious discomfort in Barça. But I am silent, although he made it clear at that time that he was not going to pay the clause (13.28 h). Joan LaportaMeanwhile, he was flying to Vigo to attend an act of the Galician clubs while And you and Alemany They put themselves, once again, in the hands of Xavi, the only one who could unravel the mess.

Xavi, excited, in his farewell to the Al Sadd squad. @ALSADDSC


Technician and sole interlocutor

The technician had to unblock a case that had become entrenched in such a way that not even the presence of the two Barça representatives in the last 48 hours had been able to solve. In that instant, the Al Sadd no longer had Xavi as a coach. And the Barça followed without announcing his signing. The full payment of the clause created a serious problem because it was unexpected and because of the shortage of time to agree on the form of payment, in the middle of the farewell day and the flight scheduled for this Saturday.

Seven hours after that announcement, And you and Alemany They met in the lobby of the Doha hotel to communicate, without public interventions, that yes, the agreement already closed. Agreement that was not announced because “the documents are being drafted.” Complex documents because the Barça club has not specified at any time if it will pay the clause in full or it has to be Xavi himself who assumes a part of it.

Fit the ‘fair play’

The negotiation became entangled because the Al Sadd wanted five million and Barça had to fit that figure into the fair play financial claiming the Professional Soccer League, also taking into account that the salary bill is added to the emoluments of Xavi and his seven assistants.

It has been the Terrassa coach who has negotiated with the emir, who has acted as an interlocutor between both clubs, as well as being the spokesperson for the negotiations. His was the only official version and the only source of information that has been heard these days (“I am very excited to come to Barça, it is a matter of common sense, it has to be done”, he said), but it has not yet been done. all before leaving Doha.

“Yes, yes, I am clear about the team we have and we have to get to work from minute one. Which is now. It is to land and work with energy”

“It has been difficult because the termination had to be dislodged and the new contracts of all the staff should be made. Both Rafa, Mateu and the president, that is, we have all rowed so that it could be done and I am very excited,” admitted the coach from Terrassa, who has already drawn the Barça that he imagines with him sitting on the bench.

“Yes Yes, I am clear about the team we have and we have to get to work from minute one. Which is already. It is landing and working with energy “, has underlined the new Barcelona trainer.

Xavi, at the farewell meal with Al Sadd. @ALSADDSC


In the meantime, Laporta, connected at all times with Doha, dodged, both at the Vigo airport and in Marín, any precision while waiting for the signing of the technician to be official, who will sign his document until 2024. The technician has made him, obsessed as it was on going home, all work to the club. And the president.

Farewell meal

With both clubs estranged, with no direct relationship between their leaders, Xavi followed the protocol of the last day, presiding over the farewell meal for the squad and the coaching staff.

A lunch in which he could not avoid tears when he said goodbye, one by one, to his former players. And released, at last, because he has gotten away with it. He is already the coach of Barça, the coach of the consensus, which Laporta needs so much to appease the environment.

Xavi says goodbye in the sports city of Al Sadd. @ALSADDSC


I was flying on Friday Sergi Barjuan to Vigo savoring “the candy”, as he himself defined it, to sit for the last time on the Barça bench, while Xavi closes the door of his home in Doha this Saturday and gets on a plane, six years later, on his way of his house to undertake the complex reconstruction.

At dawn Koeman was fired. And at dawn the return of Xavi was announced. The player with the most games in the club’s history: 767 and 25 titles. He left in 2015 when he was a footballer with Luis Enrique. He returns in 2021, assuming the wear and tear of complex negotiations, sure of having the right method to lift a decaying team. Xavi, day 1 at Barça.

“In the end, we are Barça, we are in the best club in the world. And the best club in the world must win, you cannot draw or lose. The demand will be maximum”

And it has already started working from Doha. “I am also very grateful to Sergi Barjuan for the work they are doing. We want to do teamwork,” he specified after indicating that working now as a coach with former teammates with Sergio Busquets, Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Ter Stegen sees it well.

“I know five players well because they have been my former teammates. It’s a positive point, I know how they train, I know how the team captains are and are. I see it as an advantage.”

“I see it as an advantage. It has already happened to me here at Al Sadd. I know five players well because they have been former teammates of mine. It’s a positive point, I know how they train, I know how the team captains are and are. I see it. as an advantage “.

Does not share Xavi the message of Koeman, who indicated that “this is what there is” in reference to the weakened staff that will be found after the departure of Messi and Griezmann. “We will work to the maximum. In the end, we are Barça, we are in the best club in the world. And the best club in the world must win, it cannot be tied or lost. The demand will be maximum. We will try to make the players happy and work to the maximum to try to win ”

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