Xavi has certainly laid down the law after arriving back at Barcelona, and not before time it must be said.
For far too long, a perceived ‘holiday camp’ atmosphere has pervaded, with, if rumours are to be believed, favouritism towards certain players.
That’s apparently going to stop immediately, and as a result the playing field will be levelled.
In order to achieve the set-up he desires, Xavi is believed to want to implement the following rules:
- Players must arrive for training at least an hour and a half early.
- Staff must arrive at least two hours early.
- Players must eat at the Ciutat Esportiva.
- Fines will be in place for lateness and will multiply per offence.
- No arriving home after 12am within 48 hours of a game.
- Starting spots awarded completely based on performances in training. There are no guarantees for any players.
- Risky activities (such as surfing) are prohibited during the season.
- Players must represent Barcelona properly whether they are around the club or away on holiday.
What that will mean for players like Ousmane Dembele in particular, is a much more professional way of doing things.
Often late for training in the early days of his time at the club, it will be interesting to see how Xavi deals with the Frenchman if his old habits die hard.
It’s believed that the club want to keep Dembele at all costs, but, according to the above list, everyone will have to toe the line. Xavi can’t set his stall out and then massage the rules to suit.
For now, Dembele can certainly consider himself a winner in Xavi’s eyes, alongside the likes of Pedri and Frenkie de Jong.
The other De Jong, Luuk, is definitely in the losers list and will find himself shipped out at the earliest opportunity.
Whether Xavi’s old colleagues; Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba will follow him at some point soon will largely depend on the rest of the season.
One can’t question the professionalism of the quartet and there’s no question they’ll follow the rules, but are they actually good enough to keep others out of the side? Can they realistically keep their places for every match or is Xavi going to be brave and promote more young players to the first team?
As we begin to learn if Xavi is the pupil turned master or not, it’s clear that it will be a hugely exciting time again for culers and one which needs to be embraced.
No expectations, just the support that Xavi needs from the fan base to go about his work without hindrance.