Shots have been fired. The European giants have been warned.
Barcelona is back and ready for war.
Their fearless leader Xavi Hernandez won’t wait. The time for winning is now.
What a courageous week it was.
Many will ask, are you feeling lucky Barcelona?
You can’t afford to get this wrong.
The first bet was on Ousmane Dembele. The club mitigated its risk by reducing his wages, but if Joan Laporta and Mateu Alemany had their way, they would have happily walked away regardless. But Xavi said no, this is a player I need, and worked his diplomatic magic behind the scenes to help the two sides reach an agreement.
Then came Raphinha. A player that wouldn’t come cheap. But if we’ve learned one thing about Xavi, it’s that he’s obsessed with dynamic wing play. And he gets what he wants. Ferran Torres, Dembele, and Raphinha will be looking to pay back the confidence of the manager who believed in them, and demanded that they join his project.
But the club didn’t stop there. No way could they convince a stubborn Bayern Munich to part ways with their goalscoring superstar. Except for the fact that Robert Lewandowski was desperate to join Barcelona, in part because of the history of the club, but really because of the contagious winning spirit that Xavi radiates. Lewandowski may be a veteran, but he is far from done, and wants to win trophies now, both of the individual and team variety.
This week has sent shockwaves across Spain, if not all of Europe. After losing out on Kylian Mbappe, and with Carlo Ancelotti announcing that Real Madrid was done with their summer business, it’s the Catalans who have taken a massive step forward with the season around the corner.
It’s Xavi the dreamer vs Ancelotti the pragmatist. Barcelona felt that a slow rebuild around young players wasn’t an option. They simply couldn’t watch their rivals run away with another league title, and march towards glory again in the Champions League.
Xavi and Joan Laporta are taking a big risk. Could it backfire?
There’s an important difference between Laporta’s spending compared to Josep Bartomeu.
The most obvious contrast is that Laporta is keeping salaries low, which will allow for agility on the market if a player isn’t a good fit, and changes need to happen in the short to medium term.
He knows that elite clubs need to invest, and isn’t afraid to do so.
But when making those investments he is putting his full faith in his manager.
After Luis Enrique, not hiring a world class manager with a plan was one of Bartomeu’s biggest mistakes. Instead, he was content to let his world class players run the show.
And then, he went out and bought the most famous players on the market. Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann come to mind. But without a manager with a strategy for building a team out of those big names, and integrating them with the best player of all time in Lionel Messi.
This was right about the time that Xavi left the club as a player. From a distance, it must have been painful to watch.
But when he was hired to be the next manager, he came in with a vision and isn’t deviating from it.
He’s the boss. He has control of the locker room and the respect of his players.
Significantly, he has a president who trusts him to make the footballing decisions so that the vision can become a reality.
Laporta should be recognized for showing faith in his inexperienced manager, especially when you consider that Xavi wasn’t his first choice. He showed the same good judgment when he hired the unproven Pep Guardiola in 2008.
The manager is fully backed by the front office, and it’s time for the fanbase to show the same support.
This is a big gamble, and Xavi is the one making it.
He is the one who will be held accountable for the results, and he’s staking his reputation as a young manager on it.
And what are the expectations now? To win trophies. To go for everything.
The only thing missing in order to make that truly possible is Jules Kounde. And after this week, where do you think the Frenchman wants to play?
It’s Barcelona. This is where all the excitement is. Good luck to Chelsea or anyone else who bids for him. In Laporta we trust to find a way to make it happen.
As a fan, I’m no longer cautiously optimistic.
I’m fired up and ready to go.
We have Xavi to thank for his bravery, and giving culers the Barcelona team they deserve.
One that’s loaded with individual talent from top to bottom, but unified to become more than the sum of its parts.
Proud to wear the colors, and determined to write the next great chapter in Barcelona history.
Xavi has a plan.
The club has bought in.
The players are working hard to put it into action.
Time to unleash it on the world.
Las Vegas knows how to put on a show, and a Clasico is the greatest show on earth.