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Time for Pique to assess his priorities as Xavi lays down the law at Barcelona

No more outside interests…

FC Barcelona v SSC Napoli: Knockout Round Play-Off Leg One - UEFA Europa League Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Is the new dawn that Barca fans have wanted for an age almost upon us?

Depending on which news outlet you get your latest Blaugrana update from, that might well, finally, be the case.

What’s abundantly clear is that Xavi has put the cards on the table as far as Gerard Pique is concerned.

After years of seemingly putting as much energy into his various other business interests - Andorra, Davis Cup, Kosmos etc. - as well as Barca, Pique’s former team-mate has said ‘no more.’

Whilst it appears accurate that Pique will bow out at the end of this season in any event, that would be on his terms.

Gerard Pique And Ecovidrio Present The First Sustainable Davis Cup In Madrid Photo by Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

Being shoved aside and ushered out of the Camp Nou exit now isn’t likely to be on his preferred list of career endings, particularly after already being given the old heave-ho by Shakira.

Reports that Xavi has told the centre-back that he isn’t wanted appear to be wide of the mark.

A fuller focus is needed on the job in hand from Pique if he wants to retain his place for the most part.

It’s alleged that the defender has given his word to his former captain that he’ll toe the line, and that has to go down as a victory for Xavi. Kudos.

The crunch will come, perhaps, when Pique, almost inevitably, falls foul of the directive.

What we’ve seen so far from Xavi leads us to the conclusion that he certainly has the strength of character to be a success in the Barca dugout.

FBL-AND-ESP-PRESSER-PIQUE Photo credit should read RAYMOND ROIG/AFP via Getty Images

Of course, the playing style needs to evolve and there’s plenty of room for improvement in that regard, however, the starting point for any successful team is getting buy in from your charges in all aspects.

Little by little, players are bending to Xavi’s will, and that can only be a positive at this point.

Though Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba need no reproach for their off-field interests, they too could find themselves in the same boat as Pique at season’s end.

There’s a very real feeling of a cycle needing to be renewed now. Of a golden age coming to an end, with a new beginning on the horizon.

Whether you subscribe to the ‘club de amigos’ theory or not, if Barca are to rise from the ashes then Xavi will be acutely aware of what’s required to get them back to the top table.

If that means finally breaking up the last vestiges of the Guardiola era, so be it.