Ask any genuine Barcelona fan. It is tough to come to terms with the epic collapse Barcelona has suffered from its glorious days. Punters are sometimes amazed at the high odds they get on Barcelona to win from the best bookmakers on LionTips.
Was it not just in 2012 that Barcelona winning a game was surer than Tuesday coming after Monday?
Yes, the memories are still fresh: a young enthusiastic Pep Guardiola leading a vibrant team essentially borne out of La Masia. We still remember the whole world ogling at the brilliance of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi Hernandez.
What happened to the mighty Barcelona?
Is it the mighty Barcelona that was historically thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in 2020? Was it the mighty Barcelona that suffered a historic 4-0 reverse defeat in 2019?
How far away is Barca from its prime days?
Meters? No, miles! Barcelona are miles away from their glorious days. Some Barcelona fans even fear they are light years away from those days of global dominance after Lionel Messi infamously exited the club in the last summer transfer window.
Many coaches have gone. Sadly, each left with a piece of the hope of a Barcelona revival – reducing the hope left. The latest was Ronald Koeman.
Opinions are divided between if Ronaldo Koeman was doomed at Barcelona or if Koeman doomed Barcelona.
Tasked with rebuilding a team that just lost the generational genius of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo Koeman was well aware he was told to hold a sinking ship up with just his hands – impossible!
Salvation desperately needed at Camp Nou…
Who would then halt the rapid decadence at Barcelona? Who would return Barcelona to the long-sought glory days? How about someone from the glory days itself?
How about an insider infinitely accustomed to the tiki-taka DNA of the club? How about Xavi Hernandez?
The excitement about Xavi’s appointment at Barcelona was understandable. He was one of the most decisive pilots in the cockpit when Barcelona flew to the perch of global football between 2012-2015.
Perhaps he knows a thing or two about the aerodynamics of flying Barca back to the top.
A new dawn is supposedly born at Barca, and with Xavi at the helm, Barca fans are left dreaming again. But the billion-dollar question remains: can Xavi return Barcelona to its former glory?
Xavi can’t bank on his reputation alone
More than anyone else, Xavi knows the perishability of his legendary status. He knows very well how the love that Barca fans are outlandishly pouring on him now would decay to scorn and then hate if the results don’t come fast enough.
He knows he has a massive job on his hand. But how can he get it done?
Xavi was fortunate enough to come to Barca when Barcelona desperately needed a son of theirs at the helm.
But he was also unfortunate enough to come when Barcelona was critically cash-strapped.
It is no longer news how the shameful Bartomeu administration rode Barcelona into financial instability at Fast and Furious speed, just skidding past bankruptcy.
Indeed, the club closed the 2020/2021 fiscal year with a gut-wrenching loss of $554 million.
Xavi knows he doesn’t have the money to accelerate the repairs he needs. He may not be able to afford the quick fixes he would have bought in the January and summer transfer windows.
He has got to look inside the workshop, relying on the youth and the prestigious La Masia academy. Barca have some exciting younglings.
Can youths do for now?
The likes of Pedro González (who is just 18) and most recently Pablo Gavira (who is just 17 years) are turning heads around the world.
At such tender ages, they have been capped in the Spanish national team. Of course, we can’t forget Antsu Fati, who also at 19, has been capped by Spain.
Xavi has the simultaneously savory and unsavory task of building Barcelona around these rare talents. He has some old heads around to transfuse the famed Barcelona winning spirit into them.
Barcelona still flaunts some relics from their glorious days. Although way past their prime, the legendary likes of Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique are still around.
Recently, the energetic Dani Alves was brought back. These are formidable mentors for the young blood in Barcelona’s team. They can play a central role in Barca’s resurrection or play advisory roles from the sideline.
Will Xavi be lucky with injuries?
A lot of Barca’s resurgence would admittedly rely on waking up sleeping giants like Ousmane Dembele and Coutinho.
Let us start with Dembele. There is no doubt that the young Frenchman remains one of the most electric wingers in the game.
Dembele has been plagued with a soup of persistent injuries. Of course, we wouldn’t pamper Dembele enough to forget his CV of indiscipline.
From poor dieting to punctuality issues, Dembele has far less work to do on his talent and much more work to do on his professionalism.
For Coutinho, it is hard to point out the challenge, so we would just call it misfortune. If not plagued by injuries, it is hard not to imagine the beautiful brilliance of Liverpool’s Coutinho mesmerizing fans at Camp Nou.
Xavi has work on his hands to keep this duo fit and integrate them into a technically formidable Barcelona team still garnished with the dribbling ability of Memphis Depay.
Can Xavi succeed and return Barca to its glory days? The truth is, we can’t tell. Only time can!
Photo is from Pixabay
Guest Author Bio
Victor Sterling is a sports columnist and writer. Among his many hobbies are cooking, long walks and fitness. Between watching a top-tier derby on TV or going to a stadium for some live struggles of a relegation team, he’ll always pick the second one.