Newly appointed FC Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has promised fans of the Catalan club that he will “work and fight to reach the place [the club] deserves.”
Xavi said this in a statement posted on his Instagram account on Saturday, coming only hours after the 41-year-old was confirmed as the new Barça coach, following the sack of Ronald Koeman.
“I’m returning to the place that saw me grow up. I’m returning to the Club of my LIFE,” Xavi wrote.
“I have no words to describe the emotion I feel to defend again this shield that is stamped in my heart, to feel again the Camp Nou vibrating, and to hear again the cheers of encouragement from these great fans.
I know that I am arriving at a difficult moment, but I’m facing this challenge with the greatest of enthusiasm. I will work and fight with you all to reach together the place we deserve.”
Fans of the club have since clamoured for the appointment of Xavi as coach since Koeman’s failure to replicate the passing-fluid style that came to characterise the club while it was under Pep Guardiola from 2008-2012.
“Thank you #fcbarcelona for trusting me, as well as to all the fans who believed that I should take on this important role,” Xavi wrote, concluding his statement.
Xavi is expected to improve the team’s style of play, giving more playing time to youngsters like Riqui Puig who were largely snubbed whilst under Koeman.
It is expected, too, that the Spaniard will, in the very least, secure a Champions League spot for Barça as the club currently sits in 9th place, having lost 3 games and drawn 4.
Xavi, who joined the Barcelona youth academy at age 11, made his first-team debut against Mallorca in August 1998. In all, he played 767 official matches, a former club record — now held by Lionel Messi — and scored 85 goals, winning 8 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League.
He left Barça to play for Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015.
In 2019, Xavi took over as manager of Al Sadd on a two-year contract, helping the club reach the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League and to finish third in the league. In the 2019–20 season, Xavi led his team to win three domestic tournaments.
According to Barça, Xavi is expected to arrive in Barcelona this weekend and will be presented at the Camp Nou, in full public view, on Monday, November 8.