In recent days many eyes are focusing on one figure, one of the great former players of his time. The figure just a few weeks ago became the coach of the team that had previously orbited his name. True football lovers will certainly be familiar with the figure in question. Yes, he is Xavi Hernandez, a former Barcelona player who is now a coach there replacing the previous coach who is also a Barcelona legend, Ronald Koeman.
Koeman was relieved by Barcelona because he was considered to have failed to lift the performance of the Blaugrana. Koeman was considered unable to meet the expectations of a team from Catalonia, which is famous for its thirst for achievement. Such dynamics are certainly a common thing in the world of football.
Xavi was brought in as a replacement for Koeman and is expected to become Barcelona’s “god”. Xavi is expected to be able to bring back the performance of the Blaugrana to the highest level like when Xavi played there. However, after several times accompanying Barcelona, Xavi has not shown a satisfactory performance. Barca’s position in La Liga has also not moved from the middle board. Even in the UEFA Champions League, Barcelona failed to qualify for the knockout phase of the last 16.
Xavi, who is expected to be able to bring Barca through to the knockout phase of the last 16 of the Champions League, turns out to have to admit the greatness of Bayern Munich. Barca lost 0-3 to Munich in the last match of the Champions League qualifying Group D phase. Barca looks like a pennant team in front of Munich.
Xavi seemed unable to do much when facing Julian Nagelsmann’s team. Barca also had to settle for finishing third in Group D and forced to abdicate to the UEFA Europa League. Barcelona and many Barca fans probably expect too much from Xavi. Whereas Xavi is not David Copperfield or Harry Houdini who can conjure something in the blink of an eye. Xavi needs time to organize Barca.
Xavi is one of Barcelona’s legendary players. Xavi’s greatness when playing for the Blaugrana is unquestionable. However, Xavi’s greatness as a coach has not much evidence that we can use as a reference. Before coaching the Blaugrana, Xavi had never coached another big team. Being the coach of a big team like Barca, Xavi is a “rookie”.
Xavi first became a coach at a team called Al-Sadd, a member of the Qatar League. When dealing with Al-Sadd Xavi did reap success. Xavi was able to present five trophies for his team in less than two years. But Al-Sadd is not Barcelona. Barcelona cannot be compared to Al-Sadd. So Xavi’s success in coaching Al-Sadd cannot be used as a measure when Xavi coached Barca. After all, success “there” may not necessarily be successful “here”.
There is no denying that Xavi is a great player. But Xavi does not mean obligatory to be a great coach anyway. Maybe Xavi will be a great coach, but maybe not. Who does not know the name Diego Armando Maradona? Maradona is one of the legends of football in Argentina and the world. Maradona’s greatness as a player is second to none.
But the contradiction occurred when Maradona became a coach. Maradona’s greatness as a player is not congruent at all with when he was a coach. Likewise with other names, Jurgen Klinsmann for example. For der Panzer fans, the name Klinsmann is not a foreign name. Klinsmann is one of the best strikers Germany has ever had.
Similar to Maradona, Klinsmann did not reap success as a coach. Klinsmann’s prowess on the pitch did not carry over when he became a coach. On the other hand, there are many names that were previously unheard of as great players but who later emerged as great coaches. Call it for example the name of Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, or Jose Mourinho. The three of them were mediocre former players, not legendary players.
But there are also some great players who later turn into great coaches as well. Those who fall into this category include Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini or Antonio Conte. Back to Xavi. The new Bara coach still needs time to prove himself that, apart from being a great player, he can also be a great coach. Xavi still needs time to prove that he can be like Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini or Antonio Conte.