Barcelona has announced the appointment of club legend Xavi Hernández as the club’s new coach on a deal that includes the remainder of the current season plus two additional seasons.
He replaces Ronald Koeman, who was sacked last month following a dismal start to the season.
Xavi made a record 767 appearances for Barcelona, winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues during his time at the Catalan club.
The former midfielder, widely considered one of the greatest of his generation, called time on his Barcelona career in 2015 to begin a new chapter with Qatari side Al-Sadd SC.
He officially hung up his boots in 2019 before being appointed Al-Sadd’s manager, and since his appointment, he has led the club to seven trophies, including one league title.
In a press conference that lasted over an hour, Xavi discussed his footballing philosophy and the values he wants to instil in this Barcelona side, as well as his aim to assist with the development of young players.
“I come here to help the [youngsters] to perform, to be happy,” said Xavi at his press conference.
“We count on everyone. We want to see them all and [help them] perform in training.
“They are very young. Nico, Gavi … it is difficult to understand how they put in this [level of] performance at this age. You have to help them perform in each game. Each match is a final exam.”
Xavi went on to stress that he maintains a good relationship with Barcelona veterans and claimed that he expects them to lead the way.
“I have a very good relationship with [the veterans],” added Xavi.
“I have a direct relationship with them and I have already spoken with some. They have to lead the way in important moments. They have to lead the team. We have very young players. We will give them power in the dressing room.
“The plan is the same as for all the players. They all start from scratch. The ones I know, are precisely the ones whom I will push the most.
“I want them to lead the dressing room and they are very important because they have experienced many situations. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I have no problem. I consider it an advantage.”
The former Al Sadd coach also discussed the football philosophy his coaching staff are hoping to impose on the team upon their arrival.
“More than the system, it is the model, the idea,” noted Xavi.
“At Al Sadd we played 3-4-3 because we were very dominant. It will be different here.
“In the end, it’s Cruyff’s idea. My first defender is the striker and the first attacker is the goalkeeper. You have to work tactically, know what to do on the field in different situations.
“We will tell those who are there what the idea is, what the rules are. We have a plan so that the footballer can perform. I have everything planned until the Espanyol game. The method, the idea and the game model are explained.
“If you can compete in our own way, we will be very close to achieving the results. If we convey to them that this way you can play well and win, I think we will succeed.
“We believe that the best way to win is by playing well.
“[All ways] are respectable, but we want to play happy, attacking [football], without speculating, with high pressure, with possession. Knowing why things are done. We will try to help them.”