Nine days after splitting ways with Ronald Koeman, Barcelona has found its dream replacement manager. Former Barcelona player Xavi Hernández will look to steer the Catalan cruiser in the right direction after being announced as the new manager. When will Xavi manage his first game?
Xavi will make his Barcelona managerial debut following the international break. His first game in charge will be on Nov. 20 against Espanyol at Camp Nou.
The Spanish manager had been in charge of Al Sadd in the Qatar Stars League since May 2019. He said his farewell to members of the club on Friday as he prepares for his move to Barcelona.
Confirmed. Here Xavi’s farewell with Al-Sadd players and staff as he’s leaving the club to become new Barcelona manager. #FCB #Xavi pic.twitter.com/Q4SGBQhID5— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 5, 2021
OFFICIAL: Al-Sadd announce that Xavi will leave the club to become Barcelona's new head coach.A legend returns home. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/VAMKUqoch4
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 5, 2021
Al Sadd was the first club Xavi has managed. Despit never winning the league, he helped the club win three domestic tournaments and oversaw Al Sadd reaching the AFC Champions League semifinals in the 2019-20 season. His now former club is undefeated in the Qatar Stars League after nine games this season and top of the league.
Xavi takes over a Barcelona team treading water in LaLiga. His former club is ninth in the league and in a tight race with Benfica in Champions League Group E.
After the game against rival Espanyol, Xavi will play a potential group-deciding Champions League clash against Benfica three days later. Following that there will be a gauntlet of games against the likes of Villareal, Real Betis and Bayern Munich.
How Will This Impact Sergiño Dest?
The answer to this question won’t be satisfying for USMNT fans. We don’t really know how Dest’s playing time will be influenced with the arrival of Xavi just yet.
No idea. I just hope Xavi likes Dest as much as Koeman did.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) November 5, 2021
The 21-year-old American is nursing a back injury that caused him to miss Barcelona’s previous Champions League game against Dynamo Kyiv. Dest will also miss the USMNT’s upcoming qualifiers against Mexico and Jamaica.
When Dest returns from injury could be around the same time Xavi gets his start as Barcelona’s new manager. Koeman favored the American to start nearly every game and was experimenting with Dest in attack shortly before getting the axe.
Xavi had Al Sadd playing some beautiful tiki-taka before he left and it’s likely that he’ll implement more of that style with Barcelona. Fans will have to wait and see how Dest looks playing in a system like this.
Xavi has Al Sadd playing beautiful football pic.twitter.com/xVRMwCyeuJ— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 28, 2021