Barcelona legend Xavi will be confirmed as the club’s new manager soon.

And now, in this period of crisis, it’s time for a leap of faith from club president Joan Laporta not dissimilar to the one he took when he promoted Pep Guardiola, then Barcelona B team boss, 13 years ago.

The difference this time is, that while he admired, respected and had faith in Guardiola, he does not have the same feelings toward the man from Terrassa, less than an hour’s drive inland from Barcelona. Or not yet.

Until recently Xavi, currently managing Al Sadd in Qatar, and Laporta hardly spoke to each other. But in football as in life, needs must when the devil drives, and recently they have built their communication, albeit through intermediaries, and are by all accounts getting closer.

On Wednesday night Laporta made a call to Xavi. Job done.

Xavi certainly won’t have the sort of power with Laporta in charge that he would have had if Victor Font had been elected president – Xavi was going to create a new football structure at the club with himself in charge had Font won.

But he will certainly be looking to bring some of his staff with him and hopefully tick more boxes than merely the one of head coach.

That fact Ronald Koeman survived as long as he did, before being sacked on Wednesday, probably has much to do with the fact Laporta wasn’t as sold on the idea of Xavi taking over as much as many others seemed to be.

Eight months ago he told journalists that Xavi was not ready to take the job as Barcelona head coach, an assumption arrived at probably not just for footballing reasons, but also because Xavi had thrown his hat in with Font during the presidential elections.

It’s also fair to assume that some of his advisors had probably warned him that Xavi was not ready to take the job because while winning titles in Qatar – where he has managed Al Sadd since 2019 – is one thing, it is a million miles away from what was needed to take on a club like Barcelona, club legend or not.

Xavi and his coaching staff, of course, have always begged to differ.

I met Xavi back in the summer and what shone through was his determination to become the manager at Barcelona.


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