A few seasons ago, Barcelona was deemed a dominant force across all competitions, from La Liga to the Champions League, frequently outperforming their rivals. During those days of dominance, midfield star Xavi stood out as one of the most formidable figures in the team.
Xavi, the current Blaugrana boss, has guided his side to the Champions League knockout stage despite the Spanish champions being left stunned by bottom-placed Royal Antwerp in Group H. The Belgian side came from behind to secure a 3-2 victory on Wednesday, raising questions about Xavi’s future at the club.
Is Xavi going to be fired by Barcelona?
The former midfield icon Xavi Hernandez, renowned as one of the best midfielders of this generation, had a glorious time at Barcelona as a player and marked his return to the club since his retirement. However, this time, he was appointed in a new role as manager, replacing Ronald Koeman in 2021.
The Spaniard assumed the responsibility of reconstructing the club from the ground up. He implemented the plans by recruiting new star players like Robert Lewandowski and Ilkay Gungogan from the treble-winning Manchester City, along with others such as Ferran Torres, Jules Kounde, and Raphinha in the process.
Furthermore, he provided opportunities for young talents while offloading and trimming unwanted assets from the squad.
As per reports, the former Al-Sadd boss is under immense pressure considering the recent results. Subsequently, club management and board members, including President Joan Laporta and Deco, have lost faith in Xavi. The Spanish champions have only registered three wins in their last seven fixtures while suffering as many defeats, and any further upset could tip him towards losing the job.
Notably, under Xavi’s management, Barca clinched the La Liga title last season, with Robert Lewandowski finishing as the league’s top scorer. However, this season, their title defense campaign has been marked by a turbulent run of fixtures, raising questions about the 43-year-old manager’s work, particularly after two consecutive defeats in the league and Champions League.
Royal Antwerp stunned Barcelona in UCL
Amid the uncertainty surrounding Xavi’s future at the club, Barça advanced to the Round of 16 of the Champions League as the Group H winners, accumulating 12 points with 4 wins and 2 defeats. However, in their last group stage away clash against the Belgian Pro League side Royal Antwerp, they scored an added-time winner to stun the visitors in a historic 3-2 win.
The Wednesday upset came after their La Liga 4-2 defeat to in-form Girona, who edged past Xavi’s managed side, subsequently dropping them to 4th place and suffering their second league defeat after El Clásico. This result leaves their title defense looking bleak on the points table.
How far are Barcelona going to go this season? Drop your predictions in the comments.