Xavi Hernández is nothing if not honest. The legendary midfielder spoke to the press for the first time since announcing he will be leaving the job of first team coach at the end of the season, which has already created an insane amount of speculation about who his successor will be.
But regardless of what name is chosen by Joan Laporta, Xavi doesn’t think that person will have the time of his life. Quite the opposite, in fact. The current boss was asked what piece of advice he would offer the new manager so they don’t suffer the same fate as the likes of Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde, who left quite exhausted and done with coaching for a while, and Xavi was quite frank in his response.
“It’s going to happen to them, this is the problem. My advice is for him to be natural and not let himself be influenced, I almost managed it. My dream was to coach Barcelona and win and it has been achieved. I have a clear conscience that I have done the best for the club. I’m proud of the work, and I’ve been a man of the club, I always will be.
“My advice would be to enjoy it, but it’s impossible.
“When I appear here in front of the press, I said what I thought. When I said that we were under construction you killed me. I also said that we do not have the Barca of 2010. I have the feeling that they are not going to buy anything that I say, not even winning LaLiga [by] 12 points.
“I don’t think it was an accurate reflection of the story. It’s a matter of environment, of the club and of demands and of myself.
“That’s how I feel. It’s like that. They make you feel that you’re not good enough every day. Speaking with Pep he already told me that. I saw Luis Enrique suffer. We have to reflect. We have a problem with the demands of this position. It seems like you’re risking your life in every moment. That’s why I say it’s cruel, it’s not enjoyable.”
So this is basically what Xavi is saying: no matter how successful he is or isn’t, the press and the fans will make the coach’s life hell until he is sick of it and ready to walk away. Xavi is not wrong, and there’s no sign of that environment changing anytime soon.
It takes a lot of courage and guts to be the manager of Barcelona, which is why choosing Xavi’s replacement is perhaps the biggest decision Joan Laporta will make as president. And once we learn who the new man in charge is, all we can say is good luck to you. Because you’re about to cross over to a place where there’s no mercy.